Clause 32 - Corporation tax starting rate and fraction for financial year 2002

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 4:00 pm, 16th May 2002

My hon. Friend made his point directly. The hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton asked whether it would be justified to spend the money on something else. The Government have made the choice that the money should be spent to encourage the growth of smaller businesses and entrepreneurial activity. We note the estimates by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and also that they have been wrong in other estimates. We have checked our figures, and the costs in the Red Book are obviously the ones that we stand by. However, unless the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster does not want investment in the growth of companies, wealth and income for sustainable investment in public service over a long period--I do not believe that that is what Conservative Members are saying--the underlying issue is whether the Government have struck the right balance between incentives to incorporate and to remain unincorporated. If hon. Members are saying that we are perilously close to not striking that balance, we are not convinced. We are convinced that the balance is right, but we do not have a closed mind on that. Surely small businesses will not look a gift horse in the mouth. We want to create growth and economic activity, and to sustain entrepreneurial activity. That must be good for the British economy.