Clause 34 - Annual exempt amount

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 14th June 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 9:15 am, 14th June 2012

I hear my hon. Friend’s point, and he is right to say that we have all received such representations. Moving from RPI to CPI would have a significant cost, and one also must look at the overall support that the Government provide to businesses in terms of, for example, the reductions in corporation tax and some of the other measures we have debated, such as the patent box and the fact that we have not increased employers’ national insurance contributions in the way that the Labour party had planned. We have done what we can to support businesses and will continue to do so. Decisions on business rates have to be looked at in that context.

As far as whether such information is sufficiently available to the public or whether it is being concealed, it is perfectly clear that we have been straightforward in our announcements. It has not been hidden in the small print. We have been clear that we have moved from RPI to CPI. The fiscal implications of that have been clear on every scorecard produced at relevant fiscal events, so we have been clear on that. I repeat the point that we are in difficult financial circumstances and putting our public finances on a sustainable footing is a priority. In any event, we believe that CPI is a more accurate reflection of the rate of inflation.

For those reasons, I hope that the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North will withdraw her amendment, and I hope that the clause will stand part of the Bill.