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Clause 2 - Personal allowance for 2013-14 for those born after 5 April 1948

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Ben Gummer Ben Gummer Conservative, Ipswich 4:00 pm, 23rd April 2013

It is a great pleasure, Mr Crausby, to follow the hon. Member for Islwyn who spoke with his traditional passion, eloquence and intellectual coherence. It is a good way to start a debate on the clause and the two amendments before us. They had not been addressed as directly as he managed to do. I will make a short speech in support of the clause and against the two amendments.

The clause does something very simple. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe said, there is no better way of taking low-paid people out of income tax than raising the personal allowance, and there is no better way of allowing people with low incomes to retain as much of the money that they have worked hard for than raising the personal allowance. It is a far more efficient way of ensuring that than recycling money through the Government machine in the form of tax credits.

Some Opposition Members including, I am sure, the shadow Minister, know the failings and complications that came about with initiation of tax credits: the massive waste, the extraordinary confusion and the fact that many of our constituents still have to grapple with the significant problems. If only the Opposition in their time had been as bold as the coalition Government and raised the personal allowance instead of introducing tax credits. It would not have been a complete supplement, but it might have done much that they had wanted to achieve. I admire what they wanted to achieve.