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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 2:45 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Labour, East Lothian 2:45 pm, 23rd April 2013

In that case, Mr Crausby, I very much hope that one Government Member will make the effort, stand up and give us a constructive and well thought out defence of the Government and their proposals in this Finance Bill. I am sure the country’s heart is bleeding that the hon. Gentleman has had to sit for hours to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous claims from the Opposition. Welcome to Government. If he wants to swap sides, that is fine. I am sure, Mr Crausby, that you would be the first person to tell me, if I were to launch into a wide-ranging scrutiny of this Bill, that the purpose is to speak specifically about these two amendments. I will now do so.

I want to discuss the impact of the granny tax, as it was affectionately named in the pages of the Telegraph. Government is all about making choices, and we know that the Government find these choices tough—they are constantly telling us just how tough they are. The fact is that they faced a choice; whether or not to give a tax break to the wealthiest members of society. Let us remember that we are talking about pensioners on modest incomes. We are not talking about millionaires in this case. The Government have made a choice and they need to defend that. We are seeking to assess the impact of that and what the impact will be of taking away £322 a year from those people reaching retirement age on 6 April. Government Members have defended their record and the choices they have made, talking about the fact that the richest 10% of society are paying more under this Government. However, when the Government take away £322 a year from someone on a modest income who is retired, it has a far greater impact than taking away similar amounts from those who are in work, below retirement age and with very healthy incomes.