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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 3:15 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 3:15 pm, 23rd April 2013

The hon. Gentleman makes a reasonable point. I will not be drawn into an argument that I have previously advanced about the harmful redistributive effects of monetary policy, although if he wants to discuss that, I will gladly do so on another occasion. I do not doubt that there are other measures that ought to be taken, but clause 2 represents a good provision that I will gladly support it. Do the Opposition welcome the measure, because I do not think that any of their Members has said so? Will they vote against clause 2 stand part? I doubt it. Would they reduce the personal allowance? Where do they stand on this matter? I hope that Opposition Members will support clause 2.

I am conscious that the Budget included a good, comprehensive and informative distributional analysis. To burden primary legislation with calls for particular  reviews and documents is a diversion. Anybody who goes to the Vote Office can see for themselves that we are already festooned with documents. There is undoubtedly other work to be done on how Government policy affects various people and groups on various incomes, but the amendments are not the way to do it. The way to do that work is to hold the Government to account through Select Committees and through other mechanisms to ensure that they are aware of the impact of their policies. I do not doubt for a minute that the Government know very well what they are doing: they are seeking to lower taxes on the low-paid, which is an admirable and honourable thing to do.