Philip Hammond: The hon. Gentleman has told us a great deal about his views and the views of his party on the structures, the support mechanisms, the quangos and the committees that should encourage and help people to set up in small business. Has he anything to say about the burdens that the Government have been piling on to small business—the minimum wage, the social chapter, interest rates and the...
Philip Hammond: Does the hon. Lady recall that, before the general election, the Labour transport spokesman described the previous Government's plans to widen the M25 in my constituency as lunacy and madness? Does she think it surprising that, 14 months on, the Government have been unable to reach a decision on whether to go ahead with that scheme or drop it?
Philip Hammond: Does the hon. Lady happen to have the figures for the number of small businesses that were created per minute during that same premiership?
Philip Hammond: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that there are far greater opportunities for venture capital in this country than there are in most continental European partner countries?
Philip Hammond: The Minister has referred to the prevalence of self-employed one-man businesses in the building sector. Does she accept that the imposition of a £30,000 threshold by the Inland Revenue for the issue of a 714 certificate will effectively stamp out the one-man band in the construction industry?
Philip Hammond: Will the hon. Lady confirm that, in agreeing with her right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, she is disagreeing with the chairman of the Low Pay Commission, Professor Bain, who said categorically that the introduction of a national minimum wage would cost some jobs?
Philip Hammond: How does the hon. Lady square the expansion of the opportunities for business angels with the measures in the Finance Bill that further restrict the ability to offset losses in shares in close companies against other income, thus making it less attractive for private individuals to invest in small businesses?
Philip Hammond: The right hon. Lady is not the only person to have had to eat a good portion of humble pie in these proceedings. The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry, the hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney), launched a scathing attack on Conservative Members in Committee when we suggested that tips should be taken into account in calculating whether the minimum wage had been paid....
Philip Hammond: Is the right hon. Lady aware of the damning report by Sir Herbert Laming on the crisis in child protection in the Labour-controlled London borough of Ealing, which is to be published by the Department of Health this evening? It says that in Ealing children in public care and on the child protection register cannot be considered to be adequately safeguarded. Is she further aware that the...
Philip Hammond: I am listening carefully to my hon. Friend, and I agree with much of what he says. Does he agree that the linkage to increases in child benefit is purely bogus? Does he further agree that the Treasury routinely resists hypothecation of taxes but, when it is convenient, the Government put up a smokescreen by the bogus linking of an unpopular tax increase that is contrary to their manifesto...
Philip Hammond: How would the Minister square the projected decline in the savings ratio with the net increase in savings that he is talking about?
Philip Hammond: Check the figures.
Philip Hammond: I welcome the opportunity to speak in support of the amendment. I shall declare an interest over and above the interest that all hon. Members have as owners or aspiring owners of houses, in that I have an interest in a small house building company, and the house building sector is certainly more interested than most in the proposals. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr....
Philip Hammond: Would I be right in thinking that the measure applies also to transfers of intellectual property, which might be of direct interest to the Paymaster General?
Philip Hammond: Will not the measure cause a further distortion—a bias in favour of renting or leasing smaller business premises rather than purchasing them outright and paying the attendant stamp duty?
Philip Hammond: The point was also raised in respect of how the housing market would be regulated under a single currency and of comments made by the Chancellor himself suggesting that a prime motive for the move was a further damping of the housing market.
Philip Hammond: I listened carefully to what the Paymaster General said about long-term stability. Can he explain how two separate stamp duty increases in less than 12 months convey an impression of stability? Either we have to assume that there will be a steady progress and further increases, or those are discrete and disruptive movements.
Philip Hammond: Does my hon. Friend agree that the difference is that people believed that the last Government were genuinely committed to the principle of encouraging long-term savings, whereas they believe that this Government have merely embarked on a cosmetic exercise?
Philip Hammond: Does my hon. Friend agree that financial institutions face a major task in persuading existing regular savers in PEPs to sign the necessary paperwork to convert their contracts to continue saving regularly in ISAs, and that it is vital that we do not allow those people to slip through the net?
Philip Hammond: rose—