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Division Details - Commons Main Chamber

21:33, 18 April 2017, Division 194: Finance (No. 2) Bill

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Second Reading

Pre Vote

What could be more exciting and important to talk about? I wonder.

I reiterate that the Government warned Scottish Government officials at the time that the new funding model that they proposed would lead to the loss of eligibility for VAT refunds. I expect the SNP will raise the matter again, but it will continue to get that straightforward response to the issues that it has raised.

There was a cluster of pithy and important speeches towards the end of the debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Louth and Horncastle (Victoria Atkins) spoke about the need for sound finances and about reducing borrowing. She made a welcome contribution. My hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Suella Fernandes) put a welcome emphasis on the increase in personal allowances. How little we heard about that from some Opposition Members. Since 2010, there has been a huge increase in what people can earn before they are taxed.

My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Rishi Sunak) drew on his experience and gave voice to the entrepreneurial spirit of Yorkshire. He focused on early-stage finance for growing businesses. He is right that there are things that are helpful in that regard in the Bill, but we are always happy to hear more ideas about how we can support entrepreneurs and businesses to grow.

Fittingly, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow) ended with the message that we need to keep the economy on track to greater growth and stability. That brings me to my conclusion.

The changes that the Bill is introducing are significant in a number of regards. They will raise significant revenue to support the public services on which our nation depends by tackling tax avoidance and evasion. The Labour party has been a little opportunistic in some of the things it has said in the debate. In the coming weeks, it will have to answer questions about how it would close the tax gap and balance the books to gain any credibility in the eyes of the electorate. It will also have to address in the coming weeks questions on the strategic challenges that this Government have been prepared to face up to—the challenge to look at a tax system that works however people choose to work, and the challenge to address the erosion of the tax base in a serious, long-term, strategic way. The Government are prepared to face up to those challenges, and measures in the Bill begin to address some of those head on. We are also addressing head on the critical issue of childhood obesity. We are tackling it with our game-changing soft drinks industry levy; that is just one of the measures being taken across Government to tackle childhood obesity. It was welcome to hear support on all sides for that measure. I hope that we are able to make good progress with that because it is a game changer.

The Bill demonstrates the Government’s commitment to a stronger, more secure, more productive economy. I am therefore delighted to commend it to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Noes - 314