In the Budget, the Government announced a £1,000 increase in personal allowances for under-65s. We estimate that 23 million basic rate taxpayers will gain by up to £170 per year from this measure, and that 880,000 will be taken out of tax altogether. This is the first step towards our long-term objective to raise the personal allowance to £10,000.
I am very grateful to the Minister for that informative answer. Can he give a more precise timetable for when the £10,000 threshold will be released? Will it be before the end of this Parliament? In other words, can it be even earlier than the five years that would otherwise be required?
I cannot give a precise timetable, but as I said, that is our long-term objective. I know that the right hon. Gentleman has a long and distinguished record in campaigning for that policy. I am sure that he will be pleased with the steps that we have taken so far, and I hope that others will follow.
When Ministers are thinking about the future planning for local income tax, do they not understand the concern on the Opposition Benches and in the country that this afternoon the chief lobbyist for the banking industry has been introduced as a Member of the other place, meaning that the interests of the banking industry will come before those of low-income families?
I am not quite sure that I necessarily follow what the hon. Gentleman has said, but what I would say is that we announced the introduction of a bank levy in the Budget and we have taken a lot of poorer households out of income tax. That shows the Government’s values.