Corporation tax cuts have been a central part of the Government’s economic strategy, and that strategy is working; there are 2.3 million more people in employment since 2010. The further cuts in the main rate announced at the Budget, which will bring it down to 17% by 2020, will benefit over 1 million companies, large and small. Lower corporation tax rates will support UK companies to invest and grow, creating jobs as they do so.
One of the justifications for the corporation tax cut was that businesses would pass it on to workers through the increase in the living wage. Evidence is now emerging that some companies intend to pocket the tax cut and squeeze conditions for their employees, so what steps do the Government intend to take to monitor that?
The cuts in corporation tax will result in greater investment in this country, and greater investment drives productivity growth, and productivity growth is what will drive higher living standards. Let us remember that it is this Government who have brought in the national living wage, and we have seen very large numbers of people see increases in their wages and salaries.
Owing to changes in personal independence payments, people with disabilities are set to lose £1 billion at the same time as corporation tax is being cut, so can the Minister honestly say that he is comfortable with prioritising big business over disabled people?
We are providing more support to help the disabled get into employment, but let me just make this point to the hon. Gentleman, and to the House: the way this country is going to be prosperous and able to afford good public services and support for the most vulnerable is by having a strong, growing economy, and competitive business taxes help us to have that strong, growing economy.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Federation of Small Businesses has said that the decision to further lower corporation tax to 17% is an important statement of intent and will provide a boost for the affected firms? Does he agree that that will help to further underpin the enterprising economy that we need?
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is easy to trot out phrases such as “tax cuts for companies”, but it is vital that we have low corporation tax to attract investment into this country and to ensure that we have jobs here? The Chancellor has repeatedly encouraged companies to pass on tax cuts to workers, which is where they should go.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight that. All taxes are ultimately paid by people, but business taxes that discourage investment discourage the economic growth we need in this country, and that growth is what this Government are determined to deliver.