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Capital Gains Tax/Corporation Tax

Volume 611: debated on Tuesday 7 June 2016

8. What assessment he has made of which groups within the UK population will benefit from planned changes to (a) capital gains and (b) corporation tax. (905195)

Changes to capital gains tax will provide greater incentives to invest in companies. Up to 130,000 individuals a year, including up to 50,000 basic rate taxpayers, are estimated to pay lower tax as a result of the changes to CGT. The further cut to the corporation tax rate to 17% announced at the Budget will benefit over 1 million companies, large and small, supporting UK companies to invest, grow and create jobs.

Treasury figures show that just 200,000 individuals will benefit from capital gains tax to the tune of £600 million in the first year—a giveaway of £600 million. On corporation tax, we have the lowest in G7—lower even than Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. At the same time, the Resolution Foundation found that the poorest 20% of families in this country will lose £565 over the course of this Parliament because of the Government’s policies. Where is the social justice in that?

One of the hon. Gentleman’s hon. Friends asked earlier about encouraging business investment, which we want to encourage because it is through having an environment in which businesses invest that we see improved productivity, the conditions for growth and people benefiting from higher wages. I say to the hon. Gentleman, and to the House as a whole, that pursuing policies that favour business investment and encourage businesses to invest, such as cutting CGT and corporation tax, is important for all our constituents.

In 2010, the Chancellor told this House that raising capital gains tax was necessary to

“create a fairer tax system.”—[Official Report, 22 June 2010; Vol. 512, c. 178.]

Given that the Chancellor is now cutting capital gains tax—overwhelmingly to the benefit of the richest 0.3% of people—what does he think has changed?

As I outlined a moment ago, the purpose of the tax measures is to encourage people to invest in businesses. The changes are specifically targeted at companies—the cut in CGT does not apply to residential property—and put in place an environment in which businesses can grow and prosper. That is absolutely the right approach to follow. I remind the hon. Gentleman that there are other countries that have taken different approaches, of which he has been full of praise. It is not quite working out in Venezuela, is it?