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Corporation Tax

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2018

9. What assessment he has made of the effect of the recent reduction in corporation tax on employment and wages. (904782)

There can be no doubt that this Government’s record on reducing corporation tax from 28% in 2010 to 19% now, and further on down to 17% in 2020, has driven growth, kept prices down, pushed wages up and, indeed, led to more employment. Since 2010, we have seen more than 3 million more people in employment, and, as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has just outlined, the lowest unemployment since 1975.

Successful businesses create jobs and pay taxes. What steps are the Government taking to back businesses that play by the rules?

My hon. Friend uses the expression “play by the rules”. I should make it very clear to the House that those that do not play by the rules will be clamped down on by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. We have brought in £175 billion in respect of clamping down on avoidance, evasion and non-compliance since 2010. We have, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has outlined, the lowest tax gap in our history, at 6%. Those who play by the rules will benefit from our pro-business policies: bringing taxes down, providing relief on business rates, and other measures such as the employment allowance, worth £3,000 for the first employee as a relief on national insurance contributions.

When it comes to employment and wages, and the impact that corporation tax cuts have had, we have heard a lot of crowing from Ministers this morning, but we all know that our economy is wildly different, depending on where people live. Has the Minister asked for a distributional analysis of the impacts that he has just been talking about?

We have debated at great length the issue of distributional analysis, in this Chamber and around the Finance Bill and other measures. The hon. Lady will know that all tax measures are subject to TINs and to various assessments. We are also bound by the Equality Act 2010 when we take decisions in respect of taxation. As a Minister, I can assure her that I take my duties in that respect extremely seriously.

Businesses in my constituency welcome the cut in corporation tax, but does not my right hon. Friend share my concern that businesses in Gordon are being damaged by punitive business rates and the highest income tax rates in the United Kingdom?

My hon. Friend raises an important issue, which is probably best listened to very carefully by some of those on the Opposition Benches. I can only speak for the UK Government here in this House, and we will continue to be on the side of businesses, small and large, to ensure that their tax burden is as low as possible.

Lines ag and bg of the spring 2017 Budget predicted that the cuts in corporation tax would cost the Treasury over £24 billion by 2022. If the Treasury had had that money to invest in infrastructure and construction, how many well paid construction jobs could the money have created?

Let me make two simple points. First, corporation tax cuts are clearly to the benefit of businesses who employ people, create wealth and generate the taxes we need to fund our vital public services. Secondly, we have cut corporation tax from 28% to 19% since 2010, and the corporate tax take has risen by 50%.

A moment ago the Financial Secretary was banging on about TIMS. I was not informed about this matter, but the Clerk has consulted his scholarly cranium and he tells me that it stands for Treasury information management systems.

Oh, TINs! Well, I am sure everybody attending to our proceedings was perfectly well aware of what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind. I am sure I was in a minority of one in not knowing. And what are those pigs I see flying in front of my very eyes?