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Tax System: Fairness

Volume 714: debated on Tuesday 17 May 2022

The Government are committed to ensuring a tax system that is fair and simple. I will give three examples: first, we have equalised the national insurance and income tax starting thresholds; secondly, our work towards OECD pillars 1 and 2 will help to ensure that multinational businesses pay their fair share; and thirdly, we are tackling avoidance and evasion to ensure that everyone pays the right amount of tax at the right time.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Liverpool, Walton ranks as the most deprived community in the whole of England. I am used to constituents contacting my office unable to afford their bills and to survive on their own incomes. What is new is that local independent businesses are now telling me that they are going under. At the heart of the Liverpool economy is hospitality and the visitor economy. Locally run and owned restaurants and cafés are now facing apocalyptic price rises. The VAT on soft drinks and food consumed on premises, and hot beverages and food taken away, has risen back to 20%—it was 5% and then 12.5% during the pandemic. What will Ministers do to save local independent businesses through the tax system?

It is important that we support local businesses, and that is exactly what the Government have done. The hon. Member will know about the business rates support—amounting to £7 billion of support to businesses—that we provided at the last Budget, including £1.7 billion for the hospitality industry through a 50% rebate on business rates. For small businesses, we also increased the employment allowance by £1,000. That is a package of support for local businesses in his area and others across the country.