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Some backbench responses to the budget

Mark Field MP on non-doms: Essentially, this was a paralysis Budget. There was virtually nothing in the Chancellor's speech that had not already been announced several times over. It is clear that the Government are hoping that the ever-darkening economic clouds will pass soon, but that might be wishful thinking. I want to say a little about the tax on non-domiciles. The watering down of the Chancellor's earlier ill-advised non-dom tax proposal should be welcomed. Retrospective taxation, which seemed to be proposed last autumn, is invariably unjustified, and the intrusive demands for details of overseas earnings and the uncertainty heralded by the Government's draft legislation risked undermining the UK's  international competitiveness. I find it somewhat disappointing, however, that the Treasury is now intent on pressing ahead even with this diluted legislation on non-doms.

Nigel_evans Nigel Evans MP on tax visibility: I want a future Government—even this Government, if they are brave enough—to ensure that on every product on which tax is paid, that tax is made visible and transparent so that people know when they buy a pint of beer that 73p of the price goes on taxation, or when they buy a litre of petrol that three quarters of the price is taxation. That would mean that people would know exactly how much they were paying in stealth taxes. If people knew the level to which they pay taxes, they would think long and hard about how much money is raised from them and their families, and would take more care about how that money is spent.

Jacqui Lait MP on risk: It was striking that in the midst of the anodyne messages that the Chancellor poured out in order to send us all to sleep there was little reference to Northern Rock and the issues that it has created for the British economy, and little reference to the problem that the world economy faces. I sincerely hope that we are not facing the sort of economic downturn that I remember from 1974, when the stock market fell to some 120 points, which seems unbelievable in this day and age. It may seem odd for a Conservative to quote JK Galbraith, but a close analysis of his book on the great crash of 1929 shows the similarities between the situation that the world economy is facing, and the factors that contributed so greatly to the world crash in '29. That crash was based on pyramid selling of investment trusts, and we now face the prospect of pyramid selling of derivatives in an attempt to defy risk, but of course when one attempts to defy risk, it is spread more widely.

Brady_graham_2 Graham Brady MP on stability: In this Budget, it is difficult to establish what the genuine big picture is. In his statement, the Chancellor used the words "stability" and "stable" 23 times, yet most of the indicators suggest that the last thing we have at the moment is genuine stability. We are faced with the global difficulties caused by the credit crunch, which have led to significant drops in business confidence across the country. Against that backdrop, the Chancellor wants us to accept not only that the problem is of course a global one, not caused by British Government policy, but that the appropriate response is to carry on more or less as we have been, with relatively little change and only a modest shift in the balance of tax and expenditure. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, that is because the Chancellor's room for manoeuvre is absurdly limited. Spending, taxes and borrowing have been driven up to levels that are simply unsustainable.

More from Hansard here.


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