Clause 55 - Overview

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:00 am ar 19 Mehefin 2012.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Mann John Mann Llafur, Bassetlaw 11:00, 19 Mehefin 2012

I would take the hon. Gentleman more seriously if he had not voted repeatedly to allow the European Union to impose its will on this Committee and this Parliament in setting British taxation levels, which is a choice that he and others have made during our proceedings.

Mutuals and friendly societies are, of course, the big society writ large. We have another name for them: trade unions. That is what the big society is all about, and it is a shame that, in the raft of legislation they have introduced, the Government have not learned from the mistake of the previous Labour Government, who failed to give those friendly societies known as trade unions proper authority on issues such as pensions.

An interesting observation on the financial crisis is that those European countries that allow the trade unions a proper stake in insurance and pensions, because of the tripartite arrangements that were started post-war, are those where the financial institutions have been more robust. Sweden, Norway and Denmark, as opposed to Iceland—the one member of the so-called Scandinavian bloc that went in a different direction after the war—have been more robust, as have the Netherlands and, ironically, small, little Belgium. That key factor warrants further examination.

The Government have not brought forward a whole raft of legislation to correct that anomaly in Britain’s financial sector, which is a shame because that would do much to underpin a vibrant, strong and consumer-trusted  financial services sector in this country. That is not the question before us, however, so it is a matter for another day.

Looking at what is now emerging from the Budget, one finds that a toast tax and a storage tax were hidden away. Every day a new covert tax on the British people emerges that the Government have failed to outline. Are any such covert taxes that we need to know about hidden in these clauses? Will the provisions have any unintended consequences?

I appreciate, to return to my introductory remarks, that that creates a dilemma for the Minister, who is assiduous without question among all Government Ministers. Ministers have had to cover for the Chancellor repeatedly by doing U-turns on his behalf, and there is no question but that a job swap would be in the interests of the Government, the political party concerned, and the country. I recommend that instantly to the Minister’s Chief Whip, who is not here, and to those with such powers, but—