HC Deb 25 July 1972 vol 841 cc1522-3
20. Mr. Knox

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total loss to the Revenue to date resulting from all the reductions in taxation that have been made since June, 1970.

Mr. Barber

The total loss of Revenue from the reductions in taxation made since June, 1970, is currently running at a rate of £3,000 million a year.

Mr. Knox

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the reduction in taxation under the present Government is about the same as the increase in taxation under the 1964–70 Labour Government?

Mr. Barber

Yes, Sir. That is just about right.

Mr. Molloy

Ought not the Chancellor to be more concerned about the sums of money being being paid for unemployment than about tax concessions? Does he agree that unemployment is criminally high? Will he further agree that the current industrial situation will mean a great tragedy for the nation? There will be no taxes paid if he keeps on making statements about working people being blackmailers, the Foreign Secretary about their being greedy, and the Prime Minister not being prepared to repeal his own Tory-made IRA which is causing as much damage industrially as the other organisation across the sea? Ought not these things to occupy his mind much more?

Mr. Barber

Whatever defences the hon. Gentleman may like to adduce in favour of high taxation, we on this side of the House believe that it is a good thing to cut taxation. What is more, we believe that one of the best ways of ensuring individual prosperity in a country such as ours is to reduce the proportion of the national income which is taken by taxation, and that is what we are doing.

Mr. Cant

If the right hon. Gentleman could relive the agonising experience of the last two years, would he not apply the whole of these tax concessions to reducing the cost of living by a reduction in indirect taxation?

Mr. Barber

No, Sir. I think that one should strike a balance. I should have thought that most people were pleased with the increase in personal allowances.