HC Deb 27 July 1978 vol 954 cc1773-4
2. Mr. John Hunt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has for the further reduction of taxation.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Joel Barnett)

As circumstances permit, we shall continue to reduce the levels of income tax.

!Ur. Hunt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only a very few countries have higher top rates of tax than ours and that among them are Algeria, Egypt and Tanzania? Does he therefore feel proud, surprised or humiliated to find the United Kingdom figuring so prominently in this international league table?

Mr. Barnett

I would not feel terribly proud if I were saying what the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are saying—that nothing matters but the top rates of income tax.

Mr. John Garrett

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there would be scope for reducing taxation on persons if the tax on the oil companies operating in the North Sea were raised? Does he agree that the tax regime in the North Sea amounts to little more than a rip-off at the moment and that we are not getting anything like the return for the public revenue that other countries get?

Mr. Barnett

I note what my hon. Friend has said. He will note that there is a later Question related specifically to revenue from the North Sea.

Mr. Peter Rees

Are we to understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given up any idea of a July Budget, as foreshadowed by the Chief Secretary earlier this year? Or will he accept the advice of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and have an autumn Budget prior to the General Election?

Mr. Barnett

I am not sure which General Election the hon. and learned Gentleman has in mind, but some time between now and October 1979 there will be one or two more Budgets. As to whether there will be a July Budget, I am not prepared to commit my right hon. Friend.

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