HC Deb 13 May 1982 vol 23 cc936-7
9. Mr. Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has had to his Green Paper on corporation tax.

Mr. Ridley

The consultation period runs to the end of September, but so far five written representations have been received and the Green Paper has been discussed at a number of conferences.

Mr. Ward

What are my hon. Friend's expectations about legislation following the Green Paper consultation period?

Mr. Ridley

It will take a long time to complete consultations, to digest them and then to formulate a view. It is important that we should proceed to change only if a consensus emerges that the suggested change is the right one and there is a general acceptance of moving in one direction or another. Under those conditions, I cannot predict the date of legislation.

Mr. Cook

Does the Financial Secretary admit that the effect of his policies during the past two years may shift even further the burden of taxation from the corporate sector to the personal sector? Does he not recognise that it is most unsatisfactory that some of the more profitable industrial companies should pay no corporation tax while low-paid households and the unemployed are brought into tax for the first time? How can we expect a consensus to emerge on how to deal with the matter if the Treasury does not say which of the half dozen options in the Green Paper it prefers?

Mr. Ridley

I am surprised that a consensus has not emerged in the Labour Party on whether it wishes to help industry. I have listened to question after question from Labour Members asking for more aid to industry, and now the hon. Gentleman wishes me to tax industry more. The Labour Party must make up its mind.