HC Deb 09 February 1984 vol 53 cc1006-7
5. Mr. Chope

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied with the use being made of the business expansion scheme by new companies involved in agriculture.

Mr. Moore

The business expansion scheme has been very successful and I understand that the approved funds alone have already raised more than £25 million of new money from investors. This is most encouraging. We are, of course, keeping the scheme under constant review.

Mr. Chope

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the scheme would be even more successful if it put greater emphasis on encouraging investment in high-risk ventures rather than in ventures which are often thinly disguised as tax avoidance schemes?

Mr. Moore

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will take note of what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Maxton

If the Minister is to expand the scheme to give help to agriculture, will he at the same time withdraw the tax relief given to farmers by their not paying rates on agricultural land and consider introducing rating for agricultural land?

Mr. Moore

It is clearly the season for Budget recommendations, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend has heard the hon. Gentleman's remark.

Mr. Latham

Regarding business and agriculture, will my hon. Friend take particularly seriously the recommendations made to him directly that brood mares should be treated as agricultural animals for tax purposes?

Mr. Moore

I take all representations, made directly or indirectly, with great seriousness, and I have noted those pertaining to brood mares.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

If the scheme relates to agricultural land, it is possible also to provide for tax-free investment in agricultural land?

Mr. Moore

All aspects of the new scheme, which I know has been welcomed on both sides of the House as a major opportunity for increasing jobs, are under constant review.

Mrs. Rumbold

I recognise the importance of agriculture to the national economy, but will my hon. Friend give some assurance that the business expansion scheme will be encouraged in the forthcoming Budget to support high technology investments and schemes?

Mr. Moore

I know of my hon. Friend's involvement and interest in the business expansion scheme, and obviously notice will be taken of her point.

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