HC Deb 21 March 1985 vol 75 cc969-70
5. Mr. Pike

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much higher the total tax bill will be in real terms comparing 1985–86 to 1978–79.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Moore)

It is expected to be £27.6 billion higher at 1984–85 prices.

Mr. Pike

Would the Government not have done better to use that money to get people back into real jobs and to deal with the infrastructure problem rather than have to face the ever-increasing burden of unemployment that results from Government policies?

Mr. Moore

As my right hon. Friend said a few seconds ago, capital expenditure in this country is running at the record level of over £55 billion.

Mr. Meadowcroft

In a written answer before the Budget the Minister said that a single person had to be earning £23,000 a year before he was paying less tax than in 1979. What is the figure for the same single person since the Budget?

Mr. Moore

I should plainly need notice to give a detailed answer. If the hon. Gentleman had been with us during our debate last evening he would have heard me give illustrations of people on half, average, one and a half and twice average earnings, and how they are all substantially better off than they were five years ago.

Mr. Nicholls

It it not misleading and useless to talk about increased tax burdens without considering the relationship of a person in work and his standard of living compared with the rate of inflation? Is it not about time for Opposition Members to stop bleating about a tax burden while calling for increased public expenditure?

Mr. Moore

My hon. Friend is not only precisely right in all that he said, but he brings clearly to the House the recognition that inflation is a far greater scourge for those who have saved and those on limited incomes. The impact of inflation on their pockets has been greater than taxation.

Dr. McDonald

How does the Financial Secretary square the claim by the Foreign Secretary when he was electioneering in Oxford in April 1979 that every Labour Government put taxes up and every Conservative Government get taxes down, with the fact that the tax burden has increased by £26 billion between 1978–79 and 1985–86, and that only half of that is due to oil revenues? The present Budget will increase the tax burden by £3.5 billion. Is this not another example of broken promises by the Tories?

Mr. Moore

As I am sure those hon. Members who were present last night will remember, I pointed out that the taxes which have gone down — those on the employer—which are critical to the creation of jobs have to be taken into account, together with the ways in which the Government have radically reduced inflation by ensuring that honest taxation is preferable to the excessive borrowing levels of the last Labour Government.

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