HC Deb 13 February 1986 vol 91 cc1087-8
11. Mr. Canavan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the fiscal measures to be proposed in his forthcoming Budget.

Mr. Brooke

A large number on a variety of subjects, though I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.

Mr. Canavan

Since coming to power the Government have seen fit to hand out over £20 billion in tax concessions to the richest 5 per cent. of the population. Is it not about time that taxation for those people was increased to bring about more public investment in real jobs for some of the record number of people who have been thrown out of work by the Government's economic policies?

Mr. Brooke

I am not going to get into an argument with the hon. Gentleman about the figures that he quotes, but I shall treat his representation as yet another that we have received.

Sir William Clark

Does my hon. Friend agree that if, in the next Budget, there is an increase in public expenditure of £24 billion which is not funded by a 41 per cent. VAT rate, the only other way that it can be funded is by a 20 per cent. increase in the standard rate of taxation? Does my hon. Friend agree that that would mean a married man earning over £66 per week would pay to the Exchequer 59p for every extra pound?

Mr. Brooke

That sounds about right.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

Can the Minister estimate how much the Chancellor of the Exchequer ever listens to his Cabinet colleagues? When he comes to look at direct tax cuts, will he ensure that some of those Cabinet colleagues are listened to and that the money is spent on raising tax thresholds rather than on reducing the basic rate?

Mr. Brooke

I have known my right hon. Friend for a long time. I have always found him extremely attentive and sensitive to the points put to him.

Mr. Crouch

While my hon. Friend considers representations about changes in fiscal rates, will he not neglect the problems facing the National Health Service when he discusses matters with his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Is my hon. Friend aware that, notwithstanding considerable increases in real resources to the National Health Service since 1979, we still cannot provide full, proper and good health care and the payment of increased wages and salaries in that important service? Will my hon. Friend remember, too, as he talks to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that any decline in the provision of resources to the NHS will mean inevitable decline?

Mr. Brooke

I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer heard every word that he uttered.