§ Mr. Yeo
Bearing in mind that the PSBR may act as a constraint on the amount of any tax reliefs which my right hon. Friend is able to grant this year, will he assure the House that, if there are any reliefs, they will be concentrated in the form of higher tax thresholds and lower employee national insurance contributions, as these are by far the most effective way of stimulating employment?
§ Mr. Lawson
Cases can be made for many things. My hon. Friend will recall that in my Budget last year I did both of the things to which he referred—I increased tax thresholds and lowered employees' and employers' national insurance contributions for the low-paid. Looking forward to this year's Budget, it is quite clear that scope for manoeuvre has been affected by the sharp fall in our North sea oil revenue.
§ Mr. Lawson
One thing is essential, and is clearly understood and agreed by all of the major industrial nations. There is a need to keep firm control of public expenditure. Within that control, we allow local authorities to spend their housing receipts, but over a period of time. Of course, if there were a Labour Government there would be no housing receipts because no council houses would ever be sold.