HC Deb 10 December 1992 vol 215 cc990-1
13. Mrs. Browning

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has received from business organisations to his autumn statement.

Mr. Portillo

The Chancellor's autumn statement has been widely welcomed by business organisations throughout the country.

Mrs. Browning

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the warm welcome from the Confederation of British Industry to the autumn statement is welcomed by many businesses, particularly small businesses? In particular, will he encourage his right hon Friend the Chancellor, in considering measures for the Budget, to look at the tax treatment of capital allowances so that small businesses can, under a favourable taxation policy, carry forward profits for capital purchases from one tax year to the next?

Mr. Portillo

My hon. Friend was certainly right to draw attention to the breadth of support that there was for the autumn statement: it came from the CBI, the Institute of Directors and a very large number of different business leaders. I believe that one of the reasons why it was so welcomed was that the Government were responsive to ideas that had been put to them by British business. My hon. Friend seeks to take the debate on further by putting forward new proposals that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor might wish to consider in his Budget. I cannot at this stage pre-empt what may be in that Budget, but I am very grateful to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hain

Why did the Chief Secretary not report the statement of the Engineering Employers Federation, which said that the Government's policies were not only economically incompetent but industrially illiterate as well?

Mr. Portillo

Why, in turn, did the hon. Gentleman not refer to the CBI, the chairman of Grand Met, the British Retail Consortium, the Institute of Directors, Williams Holdings, GKN, Wimpey, the National Association of Estate Agents, the Halifax, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the chief executive of the SMMT, the Rover group, Vauxhall, the chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, or any of the others?