HC Deb 16 January 1992 vol 201 cc1081-2
1. Mr. Mullin

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue he expects from the proceeds of privatisation for the period of the public expenditure survey.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. David Mellor)

Privatisation proceeds are expected to be £8 billion in 1992–93, and £5½ billion in 1993–94 and 1994–95. These are as announced in the Chancellor's autumn statement of 6 November 1991.

Mr. Mullin

What will we live on when the oil revenues have all gone and there is nothing left to privatise? Or will the Chief Secretary and his friends be sunning themselves in some tax haven by that time?

Mr. Mellor

I suspect that we will live on the talents of the British people, which will be greatly assisted by the tax and spending regime—[HON. MEMBERS: "On the backs of the working class."] It is clear how rattled the Labour party is, as it has to start barracking this early in the proceedings. The real question that the hon. Gentleman should put is to his own party: how will it keep tax and spending plans going if it does not have the benefit of privatisation revenues?

Mr. Marlow

Apparently there are some interesting, exciting, progressive, damn fool ideas going around about renationalising the water industry. How much would it cost if fair compensation were paid to the standard rate taxpayer each year if that were to be done?

Mr. Mellor

My hon. Friend touches on an interesting point. The Labour party has become ever so coy about the details of its renationalisation plans. The last time it was asked about them by The Times, the best that it could do was to put up a research assistant to the hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) to answer. I think that in due time the British people will want to know a bit more than that.

Mr. Skinner

The Minister asks what Labour will do when it gets the chance to govern. Labour will ensure that the 3 million people on the pile of human misery known as the dole queue will be given a chance to work and to provide tax and insurance. Then, if I have anything to do with it—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Give the hon. Gentleman a chance.

Mr. Skinner

We shall take back from the richest 1 per cent. of the population the £26.2 billion that they have had in tax cuts and use it for the national health service, pensioners, schools and all the social services.

Mr. Mellor

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's application for a job has been noted in the quarters which matter. What the hon. Gentleman must explain away is why, with the reductions in the upper rate of tax which have taken place under this Government, the contribution of higher rate taxpayers as a proportion of income tax is so much higher. It is because a low tax regime is a stimulus to effort, a way of ensuring that the British economy works effectively and that people are put back to work. I do not doubt the hon. Gentleman's aspiration to get people off the dole queue, but I doubt whether he has any policies to achieve that.

Forward to