HC Deb 27 June 1996 vol 280 cc452-3
4. Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for alleviating taxation on small businesses. [33408]

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Michael Jack)

The last Budget included plans to reduce further the tax burdens on small business.

Mr. Bellingham

Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the fact that our corporation tax is among the lowest in the world and in welcoming the Government's recent announcement about reducing rates on small businesses in rural areas? Does he agree that small businesses do not want extra bureaucracy and extra regulation—particularly that which would flow from adopting the social chapter and other social legislation from Europe? [Interruption.] Does that not illustrate the fact that the Labour party cannot be trusted when it comes to small businesses?

Mr. Jack

My hon. Friend takes entirely the right line. The noises from the Opposition Benches show that Opposition Members completely distrust private enterprise and lack any understanding of it. Indeed, most of them have had no experience of operating in it.

Mr. Hain

Given the fact that the VAT registration threshold has not been raised in line with inflation, is the Minister happy that another 14,000 businesses have been forced into the VAT net?

Mr. Jack

Many small businesses are pleased that we have increased the threshold for VAT. That has relieved them of unnecessary bureaucracy and has expanded their opportunities to be competitive in the marketplace.