HC Deb 13 February 1997 vol 290 cc459-60
11. Sir John Hannam

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the proportion of national income taken in business taxation in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) in Germany, (c) in France, (d) in Italy and (e) as an average among European Union member states. [14182]

Mrs. Angela Knight

Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development estimates for 1994 show that the average EU tax burden on business is 10.6 per cent. of GDP. The tax burden for business in Germany is 9.4 per cent.; in Italy, 12.8 per cent.; in France, 16.8 per cent.; and in the United Kingdom, 8 per cent., one of the very lowest rates in Europe.

Sir John Hannam

I thank my hon. Friend for that illuminating reply. Does not it show that Conservative low-tax policies have helped to produce the most successful economy in Europe? Would not all that be ruined if the Labour party ever came to power, with a windfall tax, a minimum wage and the social chapter?

Mrs. Knight

My hon. Friend is correct. Our tax system has created jobs, whereas many of our European partners have been unable to do so. It was interesting to learn this week of two companies that propose to leave France and come to Britain, simply because our tax burden is lower and the cost of employment in France, in particular, is so much higher.