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Mr. Ian Bruce: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Darling: Perhaps in a moment.

I find Conservative Members' attitude difficult to understand. They say that they think that the working families tax credit might be right in principle, and yet they almost seem to wish that it would fail from the start. The right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr. Davis) asked about the working families tax credit. If he looks at the Red Book, he will see that not only are we helping far more people than the family credit system was meant to help, but, whereas most of the people on family credit found marginal deduction rates of 70 per cent., under the scheme that we are proposing only a

23 Mar 1998 : Column 120

quarter of the people have higher marginal deduction rates. In other words, we are reducing the cost that people face when they enter work.

Mr. Bruce: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Darling: In a moment.

The working families tax credit guarantees every working family an income of at least £180 a week. No family working full-time with earnings less than £220 a week will pay income tax. When people see the benefits that the WFTC will bring, they will see that working families now keep more of their money and that there is more of an incentive to enter work. When they take into account the reforms that we are making in the labour market, the increase in child tax credit and the provision of child care assistance--something that was never done under the previous Government--people will realise that the Government are taking action in ways that the previous Government never did.

Mr. Bruce rose--

Mr. Darling: I shall give way once to a man with a majority of 77, and hear what he has to say.

Mr. Bruce: If this measure is so good, why do people have to wait until October 1999 for the change? [Interruption.]

Mr. Darling: My hon. Friends are asking why the country had to wait 18 years for this sort of reform.

We are determined to tackle child poverty. We inherited a situation where one child in three is brought up in poverty--what an indictment of one of the most industrialised countries in the world. We have introduced significant reforms, including the increase in child benefit by £2.50 from next year, that will ensure that we have a fair and efficient society.

We have also introduced a Budget for enterprise. Reform to make work pay must be accompanied by an environment that encourages jobs. It must be very galling for the Conservatives to find that, despite their criticisms, nobody outside the Conservative party agrees with them. Our reforms to company taxation have been widely welcomed inside and outside the House.

Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) rose--

Mr. Darling: I shall give way in a moment. We have reformed corporation tax by cutting the rate to the lowest level ever, and we have said that it will not increase. We have cut the rates of tax being paid by small business, and we shall see major growth in employment in the small business sector in the future. We have examined ways of improving research and development and we have reformed the capital gains tax system.

I am about to give way for the last time to the shadow Chancellor. One of the things that business likes most about the Labour party is its positive and constructive attitude to Europe--something that the shadow Chancellor and his right hon. and hon. Friends will never have.

Mr. Lilley: I am grateful to the Chief Secretary for giving way. He said that nobody agrees with our critique

23 Mar 1998 : Column 121

of the Budget. Is he not aware that the TUC has forecast that, as a direct result of the Chancellor's tightening of fiscal policy and his monetary and exchange rate policies, unemployment will rise by 100,000 during the rest of the year?

Mr. Darling: At last year's Tory party conference, the Tories tried to tell us that much of the past 18 years had been a ghastly mistake. They claimed that they were a caring party and that they were sorry for everything they had done. The right hon. Gentleman now says that the TUC is the friend of the Tory party, but that claim has no credibility whatsoever.

I emphasise the fact that, because we have exercised prudent control on public spending this year, we have been able to carry forward £1½ billion to next year. As we are prudent, we have allocated half a billion pounds to the reserve. However, we have also made more money available for schools, the health service and transport in the coming year. We are showing how, by conducting a root-and-branch examination of all public spending and by rooting out waste and inefficiency, the Government have been able to redirect money to our priorities in this Parliament and beyond. We shall see a great deal more of that during this Parliament.

Prudent management of public spending has allowed us to allocate more money to our priorities. An extra £250 million for schools brings the total new money invested in schools since the election to £2½ billion--that is more money than the Liberal Democrats ever promised. We have been able to increase the amount of money going to the health service by an additional £2 billion. That money would not have been available but for the new Labour Government. We have been able to put money into public transport, and we are beginning to make up the backlog of investment needed in the London underground system, which was so neglected by the previous Government.

Last July, the Chancellor took the first steps towards modernising the British economy, ensuring that we have economic stability and reducing the huge levels of debt that we inherited from the previous Government. We have reformed the Bank of England. We have yet to hear the Conservatives' position on the Bank of England, but most people recognise that that was a useful and a good reform. We are modernising the welfare state, and this Budget is a further step change along the way. We have extended the new deal, financed by the windfall levy on the privatised utilities. We are reforming the tax and benefit system and we are ensuring that work pays. We are making sure that help goes where it is needed. We are redirecting assistance to families with children, giving children the start in life that we promised them and that we know they need.

Of course, modernising the welfare state goes hand in hand with encouraging enterprise. Enterprise and fairness go together. We are helping business; we are encouraging investment; we are reducing business tax and red tape. We are redirecting public funds to where they are needed, in schools, hospitals and transport. We are making sure that spending follows this Government's priorities in this Parliament and beyond.

This is a radical and reforming Budget. We are committed to a fairer society. We are committed to reversing the inequalities over which the Tories presided.

23 Mar 1998 : Column 122

We want a more productive, high-employment economy. This is a new Labour Budget and, step by step, we are delivering our manifesto promises. This is a Budget for enterprise and fairness, a Budget that has set new ambitions for Britain. I commend it to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,



(a) for zero-rating or exempting a supply, acquisition or importation;
(b) for refunding an amount of tax;
(c) for varying any rate at which that tax is at any time chargeable; or
(d) for any relief, other than a relief which--
(i) so far as it is applicable to goods, applies to goods of every description, and
(ii) so far as it is applicable to services, applies to services of every description.

Madam Speaker then, pursuant to paragraph (3) of Standing Order No. 51 (Ways and Means motions), put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the further motions.

2. Beer (rate of duty)

Motion made, and Question put,


The House divided: Ayes 350, Noes 147.

Division No. 216
[10 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Church, Ms Judith
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
(Perth)
Dafis, Cynog
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Norman A
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gorrie, Donald
Graham, Thomas
Grant, Bernie
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Gunnell, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keetch, Paul
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Livsey, Richard
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McLeish, Henry
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Oaten, Mark
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pope, Greg
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Rt Hon George
(Hamilton S)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Rogers, Allan
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swinney, John
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Wallace, James
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Jon Owen Jones and
Mr. Clive Betts.


NOES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Colvin, Michael
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fraser, Christopher
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hayes, John
Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Major, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Townend, John
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. John Whittingdale and
Mr. Oliver Heald.

Question accordingly agreed to.

23 Mar 1998 : Column 126

3. Sparkling wine, made-wine and cider (rates of duty)

Resolved,



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