Last week, Parliament debated the Finance Bill in which Labour called for a Back to Work Budget focusing on jobs, jobs, jobs.
As you may be aware, each year the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents the Budget, which contains all the tax measures for the year ahead. Traditionally the Budget has been in March, prior to the start of the tax year on 6 April. The statutory provisions to give effect to these tax measures are set out in a single Bill: the annual Finance Bill and this year’s Bill has passed its final stages in the Commons this week.
This year, the country has faced an unprecedented shutdown of many parts of the economy, including the aviation, transport and hospitality industries which are so important for Feltham and Heston’s local economy. With Feltham and Heston having third highest proportion of workers furloughed in the country and rising youth unemployment, we need a focus on how we prevent further job losses, create the jobs we need and ensure access to local jobs.
That’s why Labour has called for the Government to put strong recovery measures in place, supporting local people, local businesses and local jobs.
We believe the UK’s stimulus measures should be based on the principle of creating jobs across the country in partnership with local communities and local businesses. In addition, we want to see an economic recovery focused on green technologies, like Germany, Denmark and South Korea have already legislated for.
Labour supported a number of amendments in order to put forward our vision of a fair economic recovery, a Back to Work Budget bringing a sustainable recovery to the country through the creation of high-quality green jobs rooted in the local community. You may also have seen amendments on the loan charge, and I continue to support the campaign for fairness for those who acted in good faith and for Government to hold to account the promoters of disguised remuneration schemes.
The Digital Services Tax brought forward in the Finance Bill is a new 2% tax on the revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users. This measure is was late but right from the Tories who have continually failed to get to grips with tax avoidance by multinational companies. It isn’t right that when high street shops are struggling in an unprecedented way that the government continues to allow Amazon to pay a lower tax rate than British bookstores and other businesses.
Labour supported an amendment which would place a requirement on these digital multinationals to publish a global tax strategy, including a country-by-country report. This report would include information about the group’s global activities, profits and taxes.
Labour’s job creation amendment also called for the Chancellor to publish a review of the impact of the stimulus measures on job creation within six months of the measures becoming law. We also supported amendments seeking reviews of the impact of these measures on poverty and taxation.
Green growth is vital for a sustainable future, and for how we Build Back Better. We proposed a new clause reviewing the impact of the Bill on the environment. It would require the Chancellor to conduct an assessment into the impact of the act and lay it before the House of Commons within six months of the Bill becoming law. This assessment would consider our economic recovery in regards to air quality standards, biodiversity and our ability to achieve the 2050 target for net zero carbon emissions.
While these amendments were voted down by the Conservatives, Labour will continue to scrutinise the Government’s recovery plans through our vision of a Back to Work Budget, focused on one thing: jobs, jobs, jobs.