ECONOMY – TAXATION – 18 March 1999

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the right hon. Lady find time for a debate on the substance of Early Day Motion 436?

[That this House notes with concern the Prime Minister's Answer of 10th March, Official Report, column 358, that there is a "net tax cut of £4.5 billion" for the coming year, because the total tax increase in the coming year is £7.1 billion; further notes that the Prime Minister's claim not to have raised taxes but to have cut them has been described by the eminent economist Anatole Kaletsky as "simply false"; recalls the Prime Minister's previous assertion that any Minister giving false information to the House would speedily correct the mistake; and calls on the Prime Minister immediately to correct his false assertion and apologise to the House.]

That motion has been signed by 59 right hon. and hon. Members and relates to the Prime Minister's suggestion that there has been a net tax cut of £4.5 billion for the year ahead, whereas there will be a total tax increase of £7.1 billion in the coming year. Does the right hon. Lady agree that such a debate would give the Prime Minister or his spokesman ample opportunity to explain why, if their figures are right and ours are wrong, the eminent economist Anatole Kaletsky has described the Prime Minister's figures as "simply false"?