ECONOMY – TAXES ON BUSINESSES – 19 July 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: If he will make a statement on the tax burden on businesses?

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] I thank the Chief Secretary [Andrew Smith] for that singularly uninformative reply. Does he accept that the Confederation of British Industry has estimated that the tax burden on business has increased by £5 billion a year, and could that be the explanation for the fact that Britain has slipped in the ranking of most competitive countries in the World Economic Forum's league from fourth to ninth position?