West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin writes for the Observer…
OVER recent days, more and more people have been getting vaccinated and some people are starting to get their second doses.
This is all wonderful news and offers us all hope that we will be able to unlock the economy and get back to work. I’ve also been visiting the new testing centres which are opening up across Worcestershire allowing people to get fast tests and fast results, even if they don’t have symptoms.
The Government has taken unprecedented steps to deal with the effect of this global pandemic to our lives and our livelihoods. That has meant that the Government has had to devise and implement support schemes to the tune of £280 billion but these have increased our national debt to 100 per cent.
I am a member of the Treasury Select Committee and over the last few months we have been examining the best way for the Government to deal with this huge debt. As a fiscally responsible Conservative, I supported the way we cleared the deficit after the financial crash and as a committee we are hearing from experts who all have views on how to approach this challenge. The issue is in the spotlight with the Chancellor presenting his Budget last week, but my committee has made its own recommendations and we’re suggesting a wide range of tax reforms which will help to support our public services and also stimulate growth in a post-Covid world.
Some businesses have had a very successful year – particularly the online retailers – and there is an attraction at implementing a ‘windfall tax’ on their profits. The Stamp Duty holiday has prompted suggestions that the whole system needs reform and the Government urgently needs to look at the Pensions Tax Relief – especially for higher earners. Some have suggested that an increase in Corporation Tax could help to bring us to a path of balancing the books.
A fiscally responsible Government must act once lockdown is over. The economy will bounce back, but we also need to start to pay back debts, rather than pass them down to future generations.