Yesterday the Second reading of the Finance Bill was passed by a majority of 60. Considerably larger than the notional majority of 12. Clearly the Opposition did not feel sufficiently opposed to the Budget measures to turn up and vote against it.
The media attention was, not surprisingly, concentrated on the Statement by the Prime Minister about the Panama papers released in the last few weeks. It was quite noticeable that labour MP’s were on the back foot. The speed with which the Prime Minister and the Chancellor had released details of their own tax returns had taken the wind out of their sails.They proved neither had any offshore income and considering the posts they hold had incomes completely in line with many others in public life and much less of course than they could earn in the private sector. It was ironic that the only person who appears to have broken the rules was the Leader of the Opposition who was fined for filing his return late.
Despite the fact that there was a Statement yesterday on the UK steel industry followed by many questions Labour sought and obtained am emergency debate today on the UK steel industry. It is clearly very encouraging that after all that was said about the closure of the Scunthorpe works it was announced yesterday that the plant has been sold and will continue to operate.
By the way, just for the avoidance of doubt and to stop people wasting their time asking me I have no offshore interests. I have disclosed everything I have to in Register of Members interests. I employ an accountant to complete my tax returns every year just as I did when I ran my own firm -in fact it is the same accountant as I had then. Obviously I pay all the tax I have to and if anyone thinks I do not they should take this up with the Inland Revenue.