All 5 Richard Thomson contributions to the Finance Act 2022

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Tue 16th Nov 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
Commons Chamber

2nd reading & 2nd reading
Wed 1st Dec 2021
Finance (No. 2) Bill
Commons Chamber

Committee stageCommittee of the Whole House & Committee stage & Committee stage
Wed 5th Jan 2022
Tue 11th Jan 2022
Wed 2nd Feb 2022
Finance (No. 2) Bill
Commons Chamber

Report stage- & Report stage

Finance (No. 2) Bill Debate

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Department: HM Treasury

Finance (No. 2) Bill

Richard Thomson Excerpts
2nd reading
Tuesday 16th November 2021

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I find it disappointing when people talk about cuts when actually there is significant investment—record amounts—going into the NHS. This Budget highlighted not just £5 billion for the diagnostic centres the Department of Health and Social Care will be operating around the country, but £9 billion for covid support, and the hon. Gentleman will know that £36 billion was put into the NHS before that—a significant sum. So it is dangerous when people talk inappropriately about cuts. There are not any cuts; this is investment going into the NHS.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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One concern many have about the national insurance increase is that there is an understanding about how much that will raise but no understanding whatsoever about how much will eventually make it through the NHS to social care in England. I am sorry to say that leads many of us to think the Government might not have much of a plan for how they are going to use it first in the NHS and then to benefit service users in the social care sector. Will the Minister have another go at helping those of us with that mindset to understand?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The Government have been very clear that the money will first go to the NHS; there is a significant number of backlogs that we need to tackle and it is important that people can get to see their GP so therefore it is essential that that £13 billion is right now going to the NHS. But we have been clear about this: we are the first Government to tackle the issue of social care—the first Government to put it on the table and put in a plan to raise the money to tackle the social care issue.

As I said at the outset, a number of cities were devasted by the second world war, and I return to my analogy. In London, £65 million is going from the first round of the levelling-up fund to local infrastructure projects to improve everyday life; in Liverpool and the wider north-west, that figure stands at £232 million; separately, in Bristol and the west of England, we are providing £540 million over five years to transform local transport networks.

At the same time, we will never forget our responsibility to strengthen the public finances. The tax changes in this Bill will allow us to achieve all these things, and for those reasons I commend it to the House.

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Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury), whose speech was punctuated throughout by the sound of many nails being hit on the head.

The Budget and this Bill needed to address three key issues: the cost of living crisis; the supply crisis with the resulting inflationary crunch from that; and of course the environmental crisis. With regret, I have to say there is little cheer in the Budget or the Bill for anyone other than a bank shareholder or those who profit from the lack of urgency from this Government to tackle financial criminality and the lack of financial transparency as London rapidly gains the unenviable reputation of the washing machine for the dirty money of the world.

Let me deal first with the cost of living. Many Members have spoken at length, in the Budget debate and today, about the Conservatives having broken their manifesto pledge on increasing national insurance. We all know by now—I hope it is incontestable—that that increase hits the lowest earners the hardest. It bakes in generational and geographical inequalities, which will be a feature of our social and economic outlook for many years to come.

I intervened on the Financial Secretary to the Treasury—she was gracious enough to accept that intervention—to try to get some clarity on how the money raised by that increase will make its way through to the social care sector. We all understand that it will go into the health service, and we all appreciate that it can do much good in dealing with the crisis there, but I am sorry to say that until some answers start to be forthcoming about what impact it will have in the social care sector—and, importantly, how—the UK Government will be left looking very much as if they lack a plan.

The UK Government have barely even started to get to grips with the nature of the whole-system problems that we are facing in health and social care, and the need to integrate them. That was the case even before the covid crisis. We require a whole-system approach to many of the problems that we are seeing in health services, and I get absolutely no sense that the UK Government have thought that through. They are doing what they have routinely criticised many other Governments for doing and focusing on the inputs without having any reasonable or intelligent focus on the outputs.

It is not just direct taxes that affect the cost of living crisis; indirect taxes have a massive impact too. My colleagues and I have called for a continuation of the VAT reduction for hospitality. It seems unconscionable and unexplainable that that should be withdrawn in the early part of next year. It is often said that a banker is somebody who will offer you an umbrella when it is not raining and then take it back the instant that some dark clouds appear on the horizon, and many hospitality businesses will feel that that analogy applies to them with the VAT reduction. With lower footfall and cash flow, they did not get the chance to benefit throughout this year, and just as they come into what will be a crucial summer season for many of them, that financial boost is to be taken away. I strongly urge the Government to reconsider that and to allow those businesses to trade their way back to health.

Of course, VAT is intended to be a tax on non-essential goods, yet it is still levied on a wide range of goods that we simply cannot do without, such as domestic energy. It is a tax that can influence behaviour, but it can also be used to stimulate growth and the kind of recovery we need.

I would like to pick up one anomaly in the way that VAT is applied currently, and that relates to school uniforms. I have to say that I was not a particularly enthusiastic wearer of the school uniform when I was at school, unless I had to wear it when I was representing the school, in which case I did not have any quarrel with it. Nevertheless, I accept the arguments on the importance of school uniforms. They are an enormous leveller. The uniform instils a sense of pride and belonging, and it means that everybody is the same. It can also be a boost to household incomes not to have to compete when it comes to the clothes that children wear to school.

School uniforms are often compulsory, yet we still charge VAT on them, at the full 20% rate, for children over the age of 14, and even for children who are under that age yet have grown beyond the size that HMRC stipulates for certain school uniform items. That is hitting hard-working families really hard in the pocket at a time when a whole range of other factors are conspiring to squeeze their incomes. I do not believe that that can be right.

The British Educational Suppliers Association estimates that the cost of waiving VAT on school uniform items in Scotland would be about £1 million. To do it right across the whole UK would not cost a great deal more than £10 million. That is not a sum that is going to trouble the Treasury unduly. Some Conservative Members might not even get out of bed for a consultancy if they were earning less than that. Nevertheless, removing 20% VAT on what are essential purchases in anyone’s estimation could really make a big difference to individual families. We will look to return to that in Committee. I hope the Government will listen very carefully on that because it could benefit family incomes the length and breadth of the UK.

There have been many other hits to household finances in recent times. There is the removal of the £20 universal credit uplift. There is a Government commitment to a real living wage which seems to be at a rate running one year in arrears. No sooner do the Government expect plaudits and hurrahs for hitting the target, than a month later the rate is revised and the Government wait another 11 months to play catch-up. We are also seeing the removal of the pensions triple lock. All those matters will conspire to squeeze family incomes at a time when families can least afford it.

In the remainder of my contribution, I would like to concentrate on the impact of the failure to get to grips with the supply and environmental crises, particularly in the north-east of Scotland. An enormous series of problems is being caused by shortages of labour. That applies in the haulage sector and, in particular, in the food and drink, hospitality and agriculture sectors. We have seen crops rotting in the field because there are not enough people to harvest them. We are seeing a crisis in the pig industry. There simply are not enough skilled abattoir workers and butchers to deal with the throughput from that industry, which is leading to a looming animal welfare and human crisis.

I have heard many Conservatives say, “Why can’t you just hire local workers?” Well, frankly, you cannot just hire that sort of skilled, dedicated and experienced labour. We cannot just wave a magic wand and magic it up out of nowhere. However unskilled and unspecialised the Government might consider many of those positions, they really do need to act and act swiftly. This is not even a financial measure; it is simply about making sure all parts of the UK have an immigration policy that is appropriate for their economic and social needs. If the UK Government are not prepared to do that themselves, they should devolve it to the devolved Administrations to decide for themselves. I have absolutely no doubt that the devolved Administrations could make much better and much more enlightened and productive choices than the UK Government have shown themselves capable of making so far.

Finally, there is the environmental crisis. Let me be very clear about this: there can be no transition to net zero in the UK without the skills, human capital, knowledge and the expertise of the north-east of Scotland, particularly the contribution of the constituents I represent. COP26 made many important steps forward. Despite that, we are still seeing an almost complete mis-match and failure to engage the clutch plate when it comes to aligning Government rhetoric with actual tangible Government action in this Bill.

The Government have already failed to match the £0.5 billion commitment from the Scottish Government to net zero transition work in the north-east of Scotland for Aberdeen city, Aberdeenshire and Moray. They have also, completely and inexplicably, failed to proceed with the Acorn carbon capture and underground storage project just north of my constituency in Peterhead. An enormous percentage of the potential carbon capture storage is just offshore from Peterhead. It was the most advanced project. It is the only one that can repurpose existing infrastructure. It is the one that can come online most quickly. It is the one that can accept imports of carbon dioxide from other parts of the UK that are as yet not up and running and do not have the ability to sequestrate their own carbon. I am thinking particularly of the clusters in south Wales and around the Solent. It is an absolutely inexplicable decision, which seems to have been taken purely for partisan political reasons and the benefit of playing the politics of the pork barrel in parts of the north of England.

In conclusion, the Bill fails to get to grips with the key challenges that we knew we were facing heading into the Budget. We can only hope that it improves as it goes through Committee and on Report.

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Helen Whately Portrait The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Helen Whately)
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It is a pleasure to close this debate on behalf of the Government. In a moment I will address many of the points raised in the debate, but I want to begin by reminding the House of the announcements made by the Chancellor in the Budget: more investment in infrastructure, innovation and skills; business rates cut by £7 billion, including the 50% business rates discount for the retail, hospital and leisure sectors; a cut in the universal credit taper; a £500 increase in work allowances; and an increase in the national living wage, rewarding people for their hard work. Those are announcements that the Finance Bill builds upon.

Let me remind the House what the Bill is designed to achieve. First, it will deliver a stronger economy for the British people by encouraging businesses to invest in the UK’s future growth and prosperity. Secondly, it will help to deliver stronger public finances. Thirdly, it will improve our ability to tackle economic crime, tax avoidance and tax evasion. Finally, it will contribute to a simpler and more sustainable tax system, in turn supporting businesses and consumers.

A stronger economy and a strong, dynamic business environment go hand in hand. As a Government, we will always do everything that we reasonably can to encourage business investment. The previous Finance Bill delivered the super deduction, the biggest business tax cut in modern British history, and extended the annual investment allowance, to the end of this year, at its higher level of £1 million. Now is not the time to remove tax breaks on investment. That is why the Bill extends the £1 million level again until the end of March 2023, encouraging businesses to bring forward investment—because this is a Government who back business. It is also why the Bill will make our creative tax reliefs more generous by extending the relief for museums and galleries for another two years and doubling the reliefs for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries until April 2023.

A number of Opposition Members spoke about the taxation of banks. I should like to put everyone straight on that. As the Bill explains, the surcharge will be set at 3% from 2023, which means that the combined tax rate on banks’ profits will increase—I emphasise that: the tax rate will increase—from 27% to 28%. [Interruption.] There seems to be some problem with doing maths. Opposition Members are shouting at me, but it is a simple fact: the rate will go up from 27% to 28%. Banks will be paying more tax. It may be convenient for Opposition Members to suggest something different—they like the rhetoric—but it is simply not true.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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Will the Minister give way?

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately
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I should be delighted to give way to the hon. Member.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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As the Minister is so good at maths, can she tell us what the tax rate would be if the surcharge was not being reduced?

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately
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The answer to that question is 33%, but the fact is that the rate is going up, from 27% to 28%. That is an increase in tax; it really is quite simple maths.

While supporting investment and competitiveness in our key industries, we must also continue to fund our crucial public services and strengthen our public finances. To keep this Government on the path of discipline and responsibility, the new charter for budget responsibility sets out two key fiscal rules. First, underlying public sector net debt, excluding the impact of the Bank of England, must, as a percentage of GDP, be falling. Secondly, in normal times the state should only borrow to invest.

That is the context for the introduction of the health and social care levy, which we have already voted on, and the 1.25% increase to tax rates on dividend income, delivered through this Bill. This funding is to provide a new long-term funding stream for health and social care, raising more than £12 billion a year over the spending review period, of which £5 billion is earmarked for social care—that picks up on the question from the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson). I would be delighted to tell him more about the plans involved in that, but I would be digressing too much from the context of the Bill and that is probably one for another occasion. However, what I will say to Opposition Members who want to scrap that extra funding is that they have no other plan to finance getting down the NHS backlog or social care reform, other than through borrowing—they would pass the cost on to future generations. The Government are taking a responsible, fair and progressive way to raise revenue. Additional and higher-rate taxpayers are expected to contribute more than three quarters of the revenue from this increase in 2022-23. Those with the broadest shoulders will pay more.

A number of hon. Members asked about the funding of net zero. Taking a step back for a moment, let me say that the net zero strategy sets out our path to net zero by 2050. Overall, we have earmarked £30 billion-worth of investment in net zero, but that is a long-term investment. Net zero funding in this spending review and Budget specifically includes £1.3 billion of energy innovation funding, £1.4 billion of public sector decarbonisation funding, £1.8 billion to help low-income households to transition to net zero, £620 million extra for the transition to electric vehicles and up to £1.7 billion for large-scale nuclear energy. So, as hon. Members can see, there is funding for net zero in the spending review and Budget. In addition, the revised Green Book means that all policy objectives need to align with net zero.

Let me turn to measures in the Bill that tackle economic crime, and tax avoidance and evasion. The Government are committed to making the UK a hostile place for illicit finance and economic crime, helping to protect our security and prosperity. In recent years, we have taken a series of steps to combat economic crime, including the creation of a new National Economic Crime Centre to co-ordinate the law enforcement response, as well as passing the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which introduced new powers for enforcement authorities to investigate cash believed to be derived from criminal proceeds. The Bill builds on those steps by introducing the new economic crime levy, which will help fund further action on money laundering, including the ambitious reforms that the Government announced in the 2019 economic crime plan, and help safeguard the UK’s global reputation as a safe and transparent place to conduct business. It is a proportionate measure, which will be paid by entities that are regulated for anti-money laundering purposes.

We are also taking action through the Bill to clamp down on promoters of tax avoidance schemes. In response to the question from the hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury), we are giving HMRC new powers: to freeze and secure a promoter’s assets; to introduce a new penalty on UK entities who support offshore promoters; to petition the courts to close down companies or partnerships that promote avoidance schemes; and to share more information on promoters to support taxpayers to steer clear of such schemes.

Finance (No. 2) Bill Debate

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Finance (No. 2) Bill

Richard Thomson Excerpts
The British people need a Government who will tax fairly, spend wisely and, crucially, grow the economy in every region and nation. With the Tories, all we get is low growth, high taxes, and the wrong choices for our country.
Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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It is a pleasure to speak in this section of our consideration of the Finance Bill. At the outset, may I just say that notwithstanding the valiant efforts of the Minister to try to persuade me otherwise, I will still be pressing amendments 5, 6 and 7 and new clauses 10 and 11 in my name and those of my colleagues?

Before I get to the nub of amendment 5, it is always important to place on record, when dealing with matters such as finance, that we are also dealing with a climate emergency. It is very important that we are using every single resource and every single incentive that we have at our disposal to encourage a move to net zero across the public sector and the private sector, and as quickly as possible.

Amendment 5 would restrict access to the extended temporary increase in the annual investment allowance to businesses that support a transition to net zero. To go back to a previous life, I was once the joint leader of Aberdeenshire Council. I think I am right in saying—I have no objection to being corrected by anyone in the Chamber, or anyone outside the Chamber who happens to be watching this—that we were the first local authority in the UK to introduce a carbon budget and to put it on an equal footing in governance with the capital budget, the revenue budget and the housing revenue allowance budget. It was therefore considered on exactly the same basis, and every single measure we were taking, whether in policy or budgetary terms, was worked through so that the carbon impact was understood and the emissions that resulted from activities were always on a downward trajectory.

That is exactly the sort of net zero philosophy that needs to be baked into the private sector. One way we could do that is by making qualifying for the allowance contingent on companies having taken steps to reduce carbon dioxide in their business model and how they go about their business, but we could also challenge companies on how they will build further on the progress they have made in reducing carbon dioxide. That seems to me a sensible measure and a proportionate approach, and I commend it to colleagues.

I will move on to amendment 6. I do not doubt the good intentions and best endeavours of the Government in trying to address tax evasion at any level, but it was nevertheless extraordinary to hear the Minister suggest that requiring companies to demonstrate their tax compliance would represent an onerous burden on them. This is pretty basic, baseline, default stuff. We should expect businesses to comply with the tax code and to pay their taxes in full and on time to the best of their abilities and not to try to avoid that. People want to see businesses and others succeed, but they also want to know that others are playing by the rules, and that is particularly the case for businesses. We want businesses to do well by competing and being the best that they can be, but we want to see them succeed on the basis of the quality and effectiveness of what they do, rather than by being incentivised perversely not to contribute to the common good and to undercut their more scrupulous competitors.

We often hear from the Government Dispatch Box that there is no such thing as tax revenues without businesses, but we miss the other side of the balance sheet and the other side of the equation: it is much, much harder for businesses to succeed without the high quality of the public goods that they consume, whether that is an educated population, a health service, investment in our infrastructure, the provision of a stable market, law and order and the emergency services—everything else that is fundamental to underpinning the activities of the society we live in. Fundamentally, tax cuts of this kind should be going to businesses that play by the rules and do not undercut their competitors by not playing by the rules. It is important to incentivise and reward that good behaviour, and that is precisely what amendment 6 would do.

We tabled amendment 7 to ensure that smaller businesses with lower levels of qualifying capital expenditure were not disadvantaged in any way by having their annual investment allowance limits restricted. Again, the amendment would ensure that we are playing fair for those who play by the rules.

Moving on to new clauses 10 and 11, it is very important that the measures we have in the Finance Bill or any legislation have the intended effects, that we can see whether they are having those intended effects and that we can quantify that and ensure, so far as is possible, that we are avoiding any adverse, unforeseen consequences. New clause 11 would insist that the Government publish within 12 months an assessment of the size, number and location of companies claiming the increased annual investment allowance; the impact of the reliefs on levels of capital investment, to see that we are getting the desired outcome from that reduction; and the scope of total business investments that are being covered by the relief, to see whether it is helping to drive investment and growth in the economy. That should be a fundamental set of baseline assessments that the Government should wish to undertake. New clause 11 would ensure that happens.

Moving on to new clause 10, and from unforeseen adverse circumstances to entirely foreseeable adverse circumstances, Brexit continues to be a millstone around the neck of businesses and families, and it is important that we understand the continued consequences and ramifications of choices that have either been made freely or, in the case of the area I represent and the people of Scotland, been forced upon us.

A programme I used to like watching on television on a Sunday afternoon was “Bullseye” with Jim Bowen. I do not know if anyone remembers that. His catchphrase at the end when the contestants did not do nearly as well as they had hoped—they had gone for that 101 with six darts and had sadly fallen short—was, “Let’s have a look at what you could have won.” New clause 10 is about having a look at what we could have won. It would ensure that the Government carry out an assessment of how the changes in the annual investment allowance would have affected our GDP had we remained in the European Union and had we left with that future trade and investment partnership in place.

Finally, I turn to clause 6 and the banking surcharge. My party was happy to support the increase in corporation tax generally, but people still bear the scars of the 2010 banking crisis. They believe that, in the spirit of fairness, the banks should make a fair contribution, not just to help businesses to grow and develop to make sure that the economy is growing and that they are making the best contribution they can, but to ensure that they are repaying some of the harm caused by the reckless approach to banking in the lead-up to the financial crash. Many people will look askance at the reduction in the surcharge, notwithstanding the increase in the corporation tax rate generally, and will feel that banks are not fulfilling their proper roles as prudent lenders or their social responsibilities but seem to be getting off the hook.

Finance (No. 2) Bill (Third sitting) Debate

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Finance (No. 2) Bill (Third sitting)

Richard Thomson Excerpts
James Murray Portrait James Murray (Ealing North) (Lab/Co-op)
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It is a pleasure to serve on a second Finance Bill Committee under your chairship, Dame Angela.

I will address the clauses that the Minister set out in her remarks, starting with clause 32, which notes that the new residential property developer tax will be applicable from 1 April 2022, as announced at the spring Budget of 2021. As we have heard, this is a new, time-limited tax on the profits of residential property development companies’ property development activity, with a rate of 4% over a £25 million allowance. The Government estimate that it will generate £2 billion over the course of a decade, and they said that the funds are earmarked to help with cladding remediation costs, according to the former Secretary of State for Housing, the right hon. Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick), who spoke to the Building Safety Bill in February 2021. The explanatory note for the clause states that the tax is to

“ensure that the largest developers make a fair contribution to help fund the Government’s cladding remediation costs.”

We support the principle behind the new tax, but I intend to use this Committee sitting to question the Ministers on the detail of its design and to probe their views on its place in the Government’s wider response to the cladding scandal. We know that the Bill has been consulted on, but we also note stakeholders’ disappointment that the consultation process was truncated, as stage 1 —setting out objectives and identifying options—was cancelled. Although we recognise the importance of moving quickly to raise revenue in order to help meet the costs of remediating unsafe cladding on buildings, it is disappointing that the Government were not able to conduct a thorough consultation.

Clause 33 sets the rate of the RPDT charge at 4% on profits that exceed the allowance of £25 million. The tax is charged as if it were an amount of corporation tax chargeable on the developer. As I mentioned earlier, the Government expect that £2 billion of revenue will be generated while the tax is in effect, so I will ask the Minister several questions in order to try to clarify the reasoning behind some of the Government’s decisions on the detail of the tax. First, we note that the tax does not come with a sunset clause, and therefore active legislation will be required to repeal it when it comes to an end. Will the Minister explain the reasoning behind that decision? If the tax is intended to be time-limited, why have the Government have chosen to leave it in need of active repeal, rather than simply adding a sunset clause?

Secondly, I mentioned that the expected revenue from the tax is £2 billion. We know, however, that that is just a fraction of the total cost of remediating unsafe cladding, which was estimated by the then Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee in April 2021 to be about £15 billion. What is more, labour and material shortages have significantly driven up the cost of construction. That is thought to add £1.2 billion to the overall cost of remediation, wiping out most of any gain from this tax. With the cost of cladding remediation already thought to be so much greater than the amount that the tax is expected to raise, and with that gap likely only to increase, will the Minister try to explain further why the rate was set at 4%? Will she confirm whether, if the amount raised should fall short of £2 billion or if costs should increase substantially, the Government would be open to considering raising the level of the tax?

It was in pursuit of an answer to that question that we tabled new clause 18, which would require the Government to publish a review of the residential property developer tax within three months of the end of the first year of it applying, and thereafter annually, within three months of the end of each subsequent year that the tax applies. The review, as updated, must assess how much the RPDT has raised in each year of its operation so far and how much it is estimated that it would have raised at levels of 6%, 8% and 10%.

As I mentioned, the cost of remediating unsafe cladding was estimated last year to be about £15 billion, and the cost of labour and materials has increased due to supply chain crises. Industry experts have estimated an 8% increase in the cost of cladding jobs, compared with last year. As I mentioned, that could increase the total cost by £1.2 billion. As I said, this tax aims to raise £2 billion, which is just a fraction of the total cost and much of which, it seems, will be wiped out by rising costs.

We have therefore tabled this new clause to ask the Government to assess how much they could raise through the tax and how much they could raise with different rates. Given the significant discrepancy between the estimated revenue raised by the RPDT and the estimated cost of remediation, will the Minister set out in further detail, when she responds, exactly how the rate of 4% was reached and what specific consideration was given to alternatives? It was with that in mind that we tabled the new clause. We will not seek to put it to a vote, but we hope that it will help us to debate and probe the important and central issue of the rate at which the RPDT has been set.

In summary, I will be grateful if, in her reply, the Minister could set out exactly how the figure of 4% was arrived at and, furthermore, how she expects the rest of the cost of cladding remediation to be met. I would be grateful if she could set out, either in her reply now or in writing, what other sources of funding she anticipates being used to meet the total cost of cladding remediation.

Finally in relation to this group, I will briefly mention clause 52, which is an anti-avoidance provision preventing taxpayers from adjusting their profits arising in an accounting period in order to obtain a tax advantage for the purposes of this tax. We welcome the intent behind that clause and will not oppose it.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dame Angela. I rise to speak to new clause 3, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow Central. As the Minister outlined, this new clause would require a Government assessment of the impact of the residential property developer tax being introduced by the Bill and of its effect on opportunities for tax evasion and avoidance.

We are all familiar with what this tax sets out to achieve and those on whom it should fall. There is a £25 million annual allowance for construction firms, and the tax will be levied above that at 4%. That does not take a great deal of time to say, but unfortunately, giving it effect requires 16 pages and a further eight pages across two schedules in the Bill and a great many more pages in the explanatory notes to say exactly how it will work in practice. Therefore, the opportunity for genuine confusion, for interpretation and, sadly, for evasion and avoidance is certainly a real and present danger in the legislation.

The anticipated impacts are set out in table 5.1 of the “Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021”. We are not talking huge sums from this tax, but given its stated purpose and the means to which the revenues are going to be put, I think that reviewing its impact—not just in a financial sense, but in the sense of the unintended consequences that it could have and the havoc that it could wreak in terms of confusion, differences of interpretation, and avoidance and evasion—seems to be an eminently reasonable thing to do. I urge the Minister to reconsider how the Government intend to tackle that once the tax is implemented.

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None Portrait The Chair
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Order. I will call the hon. Gentleman, but first I call Richard Thomson.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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Thank you, Dame Angela; it is a relief to find out that my hearing is not as dodgy as I momentarily thought it was.

None Portrait The Chair
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It was probably my mask.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I rise to speak in support of new clause 5, which is in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow Central. The Minister has run through why we are looking to have an assessment. I say to her as gently as I can that it is all fine and well to be proud of commitments that the Government have made, but it would be much better to rack up more quickly achievements that she could point to and be proud of on climate change, rather than just making statements of aspiration. This is one area where it is quite important to get some more chalk on the board.

As we have heard, the Bill sets a series of incremental changes to vehicle excise duty, and precisely because they are incremental, we might expect, at best, an equally incremental impact, or even an imperceptible one, on changing behaviour and on the resulting climate change impacts. We are all aware of the mandate to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in a bid to encourage the take-up of alternatively fuelled vehicles, but I am of the same view as the hon. Member for Erith and Thamesmead: we will need some significant further incentivisation if we are to drive the change through that policy on the scale and at the pace that is required.

My party is very fond of drawing comparisons with Norway—another small country, like Scotland, of 5 million people—on the other side of the North sea. Sometimes those comparisons are about what might have been, but we also point to what could and perhaps what should be. Norway has been so successful in incentivising the take-up of electric vehicles that the Government are running out of hydrocarbon-fuelled vehicles to tax, which has resulted in a 19.2 billion kroner gap in their latest budget.

That is not a problem that the UK Government are likely to encounter any time soon, in view of the current take-up of electric vehicles, and that is why new clause 5 is so important. It would provide for an assessment of how effective or—as we suspect—ineffective these particular changes will be over the year, so that the UK Government had the necessary information base to set future policy as quickly as possible. I think the Minister knows that we need to do that at some point, and surely it is better to start sooner rather than later.

Finance (No. 2) Bill (Fifth sitting) Debate

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Department: HM Treasury

Finance (No. 2) Bill (Fifth sitting)

Richard Thomson Excerpts
James Murray Portrait James Murray (Ealing North) (Lab/Co-op)
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As we heard from the Minister, the purpose of clause 94 is to introduce schedule 15, which, in turn, introduces a new requirement for large businesses to notify HMRC when they have taken a tax position that is uncertain. The new requirement has effect for returns within scope that are due to be filed on or after 1 April 2022. We understand that large businesses are defined as those with a turnover above £200 million, or a balance sheet total of over £2 billion. Uncertain tax amounts with a tax advantage below the threshold of £5 million will not need to be notified to HMRC. We also understand that uncertain tax treatments are defined as those that meet one of two criteria: either a provision has been made in the accounts for the uncertainty, or the position taken by the business is contrary to HMRC’s known interpretation of the law.

The stated intention of the clause and schedule is to reduce the gap between taxes paid and taxes thought by HMRC to be owed that is attributable to differences in legal interpretation. The measure aims to ensure that HMRC is aware of all cases where a large business has adopted a treatment with which HMRC may disagree, and to accelerate the point at which discussions occur on these uncertain tax treatments. It also claims to identify areas of law that are currently unclear and to allow HMRC to focus on clarifying these areas of uncertainty, ultimately resulting in fewer disputes caused by uncertainty in the tax law.

We know from HMRC figures that in the financial year 2019-20, the tax gap attributable to differences in legal interpretation was £5.8 billion. Of this, £3.2 billion was attributed to large businesses. We do not oppose the broad intention of the measure. It is important that revenues are not lost to legislative ambiguity, and that tax liabilities are clear to large businesses. Measures that seek to reduce the administrative cost of dealing with uncertain tax treatment for both HMRC and businesses are worth pursuing. However, we note concerns raised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation. It was unconvinced that the measure would achieve its aim. It points to the additional compliance burden that all businesses will face, regardless of whether they have been transparent and open with HMRC about their tax dealings.

HMRC’s own figures suggest a cost of £1,300 for each business impacted, and the House of Lords Finance Bill Sub-Committee described that cost as disproportionate. I would be grateful if the Minister could tell us approximately how many large businesses the measure aims to change the behaviour of. I am sure that HMRC or Treasury officials will have estimated the scale of the problem before proposing a remedy, so I would be grateful if the Minister could share any figures she has.

On the operation of the measure, we understand that HMRC does not expect the legal interpretation part of the tax gap to be impacted immediately by the introduction of the measure alone, and it expects to have to take further action. It is therefore not immediately obviously why this extra measure is needed, and why HMRC’s existing powers are not enough. As the Chartered Institute of Taxation said,

“it is not clear to us how this measure will itself additionally impact on the legal interpretation tax gap, given that HMRC already have extensive powers to open an enquiry into, and investigate, a tax return, from which any disputes in respect of legal interpretation can be addressed.”

I would be grateful if the Minister addressed that point directly. Could she explain what practical advantage the new measures lend HMRC? Could she also comment on the penalties levied for non-compliance with the measure? Given that it targets a minority of non-compliant large businesses with a tax advantage above £5 million, the penalties for non-compliance seem rather small: £5,000 for a first offence, £25,000 for a second, and £50,000 for repeated failures to notify HMRC of uncertain tax treatments. Those amounts seem rather low for businesses with a £5 million-plus tax advantage. I would be grateful if the Minister explained how these figures were arrived at, and confirmed whether she believes these measures serve as a robust disincentive for large businesses to use differing legal interpretations to alter their tax liability.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson (Gordon) (SNP)
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It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Christopher. I apologise for arriving slightly behind schedule this morning. It was good to see the ministerial team picking up exactly where we left off, getting their rebuttal in first, and telling us what was wrong with our new clauses before we had the chance to utter a syllable. I look forward to that continuing this morning—and this afternoon, if we get that far.

HMRC estimates that a potential £5.8 billion of the UK’s estimated £35 billion tax gap for the tax year 2019-20 is attributable to a difference in legal interpretation between HMRC and the businesses concerned. It is that situation that motivated us to draft new clause 7, which is in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow Central. We support all and any reasonable and proportionate measures to try to narrow the gap. I would add, in passing, that it is disappointing that the third trigger has been dropped, which is that HMRC should be made aware by companies if there is a substantial possibility that either a court or tribunal might find that the taxpayer’s position was incorrect in certain material respects.

While there will always be a level of uncertainty around tax, it is useful to try to get a measure of the tax gap on its own terms—one that is as objective as possible. It is also very useful to compare, as far as possible, the estimated size and scale of our tax gap with the gap in other comparably advanced economies, so that we can see what we might learn from others.

I accept that direct comparisons might not be possible, but I do not accept the Minister’s argument that meaningful comparisons are impossible, because we can get an understanding of practices and of analysis; that is at the heart of the matter. This is about trying to get to grips with the scale, and developing an understanding of what will be a continually moving target, as entities seek to minimise their overall liability as legitimately as they can within the confines of the broader tax code. That backdrop of information would allow policy makers to reflect adequately on how the domestic tax code might be amended to ensure greater clarity and better compliance. It is on that basis that we tabled new clause 7.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I am grateful for the contributions from Opposition Members. I was very pleased that the hon. Member for Ealing North recognised the importance of closing the tax gap and welcomed the provisions from that perspective. As I set out, the provisions will affect only the largest companies, which have the means of dealing with and communicating their issues to HMRC. He asked me about the practical advantages of the provisions, given that we have existing measures. Quite simply, some, though not all, companies are looking at all times to minimise the tax they pay, and are coming up with new ideas. They have the ideas first, and HMRC does not want to be slow in reacting. The best way to get on the front foot is for the companies to tell us what measures they are thinking about, so that we can engage at the first moment. That is what the provisions seek to do—to ensure that we can engage at the first moment, so that we can make sure that companies comply with their tax obligations.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about penalties. The Government originally proposed a flat £5,000 penalty for failure to notify under this regime. In response to stakeholder feedback, we revised the penalties, which now escalate for repeated failures to a maximum of £50,000. The Government considered carefully the penalties to ensure that they were proportionate and fair for a notification regime. Penalties are charged for failure to notify and are not charged by any determination of the amount of tax at stake—providing for a larger penalty in those circumstances would be disproportionate. If it was eventually found that a tax return contained a deliberate error, then a larger tax-geared penalty could still apply. As with all policies, the Government will of course keep this under review.

I was very pleased and interested to hear from the hon. Member for Gordon about his disappointment about the dropping of the third trigger. As I have said, we keep all measures under review and will keep looking at this area. If we do bring any further measures forward on uncertain tax treatment, I look forward to his support.

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Abena Oppong-Asare Portrait Abena Oppong-Asare
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I thank the Minister for her explanation of clause 99, which introduces schedule 16, which concerns emissions certificates for vehicles. When purchasing a car, capital allowances are in part determined by the level of CO2 emissions. A 100% first-year allowance is available for new cars that have zero CO2 emissions, including electric cars. Otherwise, writing down allowances are available at the main rate of 18% per annum for electric cars and those with low CO2 emissions—up to 50 grams per kilometre driven—or 6% per annum for those with emissions exceeding 50 grams per kilometre. The measures in the clause allow for greater CO2 emissions figures to be used for purposes of capital allowances, taxable benefits arising from provisions of cars and vehicle excise duty. For that reason, we will not oppose the clause.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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Thank you, Sir Christopher, for your opening comments on this group. My party does not get too many advances or victories in this place, so it is important to savour them when we can. I will certainly savour this one. I have a sense of clairvoyance about what the Minister will say in response.

We fully support the intention behind schedule 16. It is important to have the certification regime in place. However, as I argued when discussing the SNP’s new clause 5 in the previous group, it is important not only that consumers have confidence in the figures that are published, but to understand the impact that their publication has on behaviour. When we discussed new clause 5, we talked about the very incremental changes to vehicle excise duty, and my party proposed that we should look at the impact of those on consumer behaviour. Similarly, we feel we must understand how emissions certification changes consumer and manufacturer behaviour.

As a fundamental point, when we are as engaged in trying to achieve net zero as all Governments in these islands say that they are, it is important that Government have clear oversight of how spending and taxation influence behaviour in driving movement towards net zero. This measure should be no exception, and that is what our new clause seeks to achieve. In the fairly safe assumption that it will not be accepted by the Government, I would like to know how they intend to monitor how the changes drive behaviour.

Helen Whately Portrait Helen Whately
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It is a pleasure to hear the hon. Member for Gordon argue for new clause 8. It would require the Government to publish, within 12 months of the Bill coming into effect, an assessment of the impact of clause 99 and schedule 16 on the goal of tackling climate change and the UK’s plans to reach net zero.

For the reasons we set out in detail during the Committee’s debate on new clause 5, this similar new clause is simply not necessary. Moreover, clause 99 and schedule 16 make only minor technical amendments to vehicle tax legislation to ensure that it continues to function as intended. The measure is not expected to have any significant climate change impacts. I therefore urge the Committee to reject new clause 8.

I thank the hon. Member for Erith and Thamesmead for expressing the Opposition’s support for clause 99 and the schedule. I commend the measures to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to. 

Clause 99 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill. 

Schedule 16 agreed to. 

Clause 100

Increase in membership of the Office of Tax Simplification

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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Clause 100 increases the maximum independent representation on the board of the Office of Tax Simplification by two members, giving a total membership of 10. The OTS is the independent adviser to the Government on simplifying the UK tax system. The clause provides the ability to add two additional members to the board of the OTS following the publication of Her Majesty’s Treasury’s five-year review of the effectiveness of the OTS, which was required by the Finance Act 2016. Allowing for the appointment of two additional members will ensure that the board comprises the fullest appropriate breadth of skillsets to support the work of the OTS.

Sir Christopher, I very much look forward to the submissions from the SNP on new clauses 9 and 10.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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New clause 9 ought to speak for itself. On 23 November, in a written response to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Dan Carden), the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

“The Government has an ambition that by 2022 half of all new appointees should be women and 14 per cent of appointments should be made to those from ethnic minorities.”

Clearly, we are interested in ensuring diversity going forwards, but we should also be interested in diversity in the here and now, and in ensuring that all our public institutions are as representative as they can be of the country that we seek to govern and administer.

In looking at that diversity, both present and future, it is important that we have it in the board, in the team and in employment within the OTS more generally. We must not only have an understanding of where we are in the present, but ensure that the pipeline of talent for future appointments to senior positions is flowing as it needs to, so that we benefit from the widest and deepest possible pool of talent as the body carries out its functions.

Moving on to new clause 10, we spoke earlier about the estimated tax gap of £35 billion. An important aspect of tax fairness is being sure that we apply the tax code equally and consistently, and we need to understand the impact of it’s being applied equally and consistently and how fair the outcomes are. There are still many inconsistencies and perverse incentives across the entirety of our tax code, not least in how it interacts with the benefits system.

If we are serious about ensuring fairness, the Office of Tax Simplification would be an excellent starting point. Our view is that the OTS should have the remit and capacity to look at fairness, and new clause 10 would provide evidence on the OTS’s current capacity to achieve that.

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None Portrait The Chair
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No, no.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 101 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 102 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 1

Review of reliefs on investments

“The Government must publish within 12 months of this Act coming into force an assessment of the impact on the tax gap of the reliefs on investments contained in this Act, and of whether those reliefs have increased opportunities for tax evasion and avoidance.”—(Richard Thomson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

None Portrait The Chair
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With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 6—Review of impact of reliefs in Act on the tax gap

“The Government must publish within 12 months of the Act coming into effect an assessment of the impact of the tax reliefs in this Act on the tax gap, and of whether they have increased opportunities for tax evasion and avoidance.”

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I echo everything that everyone has said so far about the smooth running of the Committee. I congratulate and give grateful thanks to the Clerks and everyone who has supported each of us in what we have tried to achieve here.

I will try to be as brief as possible. New clause 1 is self-explanatory. If we had a simple tax code, we probably would not need an Office of Tax Simplification or have a tax gap as large as £35 billion. The new clause simply asks the Government to assess this, because they cannot possibly hope to address problems that they do not know about or understand.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my comments about new clause 1 are relevant to new clause 6 as well. With that, I draw my remarks about the new clauses to a close.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I would like to address the points made by the hon. Member for Glasgow Central about the process, which she made earlier in the Committee’s proceedings too. There is a clear process for how we make legislation and taxation. There is a large amount of consultation. The process is that we announce a consultation, there is a consultation, we reflect on the consultation, and then we bring in legislation. So long as I am in this position, I am happy to hear points made by the Opposition in the course of that consultation process, to ensure that we have the right and appropriate legislation on our statute book.

New clauses 1 and 6 would require the Government to publish an assessment of the impact of the tax reliefs in the Bill, including the reliefs on investments, on the tax gap, and to look at whether they have increased opportunities for tax evasion and avoidance. There are a number of new measures already in the Bill to ensure that we reduce the tax gap as far as possible. There are also measures in the Bill that deal with tax avoidance more broadly.

We have had significant success in bringing down the tax gap since 2010, as a result of the measures we have taken. I reassure the hon. Member for Gordon that we produce estimates of error and fraud, where we deem those appropriate. For example, estimates on corporation tax research and development reliefs were included in the annual reports and accounts, and we will continue to do that.

For those reasons, I believe that a separate reliefs impact assessment is not appropriate, and I ask the Committee to reject the new clauses.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I think I have said all that needs to be said on this subject; I am happy to let my remarks stand. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 2

Effect on GDP of international matters in Act, and of whole Act

“(1) The Government must publish an assessment of the impact on GDP of—

(a) the provisions in sections 24 to 28 of this Act, and

(b) this Act as a whole.

(2) The assessment must also compare these impacts to the impacts had the UK—

(a) remained in the European Union, and

(b) left the European Union without a Future Trade and Investment Partnership.”—(Richard Thomson.)

This new clause would require a Government assessment of the effect on GDP of the international provisions of the Act, and of the Act as a whole, in different scenarios.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

In Committee of the whole House, I referred to a new clause as the Jim Bowen from “Bullseye” clause. I am sure that we all remember that programme with great affection and especially recall what he said at the end if someone had not got 101 with six darts—“Let’s have a look at what you could have won.” This is the “let’s have a look at what we could have won had we remained in closer alignment with the European Union” clause.

It is fair to say that there have been significant trade losses to date since Brexit. It is important not only that the Government should have a solid evidential basis of what those losses are and make conclusions about how they came about, but that others should have that information too. That is the basis of this new clause.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The new clause would require the Government to publish a review of the impact of the international tax policy changes in the Bill, and of the overall tax changes in the Bill, on GDP. It also asks us to compare the impacts on GDP under two scenarios—one where the UK remained in the EU, and one where the UK left the EU without a future trade and investment partnership.

The hon. Member for Gordon will know that the Office for Budget Responsibility provides economic and fiscal forecasts and is required to provide an assessment of the impact of Government policy. The OBR published the impact on GDP at the autumn Budget 2021, ahead of its inclusion in the October 2021 economic and fiscal outlook, and the OBR will continue to monitor the impact of these measures in future forecasts. Since the independent OBR provides precisely such a forecast, it would be wholly unnecessary and unhelpful to public debate to induce the Government to produce a rival one.

In accordance with the law governing the OBR’s independence and impartiality, it may produce forecasts only on the basis of published Government policy. It does not publish forecasts based on alternative policies, and I do not think that would be a useful exercise. Given that the OBR has already published an analysis of the impacts of the provisions in the Bill, I urge the Committee to reject new clause 2.
Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 4

Impact of Act on tackling climate change

“The Government must publish within 12 months of this Act coming into effect an impact assessment of the changes in the Act as a whole on the goal of tackling climate change and the UK‘s plans to reach net zero by 2050.”—(Richard Thomson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

I have made the argument numerous times in various guises that for every action, every policy choice and every pound spent, we should understand the contribution, positive or negative, that that makes to achieving net zero and tackling climate change. That is why we tabled new clause 4.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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New clause 4, tabled by the hon. Member for Glasgow Central, asks the Government to

“publish within 12 months of this Act coming into effect an impact assessment of the changes in the Act as a whole on the goal of tackling climate change and the UK’s plans to reach net zero”.

I want to emphasise that we have just had COP26, which the Government led. Of course the Government are committed to ensuring that we reach the legislative target of being net zero by 2050, which we were the first country to set, and I reiterate that the Government have put in a significant fund of £30 billion to achieve that objective.

The hon. Member for Gordon asks us to consider that at each stage of the legislative process. I can give him some comfort that we are of course embedding those processes in Government. The “Net Zero in Government” chapter of the net zero strategy sets out how the Government will monitor progress to ensure that we stay on track to meet our target emissions.

At fiscal events, including the recent spending review, all Departments are required to prepare their spending proposals in line with the Green Book, which already mandates the consideration of climate and environmental impacts on spending. The investment decisions in spending review 2021 were informed by data and evidence on the expected contribution of proposals to meet net zero. In addition, the relevant tax information and impact notes that are prepared for all Budget measures carefully consider climate change and environmental impacts of relevant tax measures as they go through the process.

For those reasons, new clause 4 is unnecessary. We already consider the impact on the environment as we bring forward legislation, so I urge the Committee to reject the new clause.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I listened carefully to what the Minister said. I look forward to seeing how those governance measures operate in practice—how they are introduced and how effective they turn out to be. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 12

Impact of Act on tax burden of hospitality sector

“The Government must publish within 12 months of this Act coming into effect an assessment of the impact of the Act as a whole on the tax burden on the hospitality sector.”—(Richard Thomson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

New clause 12 seeks to place an obligation on the Government to

“publish within 12 months of the Act coming in effect an assessment of the impact of the Act as a whole on the tax burden on the hospitality sector.”

Our main concern is about VAT. It seems bizarre to be removing the 5% VAT relief so early in the new year, particularly given the situation we are in, especially when most of us agree that the best way for the hospitality sector to get back on its feet is to allow it to trade its way out of the situation that it is in, cognisant of our obligations to wider public health objectives.

The hospitality sector needs our help. As I say, we think the best way of doing that is to allow it to trade as circumstances allow and for the Government to change their mind on VAT—although I accept that they are unlikely to do so at this stage. We would therefore very much welcome a review of the impact of the Act as a whole on the hospitality sector after 12 months, which would provide an evidence base for future tax and policy changes that may be beneficial.

Right across these islands, we have a hospitality and tourism sector to be proud of. It is imperative that we ensure that there are no unintended tax consequences from the measures in the Bill, and we should do all we can to support the sector to support itself and get on with doing what it does best. I would like a review, just to make sure that we are utterly mindful of that at all stages and that we do not build in perverse incentives or add any unnecessary drags, anchors or impediments to the sector’s recovery.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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As the hon. Gentleman says, the new clause asks the Government to

“publish within 12 months of the Act coming in effect an assessment of the impact of the Act as a whole on the tax burden on the hospitality sector.”

He is right to highlight the importance of that sector to the British economy and the British people. He will be aware of the significant support that the Chancellor has given to the hospitality sector over the course of the pandemic, reducing the burden of business rates by over £7 billion over the next five years, including by providing almost £1.7 billion in further business rates relief in 2022-23, which will benefit the hospitality sector. I hope that shows not only that we have supported the hospitality sector during the pandemic, but that we are supporting it in different ways as we come out of the pandemic.

Of course, we already carefully consider and monitor the impact of all tax changes, including on different sectors, such as hospitality, as part of our decision-making process. The Government also publish TIINs—the tax information and impact notes I mentioned—to accompany tax legislation. Those include the impact of tax changes on businesses. The new clause would introduce unnecessary additional bureaucratic requirements and complexity, and I therefore urge the Committee to reject it.

Richard Thomson Portrait Richard Thomson
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I beg to ask leave the withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the Chair do report the Bill, as amended, to the House.

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I thank you, Sir Christopher, and your co-Chair, Hansard, the Doorkeepers, our Whips, our Parliamentary Private Secretaries and our officials at Her Majesty’s Treasury and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, who have supported us through the Committee. I thank all Committee members for their diligence, their contributions and their support, or constructive criticism, throughout the Committee, and for making this a productive session. I very much look forward to Report. I also thank my co-Minister, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, for the work that she has done.

Finance (No. 2) Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: HM Treasury
Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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Order. I can see two Members standing and I intend to call the Minister at 5.55 pm. I call you first, Mr Grant, and any time you do not use up before 5.55 can be used by your colleague—no pressure.