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Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:33 pm on 20th April 2004.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 7:33 pm, 20th April 2004

The debate in Committee—on which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will serve—will enable all hon. Members to draw a clear distinction between legitimate tax planning, avoidance and evasion and allow us to discuss how we should respond to these challenges in fairness, treating all taxpayers on an equal basis.

Both the right hon. Member for Fylde and the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs asked about legal privilege and whether it was our intention to override it—it is not—and about the regulations that will provide for the disclosure. The regulations will be made available before we get to that part of the Standing Committee. There will be consultation on them, because it is our intention to try to make sure that this works, for exactly the reasons that everybody in this House would expect.

On transfer pricing, I understand the CBI's concern, but we have consulted it and have made changes to the transfer pricing rules, which was a sensible response.

Many hon. Members referred to strip stamps. The simple point is that, after nearly three years of discussion and consultation with the industry, given the increased fraud and the illicit market in this area, no alternative solution could be found. We can debate that on the Floor of the House in detail next week, but hon. Members need to apply themselves to this fact: why should honest taxpayers see a loss in revenue because of illegal activity? If that is wrong, how do we deal with it? I must say that the industry has not come forward with any alternative proposals.