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Clause 3 — Small companies' rates and fractions for financial year 2007

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 25th June 2007.

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Photo of Julia Goldsworthy Julia Goldsworthy Shadow Chief Secretary To the Treasury, Treasury 10:00 pm, 25th June 2007

I shall be brief. We have covered many of these issues on Second Reading, in the Committee of the whole House and in the Public Bill Committee. The only point that I wish to make, in addition to those made by Mr. Hoban, ties in with the previous debate.

It is not yet clear to many businesses how their tax treatment will be affected by the increase in the small business rate of corporation tax, the capital allowances and the research and development tax credits that may be available to them. Again, it would be helpful if, at the time of the Budget, information was published about what the differential impact of all the changes, in the round, will be—over time, as not all the changes occur within the same time frame; over sector, because we have heard that some capital-intensive businesses will benefit disproportionately; and by region, because in my part of the world, down in Cornwall and across the south-west, there are a disproportionate number of very small businesses. If many small businesses encounter a tax hike, areas with the highest proportion of small businesses will see that driver of their economy affected more negatively than other areas that have more big businesses or more capital-intensive businesses.

Businesses are still trying to work out how the changes will affect them, and what advantages and disadvantages there will be for them in the tax changes in the Budget and the Bill. I hope the Minister will give us an assurance that by the end of the debate on the Bill, businesses will have a clearer sense of what it will mean for them.