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Clause 1 — Main rate of corporation tax for financial year 2011

Part of Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 12th July 2010.

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Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 5:15 pm, 12th July 2010

I do not want to get drawn into the moral issue of deprecating or not deprecating: what I am interested in is the efficiency of revenue collection and the clarity of the law for the people having to meet it. It is the job of this House to have a clear tax law that people have to follow, and we often have these debates to try to carry out that task. Sometimes tax law is so complicated, or people outside this House are so ingenious, that there are ways round it that I might disagree with and the right hon. Gentleman will often disagree with, and that is when we come back to legislate again. We say, "We haven't done our job well enough. People are avoiding tax more easily than we would like them to be able to, and so we're going to add another complication"-or sometimes even a simplification or clarification-"to the tax law to try to capture that." That is the job of this House. The shadow spokesman and I will sometimes agree that an avoidance scheme goes too far and we need to legislate to stop it; on other occasions, we will disagree. I will say, "That's perfectly rational tax planning-don't be such a party pooper", he will say, "I don't like people getting away with that kind of thing", and we will have our disagreements.

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