Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 1:36 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Danny Alexander Danny Alexander The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:36 pm, 1st April 2014

I am told from a sedentary position that the Opposition voted against that measure. They voted against the whole Finance Bill, of course.

The Bill also introduces three new tax reliefs to support employee ownership. The Deputy Prime Minister has rightly given a high priority to employee ownership, and the measures in clause 238 will introduce a capital gains tax relief, an inheritance tax relief and an income tax exemption for employee-owned companies. This will make the sale of a business into an employee ownership structure much more attractive. It will give employees of indirectly employee-owned companies an income tax relief of £3,600 a year on their bonuses. That will help to encourage more firms to become employee-owned in the years to come and, therefore, to improve the structure of our economy.

It is also worth reminding hon. Members of some of the other measures this Bill introduces which will support specific UK industries: it legislates to reform the banding of air passenger duty; and it includes a measure that will help make the Glasgow athletics grand prix a success this summer, putting in place a tax relief for athletes competing in that competition, which is an immediate predecessor to the Commonwealth games. Having tax reliefs for both the Glasgow grand prix and the Commonwealth games will help to ensure, as the UK Government rightly should be ensuring, that the world’s best athletes are encouraged to come to compete in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. Everyone, in all parts of this House, hopes they will be an enormous success for Scotland and for the whole UK.

The Bill also includes a package of measures to support oil and gas exploration in the UK continental shelf; it introduces a new allowance to support early-stage investment in shale gas; and it reduces the tax on beer by a penny a pint and freezes the duty on spirits, rightly offering particular support to the Scotch whisky industry, as Scotch is one of this country’s most successful exports. Those measures will support not only our pubs, but brewers and so on. All those measures, taken together, cut the costs for business, support innovation, boost exports and show that this Bill will help British businesses to help the British economy grow.