Finance (No. 2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:51 pm on 11th April 2016.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary 10:51 pm, 11th April 2016

I believe that a meeting has been set up for the right hon. Lady with the Financial Secretary, so I hope that, like him, she is looking forward to that.

The Bill targets key areas of online VAT evasion by providing stronger powers to make overseas sellers pay the VAT that is owed, helping to create a fairer market against UK players . It legislates to ensure that profits from the development of UK property are always subject to UK tax, reflecting the fact that land is a precious natural and national resource, and ensuring that UK developers share a level playing field with overseas developers.

Finally, the Finance Bill introduces a tougher anti-offshore tax evasion regime, with new criminal offences and civil penalties for those who evade or enable evasion. The Government’s position is clear. We will deliver a low tax regime for businesses, but they must pay their fair share of taxes here too. Evading tax is unacceptable and we will continue to bear down on it. The Government have announced legislation for 25 measures to tackle avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning, which are forecast to raise over £16 billion in this Parliament, on top of more than 40 changes made in the last Parliament.

As always, at Budget 2016 the Treasury updated its distributional analysis. The headlines are: it remains true that since 2010, the distribution of spending on different income groups or quintiles has remained essentially unchanged, while the incidence of taxation has shifted towards the most affluent fifth; the best-off 20% will pay more tax than all other households put together in 2019-20; and UK income inequality is now lower than it was in 2010.

Since 2010, the Government’s long-term economic plan has focused on sound public finances. Significant progress has been made, with the deficit as a share of GDP forecast to be cut by almost two thirds from its peak in the last year of the Labour Government. The Finance Bill ensures that the record can continue. It provides certainty for working people by reducing income tax and rewarding savers. It backs business and enterprise by cutting corporation tax and reforming capital gains tax. It supports the simplification of the tax system, and it takes bold steps to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. The Finance Bill demonstrates the Government’s commitment to a stronger, secure and more productive economy, and I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time.