Tax Regime: Forestry Sector

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane

What assessment he has made of the effect of the tax regime on the ability of the forestry sector to deliver value for money.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The evidence from the Forestry Commission is that UK timber production is globally competitive. Our 25 year environment plan sees the Government committed to increasing timber supplies and to the greater use of home-grown timber within the UK construction sector.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane

I fully support this Government’s ambition to plant more trees, but do the Minister and the Chancellor agree that any tax incentives towards this endeavour should include a requirement not only to own woodland, but to manage it as well, so that we have the right amount of timber to fuel the timber industry? Will the Minister agree to meet me to discuss this?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that forestry ownership and the management of woodland is extremely important. We keep all taxes under review—including some of the distortionary effects that taxes may have that I know she might be concerned about—and I am delighted to confirm that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor is looking forward to meeting her shortly.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Minister for that response. With the UK having an internationally competitive timber processing industry and having produced timber products with an annual value of £10 billion, will the Minister outline how his Department intends to facilitate a smoother tax path to ensure that smaller businesses in this big industry get help and support?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The hon. Gentleman raises a specific issue around the participation of smaller businesses in this industry, and we will be looking at that as we look at taxation in this area going forward. If he would like to make any specific representations to myself or the Chancellor, I am sure we would be delighted to receive them.