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Offshore Receipts in Respect of Intangible Property

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Luke Graham Luke Graham Conservative, Ochil and South Perthshire 6:15 pm, 20th November 2018

I refer the Committee to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Several provisions in the Bill will help to deal with money laundering and tax avoidance, and I want to touch on a few of them, as well as on some of the comments that have been made by Labour and SNP Members, but first I would like to echo some of the Minister’s comments about tax in general. Conservative Members pride ourselves on having a low-tax but fair system that rewards work and enterprise, but ensures, in all things, that when someone has a tax liability, they should indeed pay it.

Tax should be low right across the United Kingdom. One of my Scottish colleagues referred to charges for higher-rate taxpayers in relation to the movement of residency between Scotland and England. As I am sure that SNP Members will appreciate, it is not just higher-rate taxpayers who are affected. As has been well documented over the past few months, anyone earning over £26,000 in Scotland is now worse off than if they were anywhere else in the United Kingdom. In fact, it had to be confirmed by one of the senior generals in the British military that because of the SNP’s changes, men and women in the British armed forces would pay more tax in Scotland than they would anywhere else in the world. These changes are disadvantaging my constituents and companies.

The counter-argument is that somehow those tax changes will make things fairer for my constituents, that they are providing huge opportunities, and that we should be ashamed of ourselves for not doing more. As my hon. Friend Eddie Hughes said, the tax changes introduced by this Conservative Government have increased constituents’ income by £1,250. The tax changes made by the SNP in Scotland have given my constituents 38p a week. That is it—all this change, all this cost and all this disadvantage for 38p a week. If the SNP Government are going to make changes, they must make real changes that make people’s lives better and follow some of our copybook.

A key point has been raised about Scottish limited partnerships. I sat on the Committee that considered last year’s Finance Bill, and when we discussed that matter with several Opposition Members, I voiced my support for changing these partnerships. We saw a change in the law in 2017, and there are now disclosure requirements for those in a limited partnership, but I want to ensure that the context of these partnerships is understood. They were originally enabled under the Partnership Act 1890, and then confirmed again in 1907 by Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs, so this measure was not somehow imposed in Scotland.