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 appreciate that; I am sure that it will be well recorded in Hansard.

I, too, was an active participant on the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, and I agreed with the hon. Member for Oxford East on many points, especially about looking at the actions taken on overseas territories and Crown territories. In accepting some of the amendments, the Government committed to a course of action, and I am sure they will be pushing that through.

Tax collection is one of the most important duties of the Government. Whether in central Government, the devolved Administrations among the nations or, indeed, down in local authorities within the devolved Administrations and right across the United Kingdom, tax collection and record keeping are incredibly important. I welcome some of the measures introduced by the Government to increase the resourcing to HMRC. I would hope to see from right hon. and hon. Members the sharing of best practice and that we ensure that some of the people working for our tax collection authorities around the United Kingdom are going right around the United Kingdom. A number of local authorities need additional support and help with tax collection, and the sharing of best practice in technology, to ensure that they are actually collecting the tax revenues they are due.

I have two local authorities in my constituency, Perth and Kinross Council and Clackmannanshire Council, both of which face very extreme council funding issues in terms of raising local funds and cuts imposed by Edinburgh. When we look at the local services that have had to be cut as a result of the reduction in funding from Edinburgh, despite the increase in the Scottish block grant, we see that it is having a significant impact on education services, health services and local street services in my constituency. I would hope that even SNP Members could put pressure on the devolved Administration to make sure that they focus on proper tax collection, and also on proper tax expenditure.

As I have said, action taken by this Government has helped to bring in over £185 billion of additional tax revenue that we would not otherwise have been able to collect. Corporate tax revenues have also increased.

A key point has been raised—many Labour Members have spoken about it—about inequality when talking about absolute and relative poverty. This is important to note, because I think that the House should look at more objective statistics. In last night’s debate, I talked about strengthening the OBR to make sure that we can have credible statistics that Members on both sides of the House recognise, acknowledge and accept.

One key aspect of that is to look at the Gini coefficient, which has been recognised as a measure of inequality for a long time. If we look at the Gini coefficient in 2010 compared with where we were in 2016-17, we see that there has been a reduction in the coefficient, which means an improvement in the living conditions of people in the United Kingdom. Inequality has actually reduced according to the Gini coefficient.