Review of effects on public finances

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 7:45 pm, 8th January 2019

I will not, simply because I have two minutes and 30 seconds left and I want to cover some of the other issues raised this evening.

However, as I have said, the Government will accept this new clause. It is absolutely right that, when HMRC deals with the public, it has a strict duty of care, a duty of proportionality and a duty to be as sympathetic as it can be relevant to the circumstances of those with whom it is dealing. In my dealings with HMRC, I have made those points forcefully clear. As the right hon. Gentleman will know, HMRC has recently come forward to say that those earning £50,000 or less—which is over twice the average national salary of somebody working in our country—will automatically be granted, without requirement for additional paperwork, a minimum of five years’ time to pay as an arrangement to settle their affairs. Of course for those who come forward before April there is effectively in most cases no penalty as such; they will simply be required to pay that tax which was due in the past—and it was always due in the past—plus the interest that is rightly applied.

I have less than a minute left and want to say a little about amendment 12, tabled by Kirsty Blackman, on the national minimum wage lock. She will know that, because we have increased the personal allowance now to £12,500 for every year of the forecast period, there will be no necessity for that lock to be in place. She makes the point that there could be a projection beyond that point. That will be a matter for a future Government of course and it is not for this Parliament to bind its successors.

I conclude on the suggested entrepreneurs’ relief review and new clause 2, which Anneliese Dodds spoke to. We had a review that was published in December 2017, which reported on this particular matter, and it showed that a third of those using entrepreneurs’ relief went on to reinvest in new businesses and half of those who were aware of entrepreneurs’ relief said that it significantly influenced their decision to enter into an entrepreneurial activity. It is an important element of the business tax landscape and we will of course, as we do with all taxes, keep that relief under review.

In the six seconds I have left, I urge that the House accepts the Government new clauses and, with the exception of new clause 26, rejects the Opposition amendments.

Five hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on the programme motion, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the clause be read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 289, Noes 312.