Loan Charge

Part of Brunei – in the House of Commons at 1:27 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen 1:27 pm, 4th April 2019

I do not intend to take all of my time, because I am nowhere near as qualified as Sir Edward Davey and my hon. Friend Ross Thomson, who have done a fantastic job in getting us here to this debate, so that we can make representations on our constituents’ behalf. I, too, pay tribute to the Minister. He has been very helpful in responding to all my queries and those of my constituents. Of course, not all responses have been to their liking, but he has always been available and I pay tribute to him for that. I hope he is as accommodating today as he has been so far.

My hon. Friend James Cartlidge, who is not in his place any more, argued that people who use public services should pay for them. If we are talking about evasion versus avoidance then of course he is absolutely right, but self-employed contractors have a different tax regime to people who work with PAYE; they have a different structure. They will look to see whether they can make the best use of their tax situation, because they do not get sick pay or holiday and nobody is paying their pension for them. They will therefore look for the most efficient way to deal with their tax. Some of these schemes have been shown to be that for them. They asked the questions and we all know they asked the questions. There are very few people caught up in this who we think went deliberately out of their way to avoid tax.