Loan Charge

Part of Brunei – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Adrian Bailey Adrian Bailey Labour/Co-operative, West Bromwich West 1:49 pm, 4th April 2019

I congratulate Ross Thomson and his colleagues in the all-party group on the way they have taken up and pursued this issue, and on the incredibly well informed report they have delivered. Many of the points I wanted to make have already been made, but I think one or two are well worth underlining and reaffirming.

The first point is on the retrospective approach taken. The people caught by the charge are, by and large, on ordinary, or perhaps slightly better than ordinary, incomes and are law-abiding; they were advised, perhaps beguiled, and in some cases even coerced into being part of the schemes; and they filled in their tax returns and declared everything. There was no attempt to hide their tax status in returns to HMRC. Although it may be true that HMRC did not approve the schemes, it is self-evident that HMRC ignored the evidence in front of them that may have justified taking action, so to take action now, after 20 years, is totally unfair and defies all laws of natural justice.