Loan Charge

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Richard Harrington Richard Harrington Conservative, Watford 4:31 pm, 11th April 2019

My right hon. Friend Sir Mike Penning says, “Spot on.” I too fully accept the validity of the hon. Gentleman’s intervention.

Clearly, these schemes were not correct. The way to deal with this is to say that if people went into this because they were reasonably advised to, or told to by their employers, then even if they are liable, HMRC should have the flexibility, on a humanitarian and a mitigation basis, to say, for example, that the money should be paid back over a lengthy period—monthly, quarterly or whatever. I am sure that HMRC does not wish to bankrupt people, ruining their lives and so on.

My right hon. Friend the Minister is himself a man experienced in business who is very aware of the ways of the world. I am sure that he knows the difference between criminal tax evaders and people like my constituents in Watford and other hon. Members’ constituents. Because of that difference, HMRC should have the flexibility to deal in a humanitarian way with these unfortunate people.