Cross-border Trade and Accounting

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:07 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Craig Mackinlay Craig Mackinlay Conservative, South Thanet 7:07 pm, 30th October 2019

That is a topic for a wider debate, which I have often considered. The UK tax code does not have 17,000 pages; it has been rather well expanded to 22,000 pages. When we compare that with the tax code of Hong Kong, which runs to 350 pages, we can see the difference. When I was a councillor on Medway Council, we had a document on the localisation of council tax that ran to 370 pages. I wondered how on earth the entire tax code of a very successful and vibrant economy such as Hong Kong could run to 350 pages, yet Medway Council, which I served on, managed to get a 370 page document just to consider the localisation of council tax.

I know the Minister will want me to conclude, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I do not want to take up any more of his time, but the fact is that these things can be solved through the trust that exists today and the digital returns that exist today, including internationally. The concerns that our friends in the Democratic Unionist party have about a future trading bureaucracy are real, but once this is in operation, they will fade away, and people will get used to the new system within a very short time. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire for bringing forward this debate, and I look forward to hearing from the Minister.