Schedule 12 - Tax relief for expenditure on research and development

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 21st May 2002.

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Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Paymaster General (HM Treasury) 6:15 pm, 21st May 2002

We have received no representations that the rules are too complex—quite the reverse. The SME tax credit is more generous and has a lighter touch than the large company tax credit. It should precisely recognise the slightly different circumstances of SMEs. I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman's logic. He says that the provision is too complex, so it should be made less complex by adding highly complex rules under which a company could give away all the extra benefits—Lord knows why it would want to—and pretend that it is a large company. A large company would be given less than a small or medium-sized company. Small and medium-sized companies that become large companies are protected in the transition, which is appropriate, given the planning.

The hon. Gentleman needs to understand that SME tax credit for R and D was provided for in the Finance Act 2000. There has not been a stampede to the Treasury's door from SMEs saying that they want the scheme for large companies instead, because it is less generous.