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

My understanding is that they have, but I do not have the figures on take-up to hand. The hon. Gentleman will understand that investments in R and D require a long planning period before the tax credit comes in.

I find it incredible that the hon. Gentleman is asking me to believe that plenty of criticism has poured to him so that he can make his point in Committee, but not to the Government, who could have amended the legislation and ensured that there was no problem. The subject has not been reported to us as a problem by SMEs.

We have invested a great deal of time and taxpayers' money in the R and D credit. The policy is important to the Government, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that if it was not working as well as it should and required amendment, we would take those considerations on board and do our best to amend it. The Inland Revenue is full of talented and able people, but mind readers they are not. Given that no one has pointed out why the scheme should be changed, it is

difficult for me to engage with the hon. Gentleman in a theoretical discussion on a complexity about which no one is complaining.

Indeed, the reverse is true: the scheme has been widely welcomed and is being used. People have had nearly two years to comment on it, and complaints are not coming through. If they do, I shall ensure that they are looked at, because I want the policy to be a success.