Schedule 29 - Gains and losses of a company from intangible fixed assets

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 13th June 2002.

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Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Conservative, Cities of London and Westminster 10:15 am, 13th June 2002

I accept that the Institute of Directors and others have welcomed the proposals, that the measure is not new—it has been around for the past four years—and that there was substantial consultation on it. However, I have a philosophical concern that may not affect the schedule or the amendments but may have a longer-term effect.

Until 1997, the income and capital taxes regimes were on one stream, but the new Treasury team introduced a change in philosophy. Capital gains tax, especially for small entrepreneurs, is now at a far lower level. I wonder whether provisions that ensure that intangible fixed assets are put on an income rather than capital basis may mean higher rates of taxation for companies on those assets. I suspect that that is not the Government's intention at this juncture, and we have not received representations on it. However, on the basis that rates of income and capital gains taxes have diverged and that there has been an increase in Treasury meddling, which we may see more of in the future, Opposition Front-Benchers may return to the area of intangible fixed assets when we debate future finance Bills. As the Minister said, it is an important area, and goodwill on this matter is important to large and small companies in a globalised and high-information world.