The clause relates to schedule 23, which we shall come to later. For the benefit of the Committee, by way of introduction to what will be an extensive and important aspect of this morning's proceedings, in the context of various amendments that have been tabled to schedule 23, I shall say briefly that the clause and schedule provide a statutory corporation tax deduction for employee share acquisitions, and apply to acquisitions of qualifying shares by employees in the employing companies' accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January.
Order. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point about seeking to introduce a general debate in this area, but having looked at the clause it appears to me that very little can be said that should not be said under schedule 23. In a way, it would have been better to take this under the schedule.
Order. Let me make it quite clear that if there is to be any form of debate on this clause, I shall certainly not be disposed to allow a stand part debate on schedule 23. There are many amendments to that schedule. I leave it to the hon. Gentleman to make a decision. If he wants to introduce the subject under this clause, I am happy that he should, but I have indicated the way in which I am likely to respond later on.
I am grateful, Sir Nicholas. I am going to make the important point on clause 140. If as a result of your ruling you do not wish to have a stand part debate on schedule 23, I shall make this a longer debate, rather than making one very short point now followed by all the amendments to schedule 23 and then a stand part on schedule 23. I have some further points that relate only to schedule 23, which would be brought up under stand part because no amendments relate to them. I wish only to make a brief point on clause 140 as it stands, then—
I am most grateful, Sir Nicholas. On that basis, I have a couple of sentences to go.
Although we welcome the broad intention behind the legislation, we are, of course, keen to consider it properly, particularly in the light of the changes to employee share schemes, which we have debated. My point, which is intended genuinely to help the Committee and to compliment the Government, is to acknowledge that a final regulatory impact assessment has been made in relation to the clause and its accompanying schedule. It is important to acknowledge that the regulatory impact assessment relates specifically to the clause as well as to the schedule—the assessment is helpfully set out on the internet at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk. It is estimated
that the cost to the Exchequer of the first full-year effect of the new relief provisions will be £45 million, rising to £95 million in the tax year 2007–08.
I am happy to follow your guidance, Sir Nicholas, on the other points relating to schedule 23 and will bide my time until we reach that point in proceedings.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 140 ordered to stand part of the Bill.