Clause 212 - Non-residence: other arrangements

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 17th June 2004.

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Amendment proposed: No. 438, in

clause 212, page 178, leave out line 10 and insert—

(RVFxPE+LSE) - (RVFxPB+LSB)

SLA

—[Ruth Kelly.]

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

I remind the Committee that with this we are discussing Government amendment No. 445.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Conservative, Tatton

There are numerous Government amendments in the Bill, most of which are tidying-up amendments. These two amendments also fall into that category. However, looking at them yesterday evening, I could not see what the practical effect of changing the formulae would be. The amendments involve moving brackets. Those of us who did A-level maths know that moving brackets makes a big difference. However, it does not in this case.

Let us consider amendment No. 438. It would make a difference if a bracket had been inserted before PE so that the formula read, ''RVF x (PE + LSE)'', but the Government have not done that. They have just moved the bracket from after PE to after LSE, which makes no difference mathematically as far as I am aware—and I have checked with a few people who have done their maths. I would be grateful if the Government would explain.

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Financial Secretary, HM Treasury

I am absolutely delighted that the hon. Gentleman has taken such an interest in the arithmetical formulae before us today. Before I explain what the amendments are about, let me explain what the clause is about. It provides for individuals who do not get relief for contributions paid into registered schemes, because they do not have any UK taxable earnings, to have their lifetime allowance enhanced. Clause 211 sets out the calculation for the lifetime allowance enhancement factor for money purchase schemes. Clause 212 provides the rules for calculating the lifetime allowance enhancement factor referred to in clause 210 for members of schemes that have defined benefit or hybrid arrangements. As with clause 211, clause 212 separates out the increases in benefits under the arrangement for which the individual has not received UK relief. It then divides that by the standard lifetime allowance and applies that factor to increase the individual's lifetime allowance.

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Financial Secretary, HM Treasury

I am sure that my hon. Friend has an interesting point to make.

Photo of Rob Marris Rob Marris Labour, Wolverhampton South West

My understanding of mathematics might be faulty, because I do not have the benefit of maths A-level. However, I do have the dubious benefit of a maths O-level—taken before the hon. Member for Tatton was born—in which I think I got a grade 4. My memory of algebra is that the position of the bracket is important. It is certainly important in this formula. I will need some convincing by the hon. Gentleman that

the position of the bracket in the formula is immaterial. It looks extremely important. If he gets a chance to speak later, perhaps he will explain a little more about where brackets go and where they do not. The position seems to make a material difference.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

Order. As someone who did an electronics degree and, therefore, by definition, an ordinary degree in mathematics, I am sorry that I cannot indulge in this debate.

Photo of Ruth Kelly Ruth Kelly Financial Secretary, HM Treasury

I am coming on to discuss the minor technical amendment before us, which moves the position of the bracket in the formula. Some members of the public have a greater knowledge of arithmetic than the hon. Member for Tatton. It was a member of the public who pointed out to us that the bracket needed to be moved for the formula to make algebraic sense. We could have a debate on the arithmetic behind that, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept the maths on trust. If he really wants to follow this point up, I will write to him explaining the difference that the change makes. I thank the person who pointed this matter out to our team and I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

The hon. Gentleman had better be careful when he describes the maths, because I understand it.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Conservative, Tatton

I shall be very careful. I shall also be careful not to follow the Financial Secretary's advice and withdraw the amendment. If I did, the good work of that member of the public would be undone. In fact, it is not in my power to withdraw the amendment. However, there is a point to be made.

The Government introduce all these amendments. Most of the time, we are assured that they tidy up the Bill. In this case, I believe that it is probably meant just to make the clause look more elegant, as it does not actually affect the maths at all.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

Order. I am not seeking to enter this debate, but I have to tell the hon. Gentleman that he is in danger of misleading the Committee if he persists with that argument.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Conservative, Tatton

We can have this debate in the margins of the Committee. I shall not divide the Committee on the Government amendment.

Photo of Mr John McWilliam Mr John McWilliam Labour, Blaydon

We have enough members of this Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 439, in

clause 212, page 178, line 13, leave out from first 'the' to end of line 14 and insert

'annual rate of the pension which would, on the valuation assumptions (see section (Valuation assumptions)), be payable to the individual under the arrangement if the individual became'.

No. 440, in

clause 212, page 178, line 16, leave out from 'would' to 'entitled' in line 18 and insert

', on the valuation assumptions, be entitled under the arrangement (otherwise than by commutation of pension) if the individual became'.

No. 441, in

clause 212, page 178, line 20, leave out from first 'the' to end of line 21 and insert

'annual rate of the pension which would, on the valuation assumptions, be payable to the individual under the arrangement if the individual became'.

No. 442, in

clause 212, page 178, line 23, leave out from 'would' to 'entitled' in line 25 and insert

', on the valuation assumptions, be entitled under the arrangement (otherwise than by commutation of pension) if the individual became'.—[Ruth Kelly.]

Clause 212, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 213 ordered to stand part of the Bill.