Clause 46

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 27 November 2007.

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Transfer schemes

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 1—Transfer schemes: tax provisions.

Government new schedule 1—Transfer schemes: tax provisions.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Clause 46 brings into effect schedule 12, which in turn sets out the power of the Secretary of State to make schemes to transfer property, rights and liabilities. At this point would it be appropriate to move straight on to Government new clause 1, Lady Winterton?

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

Yes, all three measures are being considered together.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The new clause will give effect to a new schedule relating to the tax treatment concerning statutory transfer schemes. New schedule 1 makes provision relating to tax consequences that could otherwise arise in relation to the transfers of property, rights and liabilities under transfer schemes made under schedule 12. Broadly, it ensures that inappropriate tax charges and reliefs are not triggered as a result of a transfer scheme and provides continuity of tax treatment where appropriate.

At a level of principle therefore, an understanding of schedule 12 is—it says in my briefing—quite straightforward. It is intended to cater for the various scenarios concerning the transfer of assets and liabilities in the context of construction and delivery of Crossrail. It is right to draw Members’ attention to the fact that because Crossrail will not be completed for a number of years, we are looking to take a power by statutory instrument to make further modifications to the tax treatment of transfer schemes.

We consider that that is necessary in order to deal with the inevitable but unforeseeable future adaptation of the tax system. Expressed at a level of principle, the schedule is straightforward, but the detail is somewhat technical and I do not propose to go into it in great depth. I hope that what I have said today and the explanation in my letter of 19 November 2007, which is available in the Committee Room, will persuade hon. Members to give these measures their support.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am grateful to the Minister for that opening to this short debate. While schedule 12 may well be quite straightforward in principle, those of us who are not of the profession that he so likes found some of the detail quite impenetrable at times.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

Order. The hon. Gentleman referred to schedule 12. We are dealing with new schedule 1.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I stand corrected and I thank you for that.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright Opposition Whip (Commons)

Even the title is impenetrable.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

My hon. Friend is quite right. The detail is difficult and technical and it is has been difficult for some of us to explore it properly. We are grateful to the Minister for his letter of 19 November. There is just one thing on which I would like him to give us a little more detail. He used the phrases “inappropriate tax charges and reliefs” and “inappropriate tax consequences” several times, but could he clarify what he means by inappropriate and give us one or two examples of what is inappropriate? If inspiration does not arrive in the normal way, I will be happy for him to concede that he might need to write to me to define that term.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I would be more than happy to dazzle the hon. Gentleman with the details that he asked for, but I will save the Committee some time and simply write to him with them and with some of the examples that he asked for. I hope that that will satisfy him.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 46 ordered to stand part of the Bill.