Clause 65

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 16th June 2009.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) 5:15 pm, 16th June 2009

I take the hon. Gentleman’s point. My point was simply that there are issues to be weighed when considering a change of that kind, and the effect on investors is one of them. It is not necessarily a showstopper, but it needs to be taken into account.

The hon. Gentleman asked why the Government had not allowed deferral of part of the distribution requirement. It is important to note that each of the conditions of the regime is in place for good reasons. The requirement to distribute 90 per cent. of the profits from the property rental business within 12 months of the end of each accounting period helps to ensure that profits are distributed to shareholders who then pay tax on them, and it also helps to ensure that the investor gets a good deal.

We touched on the use of REITs for residential property investment, but there are difficulties with that in the current economic environment. Doing much about that problem would require significant changes to the regime, and we could then run into some EU state aid difficulties, which is another factor to be borne in mind.