(Except Clauses 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 20 and 92) - Schedule 35

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:15 pm on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban Shadow Minister (Treasury) 1:15 pm, 18th June 2009

It has been a helpful debate and I am heartened that the Minister has not closed his mind to protection for the self-employed and those who make annual, rather than quarterly or more frequent, contributions. I hope that there are some dishes in the buffet that tempt him at a later stage to reheat these ideas for discussion on Report.

In trying to tackle forestalling, we are in danger of introducing unfairness and discrimination against people who are not in the position to make predictable pension contributions. If we are to look at income going back three years to determine whether the £150,000 threshold has been reached, we should recognise the pattern of pension contributions over that time as well, and use it as a benchmark to compare future pension contributions. We could say, “This is the pattern in the past, anything in excess of that is subject to the regime, and if it is equal to or less than that, it is reasonable”. Alternatively, for those who have not made quarterly or more frequent contributions, the special annual allowance of £20,000 could be higher, but that would add complexity and leave more scope for forestalling than the Minister would be willing to concede.

There are ways to deal with the matter. If I had felt that the Minister had closed his mind to the issue, I would have been tempted to push one of the amendments to a Division. However, the Minister has said he is open to it, although given the limited time between now and Report, his mind must remain open and work quite quickly to get to a satisfactory conclusion by Report. We shall certainly return to this on Report, bearing in mind the points the Minister made, and perhaps come up with more of a table d’hôte of amendments at that stage, rather than the buffet that is before us today. I beg leave to withdraw amendment 228.