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Clause 32 - Group relief: meaning of “normal commercial loan”

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:45 pm on 12th June 2012.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 6:45 pm, 12th June 2012

This is quite a helpful clause. It is not meant to tackle evasion or some loophole. It is meant to encourage different forms of lending and to enable a situation where a lender can choose, rather than having their debt repaid in cash, to have it repaid through the issue of share capital. That is quite helpful, particularly given some of the challenges that businesses face in achieving funding. The current rules work against that in the sense that there is a risk that the issuing company may be de-grouped as a consequence of somebody else having a beneficial right to those profits. This is facilitating finance rather than working against the interests of businesses.

As the hon. Lady rightly suggested, the answer to her first question is no. With her second question she raised the capital treatment of this in the context of Basel II and then clearly Basel III and CRD4. With your agreement, Mr Bone, I will write to the hon. Lady on this. It is a technical, complex point, and I would want to come back on that. Her third question was whether this will help business. I think it will. I do not believe it will have an adverse impact on other groups. The tax impact note suggests that there is no adverse impact on small businesses. I think potentially it will help businesses. I think it will help to improve administrative processes, for example, for the issuer. It makes it easier to enter into this sort of loan agreement. It has no revenue implications and the tax impact note makes that point. I think it is a measure to be welcomed, which I think is the spirit in which she engaged in scrutiny of this clause.