Clause 37 - Roll-over relief

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 14 June 2012.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Education) 9:45, 14 June 2012

I am sure the ears of my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw will be pricked when he hears that clause 37 preserves the availability of roll-over relief on entitlements under the European Union single payment scheme. Roll-over relief allows businesses to defer capital gains tax when proceeds from the disposal of chargeable assets are reinvested in new-qualifying chargeable assets. The Government have stated that the relief will help businesses to expand, develop and modernise by encouraging reinvestment in new assets.

The EU introduced the single payment scheme, which is its principal agricultural subsidy scheme. Payments under the SPS were once eligible for capital gains tax roll-over relief, but a new SPS directive has changed that. SPS payments, as defined in the original 2003 EU directive, no longer qualify for roll-over relief. The effect is that disposals and acquisitions of entitlements do not qualify for roll-over relief, so my understanding is that clause 37 amends the class of qualifying assets to include SPS entitlements and will allow for future changes to relevant classes of assets and roll-over relief to be made by secondary legislation.

The provisions of clause 37 will be retrospective and have effect on or after 1 January 2009, which is when the EU directive that excluded roll-over relief from SPS entitlements took effect. The impact assessment states that the measure is expected to have a negligible impact on Exchequer revenues. There are 7,000 transfers of entitlement to payments under SPS a year, however,  and the impact assessment states that the measure is not expected to have any impact on the numbers, the amounts or the costs of claims. One question has been raised: will the measure cause any issues with EU legislation, and will any approvals need to be sought? If so, has that been completed? Will the Minister confirm that there will be no additional costs or claims, as stated by the impact assessment?