New Clause 2 - Effect on GDP of international matters in Act, and of whole Act

Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 11 January 2022.

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“(1) The Government must publish an assessment of the impact on GDP of—

(a) the provisions in sections 24 to 28 of this Act, and

(b) this Act as a whole.

(2) The assessment must also compare these impacts to the impacts had the UK—

(a) remained in the European Union, and

(b) left the European Union without a Future Trade and Investment Partnership.”—

This new clause would require a Government assessment of the effect on GDP of the international provisions of the Act, and of the Act as a whole, in different scenarios.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Deputy Spokesperson (Treasury - Financial Secretary), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

In Committee of the whole House, I referred to a new clause as the Jim Bowen from “Bullseye” clause. I am sure that we all remember that programme with great affection and especially recall what he said at the end if someone had not got 101 with six darts—“Let’s have a look at what you could have won.” This is the “let’s have a look at what we could have won had we remained in closer alignment with the European Union” clause.

It is fair to say that there have been significant trade losses to date since Brexit. It is important not only that the Government should have a solid evidential basis of what those losses are and make conclusions about how they came about, but that others should have that information too. That is the basis of this new clause.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The new clause would require the Government to publish a review of the impact of the international tax policy changes in the Bill, and of the overall tax changes in the Bill, on GDP. It also asks us to compare the impacts on GDP under two scenarios—one where the UK remained in the EU, and one where the UK left the EU without a future trade and investment partnership.

The hon. Member for Gordon will know that the Office for Budget Responsibility provides economic and fiscal forecasts and is required to provide an assessment of the impact of Government policy. The OBR published the impact on GDP at the autumn Budget 2021, ahead of its inclusion in the October 2021 economic and fiscal outlook, and the OBR will continue to monitor the impact of these measures in future forecasts. Since the independent OBR provides precisely such a forecast, it would be wholly unnecessary and unhelpful to public debate to induce the Government to produce a rival one.

In accordance with the law governing the OBR’s independence and impartiality, it may produce forecasts only on the basis of published Government policy. It does not publish forecasts based on alternative policies, and I do not think that would be a useful exercise. Given that the OBR has already published an analysis of the impacts of the provisions in the Bill, I urge the Committee to reject new clause 2.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.