Clause 13 - Enterprise management incentives: time limits

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 16 January 2024.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

We are proceeding at pace. Clause 13 amends the enterprise management incentives, or EMI, provisions to improve the process for granting EMI options by extending the time that participating companies have to notify HMRC of a grant. EMI helps small and medium enterprises to compete with larger firms to attract and retain key talent by bolstering the attractiveness of the share-based remuneration that they can offer to their employees. In the 2021 Budget, the Government launched a call for evidence on the performance of EMI and whether it should be expanded. In the 2022 spring statement, the Government concluded that EMI remains effective and is appropriately targeted. However, the Government listened to those who said that the administrative requirements of the EMI scheme could be improved, particularly the process of granting options. The change we are making will help to address those concerns by making it even easier for companies to use EMI, as requested by industry.

Clause 13 will extend the time limit for a company to notify HMRC of a grant of EMI options from 92 days following the date of grant to 6 July following the end of the tax year in which the grant was made. The change will apply to options granted on or after 6 April 2024. Tens of thousands of individuals are granted EMI options annually, so this measure ensures that companies are given a longer time in which to submit an EMI notification of a grant of options. Individuals will not need to do anything differently. The change is likely to result in fewer late notifications and less possibility of options being disqualified. That will improve how the scheme works for individuals who receive EMI options.

Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Treasury) 10:15, 16 January 2024

As we have heard, clause 13 extends the time limit within which employer companies have to notify HMRC that they have been granted EMI options from 92 days after the grant was made to 6 July following the end of the tax year in which they were granted. This change is designed to simplify the process, and so increase small businesses’ ability to benefit from recruiting and retaining staff. It is one of a number of measures that were called for in submissions to a 2021 consultation on the EMI scheme, which cited the overly complex process for notifying HMRC and the need to extend the notification period. We will not oppose the clause.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I thank the hon. Lady again for her contribution and support. There are many relatively small and highly technical changes that we are making through the Bill, and this is one of them. On paper, it can look somewhat technical and confusing, but it is really meaningful, and I appreciate the fact that the hon. Lady and Opposition Members acknowledge that. The clause supports small and medium-sized businesses in recruiting and retaining key talent by simplifying the process to grant EMI options. For the reasons we have outlined, I urge that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.