• New Challenges

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    23 June 2017

    The General Election result came as a surprise for most. In Central Devon I was delighted to be returned with a further increased share of the vote and a majority of 15,680 on a record turnout. But the result overall was a loss of the Government’s majority and so returning to Westminster was not on the basis I had hoped. I will, of course, always continue to fight tirelessly on the issues that matter to my constituents regardless of their political persuasion. Shortly after the election I met with the Prime Minister and she offered me a ministerial position as Financial Secretary to the Treasury along with the post of Paymaster General. At various times these roles have been held by Norman Lamont, Nigel Lawson, Stanley Baldwin and Austin Chamberlain – so not much to live up to! As Financial Secretary I have oversight of the tax system and tax policy along with a number of other economic aspects including customs duties. When the election was called the legislation to bring in the changes announced in the last budget, in the form of the Finance Bill, was brought to a halt. This means that very shortly there will be an emergency Finance Bill to go through the House. It will be my responsibility to lead on the bill and take it through its various stages – Second Reading (a general debate on the bill), Committee Stage (the line by line consideration of the bill), Report Stage (the consideration of the bill on the floor of the House with proposed amendments) and finally Third Reading (a final debate on the bill as amended at Report). I have been working hard with officials in the Treasury to place a firm focus in the bill on ensuring that we catch up with those large corporates who are avoiding paying their fair share of tax via tax avoidance schemes. I also want to clamp down on those that provide the advice to assist with these schemes. And this really matters because if I can pull in more tax from those who should be paying it then this money will be available to allow us to continue to provide record levels of spending on our NHS, to ensure that our schools are appropriately and fairly funded and our security services can continue to be given the resources that they need to keep us all safe. I am expecting that the measures that we will be putting forward will raise billions of pounds that would otherwise have ended up in the pockets of those who frankly don’t deserve to have it. With my new role I am also keen to make sure that we do whatever we can to support our local small businesses. These lie right at the heart of our communities and they need as much support as we can give them. I am relishing the weeks and months ahead – a real chance to make a difference for the many.