• Finance Bill

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    15 September 2017

    Last week saw my first outing as the Financial Secretary to the Treasury at the despatch box in the Commons in a formal debate. This was to open and close the debate on the Finance Bill Resolutions – resolutions need to be agreed to permit the raising of taxes or charges within the bill. The Finance Bill is substantially about tax changes and so there were a large number of resolutions to cover. There were three divisions (or votes) on them. The next stage of the bill will be its Second Reading which is a general debate on all aspects of the bill and is often followed by a vote. Once the bill is through Second Reading it will be scrutinised in committee (both on the floor of the House where all MPs are members of the committee) and ‘upstairs’ in a committee room where it is considered clause by clause. Once through committee where it will most probably be amended, it will come back to the House for Report Stage where it may be further amended during a further debate on the floor of the House. Then it is into Third Reading where the bill (as amended at committee and at Report) is debated by the whole house in its entirety. There is then typically a further vote to agree allow the bill to pass its Third Reading. It is then off to the Lords where, as a Money Bill (ie one that is exclusively about raising taxes and charges) it is by convention given just a Second Reading with no vote. The bill itself makes some very important changes to tax law. I have been very keen to do all that we can as a government to ensure that we clamp down on tax avoidance. We have a good record on this with the Tax Gap (the proportion of tax that we do not manage to collect) standing at 6.5% of all taxes due which is one of the lowest figures in the world and lower than under any year of the last Labour government. The bill raises another £7 billion through ensuring that large corporates pay their fair share and specifically that our largest companies use of carried forward losses and excessive interest charges are not used for tax avoidance. Another key measure is the ending of permanent Non Dom status. Non Doms are those who, whilst they live much of the time in the UK operate outside of the UK’s full tax system with the ability to shelter income overseas. Our changes will promote greater fairness whilst raising an additional £1.6 billion in tax from Non Doms. This in addition to the £9 billion annually that they already pay in tax at the moment. This is money that we need and the measures in the bill will ensue that we gain more tax whilst not loosing Non Doms to other tax jurisdiction with the potential of a huge drop in UK tax take.  Online coverage of Mel’s opening speech at