Blog archive - 2017

A liveblog on the first sitting of Finance Bill Public Bill Committee. Clauses 1-9 were approved, covering topics including the new income tax exemption for pensions advice, changes to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance, a reduction in the nil rate for dividend income and a legislative fix to the disproportionate tax charges that can arise from partial surrenders of life insurance policies.

The SNP conference in Glasgow was once again light on tax policy announcements, but all signs appear to point towards greater divergence from the rest of the UK.

MPs were queuing up to call for a pause to the roll-out of universal credit, in a series of oral questions for David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who remained unconvinced of the need. Applicants can now ask for an advance payment of universal credit to help them get by while they wait for their first payment. This is called a ‘short term advance’. Without a short-term advance it will take at least five or six weeks after someone applies for universal credit to get their first payment.

The growth in self-employment and the rise of the ‘gig economy’ was one of the hot topics on the fringe at this year’s Conservative Party conference. Employment Minister Damian Hinds was among those exploring the issue at a joint CIOT/IFS event.

MPs began committee stage debate of the second Finance Bill of 2017 with a day of debate on the floor of the House of Commons covering three areas picked out by the opposition. Specifically: termination payments (clause 5), business investment relief (clause 15) and Northern Ireland corporation tax (clause 25).

At the time of writing this blog, several members of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) are feverishly working on the final report on the UK VAT system. The report, which is expected to be laid in Parliament before the Budget in November 2017, is the culmination of a review which has been taking place over the last twelve months. It is intended that the Chancellor will subsequently make a formal response to the proposals made by the OTS.

At a conference where the Government’s tax policies for the Parliament were virtually invisible economic debate focused on the general case for low taxes and free markets – contrasted with Labour’s agenda – and, of course, Brexit.

A big talking point at the Labour conference this year was the growth in people working for themselves or in insecure employment, and what this means for the tax take and workers’ rights

In the 15 months since the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, it seems that not a day goes by without articles, webexes or seminars discussing the implications of our forthcoming departure, or the sight or sound of politicians and civil servants of some shape or variety drawing often contradictory red lines.

There were few new policy announcements at the Labour party conference, instead the emphasis was on reiterating the positions they took in their manifesto for the General Election 2017.