Media and politics

John Cullinane, CIOT Tax Policy Director, gave evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee of the Scottish Parliament last week as part of its enquiry into a Scottish approach to taxation.

The Criminal Finances Bill includes new corporate offences of domestic and foreign failure to prevent tax evasion, as well as legislation on money laundering and related issues. Following the passage of a large number of government amendments to the Bill at Lords committee stage (see report here) a further 38 amendments were passed at Lords report stage on Tuesday. These were endorsed by MPs the following day.


The first Finance Bill of 2017, much reduced, cleared its Commons stages in a little over two and a half hours this afternoon. 

The selection of amendments for today's Finance Bill committee stage debate shows that the Government plan to remove a majority of the Finance Bill - 72/135 clauses and 18/29 schedules. - following discussions with the Opposition.
[NB. This blog has been corrected 26/4/17 to reflect that the original schedule 17 has been dropped from the Bill]

The second reading was a chance for a debate on the principles in, and broad content of, the Finance Bill, but it was a thin exchange on this occasion because of uncertainty about how it will progress and which clauses will be ditched because of the announcement of a general election on June 8. Much of the debate was about the sugar tax.

The SNP put forward an amendment to scupper the Bill, which was voted down by 54- 314. The SNP complained that the Bill failed to provide the necessary stimulus to compensate for the economic impact of Brexit, it failed to address the inequity of VAT being charged on the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and failed to provide concrete measures to support the oil and gas industry, among other failings.

The Bill will now go to its committee stage, which will take place on the floor of the House of Commons in a single day on April 25th (tomorrow).

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a snap general election will be held on 8 June 2017, subject to winning a vote in Parliament today (April 19), which is expected to be a formality. Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, two-thirds of MPs (434 of them) must back her motion.

The House of Lords has spent two days debating the committee stage of the Criminal Finances Bill.

During a short debate on tax havens, Lord Sharkey (Liberal Democrat) was told by Lord Young of Cookham, a government whip, that the Government does not have an estimate of the loss to the Exchequer of profit shifting by UK-based companies. 

The Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into self-employment and the ‘gig economy’ continued with a session with Matthew Taylor. Taylor is Chief Executive of the of the RSA and leader of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s independent review on modern employment practices.

Some observations on Google UK's financial statement, published today