Media and politics

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee held an inquiry into proposals for new tax checks on licence renewal applications. Witnesses were from the Institute of Licensing, National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers, British Metals Recycling Association, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and Licensed Private Hire Car Association.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee held a hearing on Tuesday 20 October into employment taxes, as part of their Tax after Coronavirus inquiry. Witnesses were Bill Dodwell, Judith Freedman and representatives of the CBI and IPSE.

Live blog of proceedings of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee on Wednesday 21 October 2020, in which representatives of the CIOT's Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and other bodies were questioned about measures relating to tax avoidance schemes, tax checks and HMRC powers. 

The Treasury Committee is looking at the UK’s proposed customs policies and procedures once the transition period expires on 31 December 2020.

Normal politics were on hold at the online Conservative Party Conference, with shortened speeches and curtailed policy debate. The Chancellor committed himself to putting the “overwhelming might of the British state” at the service of struggling businesses and workers, but said that the books would need to be balanced eventually. On the fringe, and in media interviews and reports, there are clues as to which taxes are likely to rise. 

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee is looking at Draft Finance Bill 2020-21, focusing on three areas of the Bill, all related to the powers of HMRC:

  • New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes;
  • New tax checks on licence renewal applications; and
  • Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers.

The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (“The Protocol”) is legally effective from 1 January 2021 irrespective of whether a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is agreed or not. And with the deadline approaching fast, it is alarming that there are so many unanswered questions.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee held a hearing on Wednesday 7 October into the future of VAT, as part of their Tax after Coronavirus inquiry. They also questioned the Office of Budget Responsibility as part of the same inquiry.

Amid some signs of a recovery for the Labour Party in the polls, red wall voters still trust the Conservatives to make good on their manifesto promises. But as we emerge from the pandemic and into economic recovery, what does the future hold for UK tax policy. We’ll need to wait a little longer to find out, it seems.

For the first time in a decade the Liberal Democrats’ conference – held online this year – did not pass new tax policy, but new leader Ed Davey reaffirmed some existing commitments and the party backed a UBI. They are also looking into a carbon tax.