Media and politics

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, an independent body set up to advise government on how to promote and increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods, published its final report recently with 45 policy recommendations.

This page contains a liveblog written during the February 10th House of Lords Finance Bill Sub-Committee evidence session on Draft Finance Bill 2019, focusing on proposed reforms to the rules on off-payroll working.

Conservative MP Mike Wood secured a Westminster Hall debate on taxation on beer and pubs that was held this week (5), enabling MPs to raise concerns over levels of beer duty (too high), small brewers relief (review needed) and the impact of business rates (pub-specific relief welcomed).

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge secured and opened a debate in the Commons about Netflix, having spent the last decade campaigning for more corporate transparency. She is currently angry with Netflix because she says it deliberately ‘dodges’ its corporation tax bills while receiving money from the public coffers through the high-end television tax relief. In the last two years it has received nearly £1 million from the Government in tax credits and, according to its USA accounts, it is ready to enjoy £218 million in tax credits worldwide. The UK makes up 14 per cent of Netflix’s non-US market.

The Scottish Government will publish its draft Budget next week, setting out how it plans to use its devolved tax powers in the coming financial year.

MPs finally concluded debate on the Queen’s Speech on Monday (January 20), more than a month after the Speech was delivered and the Government’s legislative programme for the coming session published.

In the Commons this week, Stuart C. McDonald, SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, obtained an adjournment debate to highlight what he calls HMRC’s ‘disastrous’ proposals to close Cumbernauld tax office.

Peers debated the Queen’s Speech this week (Jan 9), with an emphasis on the economic announcements within it. However, most of the long debate was about the NHS and adult social care. Below is a summary of the key points in the debate, picking out tax-related mentions in particular.

MPs debated the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill in a Committee of the whole House and at third reading this week. The Bill sets out arrangements for the UK to withdraw from the EU.

By Alexander Garden, chair of the CIOT's Scottish Technical Committee

This article was originally published in the Thunderer column of the Times (Scottish edition) and can be viewed here.

Since its publication, both the Conservatives and Labour have said that, if elected, they will publish a UK Budget in February 2020.

One unintended casualty of Britain’s Brexit impasse has been Scotland’s budget process. In recent years a November budget at Westminster would be followed by Holyrood’s in December. Then there would be two to three months of parliamentary scrutiny before it became law for the start of the new tax year in April.