The new minister for tax has praised the CIOT as a ‘huge reservoir of creativity, talent, knowledge and experience’.
Rt.Hon. Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury (FST) and Paymaster General, was speaking at the annual CIOT parliamentary reception on the House of Commons Terrace last week (July 5 2017).
The minister said that ‘good tax policy really makes a difference’ to what things the Government is trying to achieve and to efficiently raise the funds that goes to fund vital public services and ‘still encourage entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation growth, jobs – all things that underpin a successful economy from so much else grows’. He informed attendees that the former FST Jane Ellison has joined the Treasury as a special adviser.
He added: “I am aware with 18,000 members that you [CIOT] have a huge reservoir of creativity, talent, knowledge and experience and I believe we will serve government and people well if we extensively draw up on that.”
The CIOT has already met with Stride since the General Election result to discuss digitised tax and the importance of a single fiscal event.
Stride said the annual CIOT Parliamentary event is ‘high up’ on the Treasury’s annual calendar, suggesting jocularly that it might be seen as the ‘tax fraternity’s Glastonbury’.
Turning to more political matters, the FST also used his remarks to seek to counter what he said was a perception among some of the public that the Conservatives’ economic policies are ‘cruel’ on low income groups and young people:
“If we are honest with ourselves… we probably [have] not further[ed] the arguments of sound management of the economy, of not letting spending get out of control, keeping on top of taxes as means to ensure we have a sound solid future as a country and perhaps we have allowed the counter argument to prevail, that somehow if you are not prepared to let expenditure rip, not prepared to get more of this or more of the other without really thinking who will pay for it at the end of the day, that is somehow being harsh or somehow being cruel or uncaring.
“I think just the opposite; that if you are not responsible with the finances of this country you end up where debt piles up and on the road to economic ruin. If that is where we end up who get hurt the most? The answer is the most vulnerable, those least nimble or well-resourced enough to take care of the problems that come their way. The other group that get hit are the young and those not yet born because they are the people who have to pay for our problems.
“My pledge as new FST is that I will bang the drum for you and banging the drum for sensible taxation and good tax policy but also making sure we continue to live within our means to deliver the successful economy.”
CIOT President John Preston said the purpose of the event was for the Institute and tax profession to build and deepen relationships with parliamentarians. He said that as a charity, the CIOT is obliged to raise difficult subjects for debate that relate to reform of the tax system which it is ‘frankly almost impossible’ for parliamentarians to raise themselves. An example he used was reforming VAT, which he said parliamentarians may be ‘eviscerated’ for raising.
Among the MPs who attended the event were Peter Dowd, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Nigel Mills and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who were both on the Public Accounts Committee in the last Parliament. Other guests included senior tax professionals, Treasury and HMRC officials, representatives from business groups and thinktanks, and journalists.
The parliamentary sponsor of the event was Conservative MP and CTA Craig Mackinlay.