party conferences

 


A packed fringe meeting at the Labour Conference in Brighton debated whether austerity is really over and how the party might pay for its planned spending increases. 

Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth backed radical changes to corporation tax, including restrictions to reliefs, a boost to capital allowances and extending the tax to cover highly profitable partnerships and other unincorporated businesses. For multinationals the party wants a wider definition of permanent establishment and, longer term, a global system of business taxation. In an autumn election a penny on income tax for health and social care, and restoring the 20% rate of corporation tax to increase funding of public services, would likely be key policies.

This was a fairly quiet conference on the tax front for the Conservatives, new announcements limited to a stamp duty increase for foreign buyers, edging a little closer to a Digital Services Tax, tweaks to the apprenticeship levy and another year of a fuel duty freeze. Various outriders would like to see more radical changes though – especially corporation tax cuts – and there are hints these might be considered depending on the outcome of the Brexit process.

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.

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.

 

Review of this autumn's Labour Conference in Liverpool, from a tax perspective

 

Review of this autumn's Conservative Conference in Birmingham, from a tax perspective