Clause 24 - Companies carrying on businesses of leasing plant or machinery

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:15 pm ar 12 Mehefin 2012.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Education) 5:15, 12 Mehefin 2012

I wish to comment on clause 24 in its entirety and on all the amendments. Earlier, my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw pre-empted the Minister’s introduction of this first set of Government amendments and eloquently stated his frustration at the Government’s having to table such amendments at this stage. I accept that the amendments fall within the remit of clarification rather than of U-turn, which I am sure is a relief for the shipping industry and members of the public.

There has been no formal consultation process on the Bill, which explains why the amendments are necessary. The Government have justified having no consultation  on the need to take quick action to implement a revenue-protection measure, which is a laudable aim. However, following the discussions with the shipping industry that the Minister has outlined, the amendments were tabled to obviate significant unintended consequences for companies, including the possibility of a potential double charge in certain circumstances. Will the Minister say whether the HMRC is now satisfied that, despite the lack of consultation on the clause and aside from discussions with the shipping industry about the amendments, the changes will not unfairly impact on relevant stakeholders? Does not the fact that the shipping industry felt moved to seek amendments to the clause show that some form of formal consultation prior to implementation was needed?

Given that there has been no consultation, has HMRC at least investigated how many businesses are involved in this type of tax avoidance? Has it investigated how many businesses have moved from the corporation tax method to the tonnage tax method as a result? Lastly, the impact note sets out the projected figures for the clause’s Exchequer impact up to 2017, but no calculation has been provided for how much revenue the scheme could bring in. Will the Minister share that information with the Committee today?