Office of Tax Simplification

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:00 pm ar 7 Gorffennaf 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 4:00, 7 Gorffennaf 2016

I am grateful for the hon. Lady’s remarks in support of the OTS. I addressed many of her points in my earlier remarks, but let me briefly come back to the point about independence. The role of the OTS is fundamentally different from that of the OBR. The OBR is a scrutinising body. Rather than the OTS having an Executive function, its role is to provide advice to the Chancellor on simplification of the tax system. Ministers then make the final decisions on tax policy and are held accountable for those decisions.

The hon. Lady expressed concern that the OTS’s independence is at risk because the Chancellor could withhold funding because the Treasury do not like what the OTS is doing. I do not think that is a real risk. It is worth making the point that the OTS budget has been expanded, providing it with the funding that it needs. It is also worth highlighting the OTS’s expanded role in providing advice on the simplification of the tax system as it considers appropriate, as opposed to where it has been given a specific remit.

I touched on many of those points in my earlier remarks, but I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate them. I am pleased that there is cross-party support for the existence and role of the OTS and welcome that this afternoon.