Review of geographical effects of provisions of Sections 27 to 30

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 18 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 12:45, 18 Mehefin 2020

I thank colleagues who have spoken. New clause 2 would require the Government to assess and report on the geographical effects of changes to business tax reliefs made by clauses 27 to 30 within 12 months. That relates specifically to the research and development expenditure credit, the structures and buildings allowance, and the treatment of intangible fixed assets.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs does not routinely require businesses to provide geographical information about where expenditure is incurred as part of their claims for RDEC, SBA or intangible fixed assets treatment. In order to do so, changes would need to be made to the CT600 form, which would create a burden for businesses. In addition, those claiming the reliefs would only provide information after the year-end. For that reason, it does not make sense. It is not possible for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to have that information within the 12 months stipulated in the amendment. HMRC does in fact already publish annual statistics on many tax reliefs, including a detailed breakdown of R&D tax relief claims, which analyses, by region and sector, the number of claims and the amount of relief received. However, the regional analysis is based on the company’s registered office, not necessarily where expenditure is incurred.

Although the next set of annual R&D tax relief statistics will be published by HMRC in the autumn, companies can claim R&D tax relief up to two years after the end of their accounting period. For that reason, the 2020 statistical release will include claims only until 2018-19, and will therefore not include claims for the increased 13% RDEC rate. The Government do, of course, remain committed to levelling up every region and nation of the UK to spread opportunity and to ensure that everyone benefits from growth. For example, the spring Budget provided a £1.14 billion increase to block grants for devolved Administrations to spend on their own priorities. That is in addition to the £2.7 billion that the Government are investing in city deals across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with £800 million of funding being provided to support four deals in Wales alone, and a further £1.4 billion being provided across 10 deals in Scotland.

As we look to our economic recovery from the impact of covid-19, that levelling-up agenda will be more important than ever. Given that the Government already publish detailed analyses and that regional information is collected and held as part of HMRC’s tax returns, asking business to record further information would represent a significant additional business burden. I ask the Committee to reject the new clause.