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Loan Charge

Volume 658: debated on Tuesday 9 April 2019

The loan charge was announced at Budget 2016 and was subject to public consultation. We have received representations, including from campaigners and the wider public. Disguised remuneration schemes pay loans in place of ordinary remuneration, with the sole purpose of avoiding income tax and national insurance.

I fully support measures to close loopholes for disguised remuneration, but not when they affect my constituents retrospectively. If the loans were illegal at the time my constituents took them out, why is it now necessary to introduce the loan charge?

It is important that the House fully understands how disguised remuneration works. If, instead of paying an employee their earnings in the normal way, an employer pays them by way of a loan via an offshore trust in a low or no-tax jurisdiction—with no intention of ever repaying the loan and simply to avoid national insurance or income tax—that is wrong. As for the matter of retrospection, that model has never, ever complied with our tax code. The loans to which I refer are persisting today, not retrospectively. That is why it is right—and only fair on those taxpayers who pay the correct amounts at the right time, and on our vital public services, which rely on that money—that we collect it.