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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
13 March 2018
Volume 637

Written Statements

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Treasury

Spring Statement

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Making a success of EU exit is a priority for the Government and the Treasury. At the Autumn Budget 2017, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed £3 billion over the next two financial years to helping Departments and the devolved Administrations to prepare. Working with colleagues across Government to prioritise the essential programmes to realise the opportunities from EU exit, the Treasury has allocated funding to Departments as follows in 2018-19:

Department

£ million

Cabinet Office

49.4

Competition and Markets Authority

23.6

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

185.1

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

26.2

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

310.0

Department for International Trade

74.0

Department for Transport

75.8

Department of Health and Social Care

21.1

Food Standards Agency

14.0

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

29.6

HM Revenue & Customs

260.0

HM Treasury

24.8

Home Office

395.0

Ministry of Defence

12.7

Ministry of Justice

17.3

Northern Ireland Office

0.4

Office for National Statistics

2.0

Scotland Office

0.3

The National Archives

1.2

Wales Office

0.3

This has generated the following Barnett consequentials for the devolved Administrations:

£ million

Northern Ireland Executive

15.2

Scottish Government

37.3

Welsh Government

21.4

The Government are committed to seeking a new future economic partnership with the European Union and this funding will help us to prepare for all eventualities. As the negotiations continue, we will need to reflect upon any progress and consider requirements accordingly. I will work with my colleagues across Government to ensure these allocations achieve value for money for the taxpayer. Final allocations will be made at the 2018-19 Supplementary Estimates in early 2019.

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Spring Statement: Consultations

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Today I set out the Government’s first spring statement, as part of the move to a single fiscal event. As described in the paper HM Treasury published in December, the new fiscal cycle provides opportunities for the Government to consult more openly at earlier stages of policymaking. This statement delivers on that commitment, it does not make tax or spending changes, but sets out some areas on which the Government will consult over the summer.

Tax and the digital economy

Today the Government will publish the following policy documents that set out our approach to adapting the tax system to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy:

Corporate tax and the digital economy—an update on the Government’s position paper on the challenges posed by the digital economy for the international corporate tax framework. This sets out the Government’s proposed approach to addressing those challenges to ensure the corporate tax system is fair across different types of businesses, while protecting the UK's start-up culture and position as a global tech leader.

Alternative methods of VAT collectionsplit paymenta consultation on a proposed split payment model to reduce online VAT fraud and improve how VAT is collected.

The role of online platforms in ensuring tax compliance by their usersa call for evidence to explore what more online platforms can do to help their users pay the right amount of tax.

Cash and digital payments in the new economya call for evidence looking at the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy. This will explore how the Government can further support digital payments, ensure the ability to pay by cash is available for those who need it, and crack down on the minority who use cash to evade tax and launder money.

Business rates: delivering more frequent revaluationsa summary of responses to a consultation on the implementation of more frequent revaluations of non-domestic properties for business rates purposes, and the announcement that the next revaluation will be brought forward by one year to 2021. This means three-year revaluations will take effect in 2024.

Growth & productivity

Today the Government will publish the following consultations on changes to help boost productivity and growth across the UK economy:

Self-funded traininga consultation on improving the way the tax system supports self-funded training by employees and the self-employed. This will explore extending the scope of tax relief currently available to employees and the self-employed for work-related training costs to support upskilling and retraining.

The VAT registration thresholdas set out at autumn Budget 2017, the Government are not minded to reduce the VAT threshold. This call for evidence will seek views on whether the design of the VAT threshold could better incentivise small business growth.

Allowing Entrepreneurs’ Relief on gains made before dilution—a technical consultation on changes to entrepreneurs’ relief to ensure that it does not discourage entrepreneurs from seeking external finance for their companies.

Knowledge intensive Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) funda consultation on the introduction of a new knowledge intensive EIS fund structure with additional incentives to attract investment.

VAT, Air Passenger Duty and tourism in Northern Irelanda call for evidence that will look at the impact of VAT and Air Passenger Duty on tourism in Northern Ireland.

In the coming months the Government will publish:

Improving business productivityBEIS will publish a call for evidence to understand how best we can help the UK’s least productive businesses to learn from, and catch-up with, the most productive.

Delivering a fair payment culture for small businessesBEIS will launch a call for evidence on how to eliminate unfair payment practices to small businesses.

Prompt payment by Government suppliersthe Cabinet Office will launch a consultation on making a supplier’s approach to payments to its own suppliers part of the selection process for larger government contracts.

Transferable Tax History (TTH) for oil and gasa consultation on draft legislation to introduce a transferable tax history for oil and gas companies, to encourage new investment in UK oil and gas fields.

Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) deduction for decommissioning costsa consultation on draft legislation to allow a petroleum revenue tax deduction for decommissioning costs incurred by a previous licence holder, to encourage investment in UK oil and gas fields.

Green growth

The tax system can be a lever to encourage people and businesses to make healthier, more environmentally responsible choices. The Government are committed to improving air quality in the UK’s towns and cities, and protecting the environment for future generations.

Today the Government will publish:

Single-use plastics wastea call for evidence seeking views on how the tax system or charges could reduce the amount of single-use plastics waste, to protect the environment. This will look at the whole supply chain for single-use plastics, including alternative materials, reusable options and recycling opportunities, to consider how the tax system and charges can help drive technological progress and behavioural change.

In the coming months the Government will publish:

Red diesel use in non-agricultural, non-road mobile machinerya call for evidence into whether the use of red diesel tax relief discourages the purchase of cleaner engines. The primary focus of this call for evidence will be on improving air quality outcomes, particularly in urban areas. Red diesel for agricultural use will be outside the scope of the call for evidence, as will home heating use and other static generators.

Reforming VED rates for vansa consultation on reducing VED rates for the cleanest vans through creating a graduated first year rate, as is already in place for cars, to encourage cleaner choices and improve environmental outcomes.

Tax avoidance, evasion & non-compliance

Today the Government will publish:

Extension of security deposit legislationa consultation on how to extend existing security deposit policy to include corporation tax and Construction Industry Scheme deductions for taxpayers deemed at high risk of not paying and with a history of non-compliance.

In the coming months the Government will publish:

Off-payroll workinga consultation on how to tackle non-compliance in the private sector, drawing on the experience of the public sector reform. The Government will work with businesses and individuals to mitigate the potential administrative burdens of any future changes.

Tackling Corporate Insolvency and phoenixism risksa discussion document exploring further means for tackling the small minority who deliberately abuse the insolvency regime in trying to avoid or evade their tax liabilities, including through the use of phoenixism.

Tackling construction sector supply chain frauda technical consultation on draft legislation for a VAT reverse charge. This will help to eliminate the threat of ‘missing trader’ fraud in construction industry supply chains, which is where the supplier retains the VAT that it collects on its sales. The reverse charge will achieve this by shifting responsibility to the customer for paying VAT to HMRC where the customer is a VAT-registered construction business.

Profit fragmentationa consultation on the best way to prevent UK traders or professionals from avoiding UK tax by arranging for UK trading income to be transferred to unrelated foreign entities.

Other/maintaining the tax system

Today the Government will publish:

Heated tobaccoa response to the consultation on the tax treatment of heated tobacco products.

In the coming months the Government will publish:

Gaming Duty: review of accounting periodsa consultation to seek views on bringing the administration of gaming duty more into line with the other gambling duties.

Short-term business visitorsa consultation on how to simplify the tax treatment of short-term business visitors from the foreign branch of a UK company, to ensure the UK is an attractive location to headquarter a business.

Capital Gains Tax payment windowa technical consultation on the design of the system requiring capital gains tax due on a disposal of residential property to be paid within 30 days of completion.

VAT and vouchersa response to a consultation on changes to the VAT treatment of vouchers. This change will amend VAT law to ensure that when customers pay with vouchers, businesses account for the same amount of VAT as when other means of payment are used.

Taxation of trustsa consultation on how to make the taxation of trusts simpler, fairer and more transparent.

Large business compliancea response to the consultation into HMRC’s process for risk- profiling large businesses, to improve HMRC’s Business Risk Review process, reflecting and further enhancing the shift in large business compliance behaviours.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign Affairs Council

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The Minister for Asia and the Pacific, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mark Field) attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 26 February. The Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

Current Affairs

Ministers called for urgent implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2401 of 24 February which demanded a cessation of hostilities in Syria to enable delivery of humanitarian assistance. They agreed that the High Representative would send a letter to the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran—the three guarantors of the Astana Process—to ask them to work on implementation of the resolution.

Moldova

Ministers discussed the Republic of Moldova and adopted conclusions. Ministers reiterated the EU’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations while underlining the need to continue adopting and implementing key reforms for the benefit of Moldovan citizens.

Venezuela

Ministers exchanged views on the political stalemate in the country following the suspension of the Santo Domingo talks between the Government and the opposition and the announcement of presidential elections scheduled for 22 April.

Ministers expressed their solidarity with Spain, following the decision by the Venezuelan authorities to declare the ambassador of Spain in Caracas persona non grata and agreed to continue closely monitoring the situation and to keep channels of communication open, both with the opposition and with the Government.

Middle east peace process

Ministers discussed recent developments in the middle east peace process in preparation for the lunch with representatives of the League of Arab States.

Informal lunch

Over lunch with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS) and members of the LAS ministerial delegation on Jerusalem, Ministers discussed options for reviving the middle east peace process in an inclusive manner, with the objective of achieving a two-state solution and Jerusalem as the future capital of both states. Ministers also discussed the importance of increasing collective, international support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

The Council adopted conclusions on Burma;

The Council adopted conclusions on Cambodia;

The Council adopted conclusions on the Maldives;

The Council adopted conclusions on climate diplomacy;

The Council adopted conclusions on EU priorities at United Nations human rights fora in 2018;

The Council adopted conclusions on human trafficking in south/south-east Asia;

The Council increased the restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea;

The Council added the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Information of the Government of Syria to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures;

The Council adopted legal texts imposing restrictive measures on one person for his activities in support of Daesh;

The Council adopted the common military list of the EU;

The Council adopted a decision on the continuation of EU funding for the activities of the European network of independent non-proliferation and disarmament think tanks;

The Council approved an extension for the implementation of EU strategy against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

The Council adopted a decision on continuing to provide assistance to the provisional technical secretariat of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty organisation;

The Council agreed the annotated agenda for the first meeting of the EU-Cuba Joint Council;

The Council decided not to oppose the adoption of five Commission food regulations (Health)

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