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Tax System: Fairness

Volume 727: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2023

4. What recent steps he has taken to ensure fairness in the application of the tax system. (903517)

There we go; what is going on with the Order Paper today?

It is right that everyone contributes to sustainable public finances in a fair way. The autumn statement tax reforms mean those with the broadest shoulders contribute the most by ensuring that energy companies pay their fair share, and by making the personal tax system fairer through changes to the income tax additional rate threshold and reforms to dividends and capital gains tax allowances.

Researchers from the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick have found that ending the UK’s antiquated non-dom rules could gain as much as £3 billion a year for the Exchequer. At a time when the Conservative party wishes to put up taxes on working people, will the Minister at least commit to publishing the Government’s own estimate of the cost of the non-dom policy, so that small businesses and big businesses can be on an even playing field?

If I may correct the hon. Member, in fact, individuals on, for example, an average salary of £28,000 will pay £900 less income tax and national insurance in 2027-28 compared with the personal allowance and personal thresholds rising in line with inflation since 2010-11. These are concrete measures we have taken to ensure that the spread of tax burdens is borne by those with the broadest shoulders. On her point about non-doms, of course we keep all tax policies under review, but I again emphasise that our economy needs to be open to people around the world who come to the UK to do business. What is more, they pay UK taxes on their UK incomes, which last year was worth £7.9 billion.

While UK households face the heaviest tax burden since the 1940s, the Tories refuse to scrap non-dom status or end tax breaks for private equity bosses and private schools. Labour would do that and use the money for more doctors, teachers and nurses. Does the Minister agree that, far from being the party of low taxes, the Conservatives are the party of unfair taxes?

Again, I refer the hon. Lady to the autumn statement, in which we attempted to ensure that those with the highest wealth pay their fair share in taxes, including by increasing corporation tax for the most profitable 30% of companies. We have ensured that the small profits rate protects smaller businesses and those that are not the most profitable, so only about 10% will pay the full main rate; that remains the lowest in the G7.

I welcomed the new measures announced in the autumn statement to tackle tax avoidance. Will the Minister update the House on how those new measures are being implemented?

Very much so. The hon. Member knows, I hope, that I used to prosecute tax fraudsters for a living, so this is a cause close to my heart. In the autumn statement, we announced even more investment in compliance teams to ensure that we are investigating, prosecuting or finding other remedies for those attempting to defraud the taxpayer, because these are crimes committed against the whole of society.

Constituents of mine face having their land and livelihoods taken from them by compulsory purchase order to build a reservoir. Compulsory purchase orders may sometimes be necessary, but does my hon. Friend agree that it is not morally right for the state to take the land and then tax as a capital gain the money given in compensation, leaving the landowner with the invidious choice of paying a hefty tax bill, or trying to find a way of rolling over that land money into an overinflated market?

My hon. Friend has raised this with me before orals today and, if she writes to me, I will be happy to look into it further for her.

In October 2021, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Rishi Sunak), as Chancellor, welcomed the OECD global agreement on a global minimum corporation tax rate. The then Chancellor’s press release made it clear that

“The aim is for these historic rules to be implemented and effective from 2023.”

Yet now we hear rumours that some senior Conservatives are agitating against the deal being implemented, and we have all seen the Prime Minister’s weakness when facing resistance from his own party. Can the Minister confirm that pillar two of the OECD deal will be in place, as promised, by the end of this year?