Just a few hours of scrutiny for Finance Bill as Election announced

by Kevin Reed

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06 Apr 2010

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The Finance Bill is likely to receive just a few hours of scrutiny before parliament is dissolved for the general election.

With prime minister Gordon Brown announcing 6 May for the General Election, it is understood that the bill will be given a likely four hours tomorrow in Parliament to be signed off.

The last pre-election Finance Bill in 2005 received fours hours' scrutiny across 106 clauses, of which just 13 received any debate at all.

"We are worried that many of these clauses – including three new taxes – will be rushed into law with no meaningful debate. This is not a recipe for good tax law. I hope the Government will hold back a majority of their proposals for a post-election Finance Bill," said CIoT tax policy director John Whiting.

“There are many complex, technical measures in the bill. Many have been consulted on but even sensible ideas benefit from going through proper parliamentary scrutiny to make sure there are no loopholes or unintended consequences."

The CioT raised particular worries that plans to restrict pensions tax relief on higher earners were going forward in an "over-complex way".

"The proposals as framed will lead to substantial increases in costs for employers and the pensions industry generally.

The pensions restriction does not come into effect until April 2011 so there is no reason why it cannot be delayed until a post-election Finance Bill, where it can be properly scrutinised, and alternative proposals for achieving the government’ s objectives in this area considered," Whiting added.

Further reading:

VAT rise on the cards to pay for NI cuts

50p tax rate kicks off today

Tories to review IR35

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