Shadow chancellor George Osborne has named the members of the Tories’ Tax
Sir Christopher Gent, chairman of drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline, is among big
business names to join the body charged with reforming the party’s tax policy.
Also in the 10-member commission is David Frost, of the British Chambers of
Commerce; Graeme Leach, of the Institute of Directors; Len Beighton, of the Low
Incomes Tax Reform Group; Jill Kirby, of the Centre for Policy Studies; Stephen
Machin, of KPMG LLP; and Peter Reith, of the European Bank for Reconstruction
Osborne has charged them with producing proposals for ‘simpler, flatter
and fairer’ taxation.
Labour warn that any move toward flat, or uniform, tax rates would mean a
vast reduction in spending on public services.
Sir Christopher is thought to favour the introduction of flat taxes, which
are being taken up by some eastern European economies.
The appointment of Lord Forsyth, a former right-wing Tory Cabinet minister
and Scottish Secretary, as a commissioner suggests the body could warm to the
The shadow chancellor insists flat taxes must be properly examined but says
his review will go much further than that: ‘under Gordon Brown, 200 years of tax
law has doubled in just eight years,’ he said.
‘That is why I believe we need this Tax Reform Commission. Reforming a mature
and complex tax system like ours will be no easy task. But as international
competition accelerates, we must strive for a better
tax regime, which boosts competitiveness for the country and opportunity for
‘If Britain is to compete in the next century, we need the will not just for
lower taxes but for simpler, fairer and flatter taxes too. Only then can we
bring long-term sustainable jobs and investment to this country.’
The new commission will report to the Tories next summer, allowing the party
to pick proposals that could form central planks of their manifesto at the
The commission is similar to the review of government spending that was
carried out by David James ahead of the last election.
The businessman’s recommendations were the basis for proposed efficiency
savings in the party’s manifesto in May.
While leader Michael Howard was bound by those findings, the tax reform
commission may be used to float more controversial ideas before adopting them.
HMRC has won its tenth successive case against tax avoidance schemes promoted by NT Advisors. The Court of Appeal has ruled that NT ... read more
HMRC is continuing to ramp up the number of raids on premises it carries out as part of criminal investigations, searching 761 properties in the last year
Five million taxpayers are ow using digital personal tax accounts (PTA) as part of the making tax digital strategy, HMRC said
Since the release of HMRC’s plans for digital tax reforms, many have agreed with the call for a delay