Shadow Tory chancellor George Osborne has called in PriceWaterhouseCoopers to
advise on implementing key proposals to simplify company taxation.
He has also persuaded former chancellor Lord Howe, current chairman of the
Tax Law Rewrite Project to head a study into how to improve the way changes are
made to UK tax law.
He made the announcements after making it clear he has no intention of
adopting en masse the sweeping business and personal tax cuts proposed by the
‘independent’ tax commission set up by the Conservatives, and headed by
right-wing former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth.
He made it clear he will cherry-pick from the report as and when he thinks
the UK economy can afford it, putting ‘sound money’ and ‘economic stability’
Osborne earlier offered fulsome thanks to Stephen Machin and KPMG ‘for
hosting us today and for all the support they have provided to the Commission’.
He said he was ‘particularly impressed with the package of reforms proposed
to business taxation’ adding that ‘there is a strong case for a major
simplification of business taxes that would pay for a significant reduction in
our business tax rates’.
He said the complex issues involved in simplifying business taxes needed
further examination and that the film industry, whose ‘special reliefs’ would go
under the proposed reforms, should have the opportunity to make its case.
He said: ‘That is why I have asked PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the
country’s leading accountancy firms, to conduct a detailed technical study of
how we might put into practice the proposals on simpler business taxes.’
He added: ‘That PWC study will be ready next year and it will help me prepare
the ground for our first Budget.’
Osborne said he had sat on Commons Finance Bill Committees ‘and watched in
dismay as this Treasury produces hasty and ill-thought-out changes to our tax
code that then pass into law with little consultation and no scrutiny’.
Announcing the Howe review, he declared: ‘That has to change.’
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