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
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
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
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.
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