Labour bemoans new tax office “quango”

The creation of the Office of Tax Simplification has been greeted with deep
suspicion by Labour MPs.

During Commons exchanges at the time of the announcement, shadow chief
secretary Liam Byrne said the announcement by Exchequer secretary David Gauke ”
sounds rather more like an attempt to grab headlines than real evidence of a
push to improve legislation”.

Nottingham East’s Chris Leslie demanded an assurance “that the OTS will not
simply dance to the tune of the wealthiest in society and their accountants”.

Eltham’s Clive Efford wanted to know if simplification would collect more, or
less, revenue.

Wolverhampton North East’s Emma Reynolds bemoaned setting up more quangos —
the work should be done in the Treasury, directly accountable to Parliament.

Stretford and Urmston’s Kate Green wanted to know if simplification
conflicted with fairness, which would prevail.

Brent North’s Barry Gardiner suspected the Treasury would use the office to
scrap complexity introduced to encourage the development of more intellectual
property development in the UK.

And Leeds East’s George Mudie demanded the office of chairman handed to
former Tory Minister Michael Jack (without pay) be subject to a Treasury
Committee veto to ensure the OTS really is “independent”.

Among others, Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan wanted OTS to tackle “the quicksand
of complexity that is IR35”.

And Scottish National Party treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie (Dundee East)
demanded the OTS work “rather more swiftly” than the Tax Law Rewrite project
which only managed eight limited bills in 10 years while Britain developed what
some claimed is the longest tax code in the world.

Tory MPs lined up to welcome the development, with Treasury Committee
chairman Andrew Tyrie “warmly welcoming anything that simplified the tax system

Claire Perry (Conservative MP for Devises) said Labour should learn that
action did not need “an overpaid quango”.

Further reading:

of Tax Simplification’s initial findings due this autumn

calls in John Whiting to simplify tax

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