BusinessPeople In BusinessOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

Justine Greening has been making a name for herself of late

Gavin Hinks, Accountancy Age

Gavin Hinks

For those of you who may not have noticed, and there can’t be many of you out
there, Greening is the ICAEW-qualified Tory MP for Putney who finds herself
shadow Treasury economic secretary sniping away at government and HM Revenue
& Customs policy.

We’ve kept a close eye on Greening after we interviewed her in September
2006.

The thing is she may be starting to land some punches. In December she led an
assault on HMRC and the way they pile pressure on business in trouble. That was
clever using the current economic circumstances combined with ancient ill
feeling towards the taxman.

This week she focused on the taxes faced by small business, claiming that the
abolition of the zero percent starting rate for companies earning less than
£10,000 would result in more than £2bn going on their collective tax bill.

She could have claimed that small business was now funding UK plc, although
she held back from being quite so aggressive. But it is clearly a sensitive
issue and, from the point of view of picking a strategy to give Labour a
mugging, it must hold some sway with small businesses up and down the country.

And how many small businesses are there? The FSB alone has 213,000 members,
so that’s quite a lot of voters. Even more if you add in family members of
voting age who depend on the same businesses.

So Greening has picked some fertile ground and, with much quieter Ian Pearson
as her Labour opposite number, she seems to be making all the running.

When Michael Izza, the ICAEW’s chief executive, took over the reigns, he
revealed that his members’ greatest concern was the state of HMRC and tax. And,
as Greening is a member, its amazing how the two seem to be in tune.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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