Finance Bill

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Mr. Browne: It was.
Mr. Hoban: Having looked at “Halsbury’s Laws of England”, pedantry might come into play in future debates on this issue.
Finally, I go back to the issue of whether tax gains or losses will be attached to introducing the statutory residence test. As I understand it, the Treasury has said that the test in clause 22 will lead to an increase in revenue of about £50 million, with 17,000 being treated as residents and 7,000 people changing their behaviour to avoid being treated as residents. Will the Financial Secretary elaborate on the basis of those calculations? How does the Treasury determine the behavioural changes that the clause will bring about? How does it know that 17,000 people will be caught, when perhaps if they are well advised they will not be? In the debate on statutory residence—the Minister has indicated her interest in it—I would like to think that spurious calculations of losses and gains got in the way of producing a rule in the best interests of the economy as a whole.
We believe that there is a strong case for a statutory residence regime, but agree with the Financial Secretary, based on her earlier remarks, that more needs to be done to establish a set of clear, certain rules that will reduce the costs of compliance on both the taxpayer and HMRC. Taxpayers spend a lot of money on advice to determine whether they fall within the scope of the rules. If we can move away from that to a much more certain and clear system, it will strengthen Britain’s reputation as a place to do business. The best way to crystallise the Treasury’s thinking on the matter is to require it to lay a report before Parliament by 31 December 2008.
Mr. Browne: I seek your guidance, Sir Nicholas. I appreciate the premium that the Committee puts on brevity, but I would like more than a minute or so to talk about new clause 5. With your indulgence and that of the Government Whip, I was hoping that—
The Chairman: I accept that as a point of order. Having accepted it and understood what the hon. Gentleman is saying, I look to the hon. Member for Waveney to move the adjournment motion.
Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Blizzard.]
Adjourned accordingly at four minutes to seven o’clock till Thursday 19 June at Nine o’clock.
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