11 April 2019
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown calls for flexibility to help those affected by the 2019 loan charge

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown speaks in support of a constituent affected by the 2019 Loan Charge and calls for flexibility from HMRC as such a large number of people are affected.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con)

I rise to support my constituent, Kieran Smyth, who bought schemes extending back to 2014. He believed that the schemes that he was sold were approved by HMRC and a QC.

As many Members of this House have said, the problem is that HMRC has been very slow to react to this whole matter. As far back as 2004, Dawn Primarolo, when she was Paymaster General, said that the Government would legislate to stop these schemes. The Government legislated again in 2011, but it was not until the Finance Act in 2017 that the loophole was closed.

Let me say in the very short time that I have left that the excellent Library briefing that we have been given says that the Government estimate that 50,000 individuals will be affected by the charge on these disguised remuneration loans, of whom only 24,000 so far have contacted HMRC. It is my understanding that if they have not contacted HMRC and agreed a repayment scheme by 5 April this year, they will be liable to a full range of payments and penalties.

In closing, I simply say to my right hon. Friend the Minister that if this debate is to have meant anything, can there please be a little flexibility in how those payments and charges are investigated, so that at least everyone paying them can be fully satisfied that they are properly due?