I’ve been working hard on the Finance Bill for several weeks, the huge piece of legislation that brings fiscal announcements onto the statute book. It was published just one week after the Budget so we had to table amendments without seeing the Bill in full first.
The Tories have also passed a restrictive amendment, generally only used after elections, which means we can only press for reviews and impact assessments at Committee stage. Nonetheless, we have taken this opportunity while the Bill is in Committee, which lasts five days, to push the Government on key issues, meaning we will have tabled around 100 amendments by the end of committee stage. I’ve taken them to task on preventing capital allowances from being abused by multinationals for tax avoidance, as well as making sure they can actually be used by small businesses in practice. I have also pressed them on what our VAT rules will look like once we have left the EU – if we now have the option to zero rate things like sanitary products, as many groups have campaigned for, we should be moving that forward.
It was also great to host the Start Up Loans event in Parliament. A strong economy needs entrepreneurs. Start up loans are a Government-backed way to borrow up to £25k with less risk and more support. Alongside companies like Funding Circle these loans will make a huge difference to whether local people can take the first step towards starting a new venture.
I was also the headline speaker at the City UK conference in Birmingham. It’s so important to acknowledge the role of the financial services sector outside of London.