Finance Bill Report and Third Reading

On Tuesday 5 February 2024, the House of Commons debated the Finance Bill. The Bill enacts various tax measures announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement 2023. One measure included in the Bill is full expensing – a capital allowance tax scheme that lets UK companies deduct 100% of the cost of capital equipment from taxable profits in the year the investment was made – which the Bill makes permanent. I have consistently supported calls for permanent full expensing, as a means to support greater business investment and economic growth. However, I am concerned that repeated changes to capital allowances, without any clear long-term plan, have had a cost to our economy by undermining prospects for investment, innovation and growth. I therefore supported a new clause to the Bill that would have required the Chancellor to publish an assessment of the impact on investment and growth of the measures to make full expensing permanent, and to consider what other policies could support the effectiveness of permanent full expensing. Unfortunately, this new clause was voted down by Government MPs.

I also supported a new clause on air passenger duty. This is because, for domestic flights, the Bill freezes this duty for those flying by private jet, while raising it for people flying economy and business class. The new clause I supported would have required the Chancellor to publish a review of the multipliers used to calculate the higher rates of air passenger duty, and to propose options for closing the current loophole that has allowed private jet passengers to enjoy a tax freeze while everyone else is seeing a tax rise. Unfortunately, this amendment was also defeated. I did not oppose the Bill as it contains some measures that I support. However, I do not believe it provides the comprehensive and effective plan for growth that families and businesses across the country need.

Finance Bill Report Stage: New Clause 6, I voted Aye and the result was: Ayes: 185 and Noes: 285
Finance Bill Report Stage: New Clause 7, I voted Aye and the result was: Ayes: 182 and Noes: 289

That the Bill be now read the third time. I abstained at third reading. The House divided. Ayes: 283  Noes: 39