Last week, Moore Stephens hosted a lively election debate with a panel including the much quoted ‘voice of reason’ Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) and James Sproule, the Chief Economist and Policy Director of the Institute of Directors (IoD).
Paul has been outspokenly critical of the fundamental economics of the tax policies of both Labour and the Conservatives this week, and there was no let-up during the debate with Paul calling Labour’s 10% starting rate “pointless” and the sums quoted by all parties coming from a crack-down on tax avoidance as being “just made-up numbers”.
Paul and James were united in their criticism of the way the pension regime has been eroded over recent years. The panel, which included the distinguished Tax Lecturer John Cooper, also expressed concern at the stigma which all the parties now seemed intent on attaching to what in previous times would have been considered perfectly sensible tax planning, as well as the uncertainty which would arise from an EU referendum.
James Sproule made some heartfelt pleas on behalf of business, saying that the over-riding concern of the businesses he had spoken to was the proposed increase in personal tax rates.
Kevin Phillips, international tax partner at Moore Stephens went further and was quoted by a press article in the Guardian following the debate saying, “Labour was “playing with fire” by sending the message that Britain will no longer provide a welcoming environment for multinationals.''
Vince Wood, another Moore Stephens tax partner who chaired the event commented: “The message from James Sproule that the IoD will be very critical if non-dom status is abolished will be much appreciated by our non-dom clients, who make a valuable contribution to our economy. Although we recognise that the UK tax system should be fair, if the UK wants to play in the Premier League, it needs to make concessions to wealthy internationally mobile individuals if it wants them to choose and remain in the UK.”
Business tax team