Commentary on Queen’s speech 2015

Following on from the Queen’s speech on 27th May 2015, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has stated the Queen showed a strong tone for tackling tax avoidance, tax evasion, economic stability and job creation.

Several individuals from ACCA’s offices have commented on the Queen’s speech 2015.

The ACCA’s Head of Tax, Chas Roy-Chowdhury stated “Tackling unacceptable tax avoidance and tax evasion forms a strong pillar of the Government’s economic plan.”

“We are particularly pleased to see the Government’s five year tax lock – this is an interesting move, with no increases in VAT, National Insurance and Income Tax during the lifetime of this Parliament. This is a policy aimed squarely at tax stability, but we also want to see this lock applied so that tax allowances and reliefs are not decreased, such as pensions tax relief.”

Andrew Leck, who is the Head of Western Europe at ACCA commented on the Jobs and Enterprise Bills, stating “We welcome the Government’s commitment to creating 3 million new apprenticeships, and its agenda to find a further £10 billion worth of cuts to red tape for business.”

“The details of both bills will be essential for ensuring business has the means to invest and grow and that businesses large and small are able run workable apprenticeship schemes. We also welcome the Government’s plans for SMEs, especially their creation of a Small Business Conciliation Service to help with disputes and late payment.”

Mr Leck also expressed views on policies for Scotland and Wales, stating: “This Queen’s Speech also deals with two areas which will no doubt define David Cameron’s legacy – Scotland and Europe. Both are set to receive a transfer of powers, in Scotland’s case given ‘devolution max’ is likely to result in a significant shift in power; Britain’s fiscal policy needs a commanding steer.”

He concluded by stating “Ultimately, with much at stake and a majority Conservative Government looking to make its mark, this Queen’s Speech sets not only the scene for what could be a bold budget on 8 July, but also the direction of UK fiscal policy into the next decade.”

Chas Roy Chowdhury concluded on the Queen’s speech 2015 “From a tax point of view, plans for powers to be handed to the Scottish Parliament by the end of the summer need to be clearly explained and an agreed timetable set in place. Scotland’s ability to set its own rates and bands of income tax, to spend half of the tax collected via VAT and to set levels of housing benefit are significant power shifts where clarity is needed about HMRC’s part in this.”

HMRC will require significant investment to ensure it can robustly manage such important work with the increasing plans to tackle unacceptable tax avoidance and tax evasion. HMRC is under pressure, and considering they play such a vital role in tax stability, we would like to hear more about plans for HMRC’s future, especially in a devolved environment.”

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