Budget 

Hammond puts the blame on advisers

Hammond puts the blame on advisers

When coming under fire for 'retrospective' tax grabs chancellor Philip Hammond pointed the finger of blame at advisers who recommended loan schemes.

Yesterday (28 October), the BBC's Andrew Marr said the retrospective grabbing of tax from people who were engaged in what they were advised to be entirely legal schemes was upsetting and potentially bankrupting these individuals.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Hammond said: "People have to pay the tax that is due. I don’t know what specific schemes you are referring to but the schemes disguised as loans were always illegal tax avoidance.

"We have always been very clear about that. There has never been any doubt about it. People should have known that what they were doing was unlawful.

"Taking money out of the business and pretending it is a loan, paying no tax on it with no intention of ever repaying it is unfair. When somebody does something like that we all have to pay more for our essential public services.

"Advisers will have given people the wrong advice. I completely accept that. HM Revenue & Customs is always willing to sit down with taxpayers who want to correct their tax position and work out a plan of how to do it that is manageable over time."

On the eve of today's (29 October) Budget, Mr Marr also quizzed Mr Hammond on whether people were substantially worse off on universal credit.

Mr Hammond said: "I want universal credit to work. Where there are issues that need addressing we will address them.

"I believe in universal credit. It is a very important structural reform that avoids people being stuck in unemployment and a benefits system that leaves them worse off if they do the right thing and work.

"It is absolutely right that we pursue this structural reform, not just because it gives us a better benefits system but also because it is a key element in creating an economy that works for the future and gets people into work.

"There have been teething issues because we are moving the system from the legacy system of Labour onto the new system of universal credit."

Also speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday (28 October), John McDonnell, shadow Labour chancellor, said if he was chancellor he would be preparing for a no-deal Brexit but added he would – at the same time – still be negotiating so that a deal was reached.

Mr McDonnell said: "I think there is a whole callous complacency about what Philip Hammond is doing at the moment on universal credit and on Brexit.

"He should be standing up now and saying there will be a deal and he would be willing to work with us if needed to get it."

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