Campaigners Call on PM to Keep Commitment to Independent Review of Loan Charge
Loan Charge campaigners are calling on Boris Johnson to follow through on his commitment to launch an independent review of the Loan Charge. The Loan Charge is a cruel and life-threatening 20 year retrospective tax on people who have broken no laws but are now facing ruin.
The new Prime Minister made his commitment when responding to journalist questions at the Conservative Leadership hustings in Carlisle, 1st July 2019, stating: “I certainly think that we look at it (the Loan Charge) and we should review it”
Mr. Johnson proceeded to rightly highlight the failure of both the Treasury and HMRC to pursue the employers and advisors originally responsible for the employment arrangements.
“I think the real culprits in this matter, if I may say so, are perhaps not so much the individuals themselves who have decided to <pause> use the Loan Charge as a way of minimising their tax exposure,” said Mr. Johnson. “It’s the people who advised them that that was the sensible thing to do and in my view we should find a way to go after them because <pause> they have they have not covered themselves with glory to put it mildly…”
Further exonerating individual Loan Charge workers, Mr. Johnson continued:
“They (the individuals) were encouraged to do it and they were told it was an acceptable thing to do It seems superficially unjust to me that they should then be retrospectively pursued for what they were told was an entirely legal option…. It needs a proper independent review.”
Steve Packham, spokesperson for the Loan Charge Action Group (LCAG), is now calling on Mr. Johnson to keep his pre-election commitment: “The Loan Charge Action Group congratulates Boris Johnson on his victory and calls upon him to follow through with his commitment to launch an independent review of the draconian Loan Charge, which has already cost lives.
“His commitment, made at the Leadership hustings in Carlisle, has given thousands of families some hope that this dangerous and immoral policy may now be properly reviewed before more lives are ruined but this requires an immediate suspension of the Loan Charge, which we hope will be announced quickly by the new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“We note that many of Boris’ supporters are strong opponents of the draconian Loan Charge and we urge them to ensure that Boris does follow through with this and stops the Loan Charge. Lives are at stake as well as the reputation of the UK as a country that believes in the rule of law. Something that has been seriously damaged by the Loan Charge Scandal. The premise is simple” Steve Packham concludes, “He said he’d do this, now he needs to do it.”
An open letter to the Financial Secretary of the Treasury, Jesse Norman sent prior to the Conservative leadership election has been signed by 210 MP’s and Peers calling for an immediate suspension of the Loan Charge and settlement activity, along with an independent review. 80 of the MPs on this letter are Conservative MPs and 5 are DUP MPs indicating that there is a clear majority to suspend the Loan Charge and announce an independent review.
However, the LCAG remains concerned that any move to suspend the Loan Charge may come too late for some victims: “A summer of recess before parliament is suspended leading up to the August/September deadlines will cause untold stress more than likely, more suicides,” says Steve Packham. “There is a real urgency to this situation that Boris Johnson and Jesse Norman need to fully appreciate and act on now.” ENDS
Notes to Editor
Media Contact Mark Sebright – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07988 680746
- The Loan Charge Action Group (LCAG) is a volunteer run group of people facing the Loan Charge. LCAG seeks campaign to change the Loan Charge and also provided a community where individuals can find information and support. The Group does not provide any form of chargeable service or professional advice. See hmrcloancharge.info
- The Loan Charge Pledge, sent on 28th June to the two candidates for them to sign, reads:
If elected as Conservative leader, I commit that I will suspend the 2019 Loan Charge before the end of September and will order a proper review of it that is independent of HMRC and the Government. I will instruct the Chancellor to tell HMRC that all settlement activity be put on hold and that all settlement agreements, including agreed payment plans, be suspended until this review is completed and Parliament has considered its conclusions. I will instruct the Treasury to implement the conclusions of this review. I further commit to bring forward legislation to remove the retrospective element of the 2019 Loan Charge completely so that it applies from the date of Royal Assent of the Finance Act, 16th November 2017.
- The All Party Parliamentary Loan Charge Group (Loan Charge APPG) was formed in January 2019 and now has 152 members from across both Houses.
- The APPG Loan Charge Inquiry report published 2nd April 2019 exposes the dangerous reality of the Loan Charge, with its impact on people’s mental health. The MPs/Peers have called for a delay and review, given that there are lives at risk http://www.loanchargeappg.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Loan-Charge-Inquiry-Report-April-2019-FINAL.pdf.
The report calls for:
- An urgent 6-month delay and suspension of the Loan Charge and all associated settlements
- An independent Review into the Loan Charge led by an experienced tax judge
- There is an Open Letter to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General, Jesse Norman, which has been signed by 186 MP’s and Peers calling for an immediate suspension of the Loan Charge and settlements, and for an independent review.
The open letter and signatures are available to view here – http://www.loanchargeappg.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Open-letter-to-Jesse-Norman-MP-on-the-Loan-Charge-30-May-2019.pdf