MPs must be allowed to debate review into 'unjust and retrospective' loan charge, says former Brexit Secretary

David Davis MP has been an outspoken critic of the loan charge. Picture: PA
David Davis MP has been an outspoken critic of the loan charge. Picture: PA
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THE former Brexit Secretary David Davis is demanding that the Government immediately publishes an independent review into an “unjust and retrospective” policy which critics say poses a threat to the mental health of thousands of people.

Parliamentary pressure is mounting on the Chancellor Sajid Javid to publish the findings of Sir Amyas Morse’s review of the loan charge.

Mr Davis, the MP for Howden and Haltemprice, said in a letter to the Chancellor that he was pleased to hear that Mr Javid had received Sir Amyas’ independent review of the loan charge.

Mr Davis said: “This is an unjust and retrospective tax that is affecting 50,000 people across the country - some of whom are my constituents. It is not only causing financial hardship to many people and families but also severe mental health issues.

“At least four suicides have now been linked to the loan charge. Those affected have pinned their hopes on Sir Amyas’ independent review. They have been waiting three months to read its findings and recommendations..

“I therefore urge you to publish the report immediately, so that those affected, as well as MPs can give it due consideration. Parliament has then to be given the opportunity to fully debate this unjust and misguided policy.”

At least two other MPs have written to the Chancellor to demand that the review be published immediately.

Ruth Cadbury, the Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth, said on Twitter: “I’ve written to the Chancellor Sajid Javid to urge him to publish Sir Amyas Morse’s review into the loan charge and to suspend the current deadline on the 31st January.

“I know how much distress and anxiety the loan charge is still causing- including for many of my constituents.”

Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham, said: “Throughout my election campaign, I was contacted by many Twickenham residents affected by the LoanCharge - an issue that has had a huge impact on people’s mental health.

“Today I wrote to the Chancellor urging him to publish Sir Amyas Morse’s report and extend the deadline.”

In her letter, Ms Wilson said: “The impact of the loan charge will be substantial for many of the affected individuals and coming to a settlement with HMRC would be life-changing.

“The people affected most by the loan charge are not the employers, accountants or financial advisers who encouraged the schemes, but the contractors and freelancers who do not have regular protections and benefits such as holiday and sick pay or pension contributions and are more financially vulnerable.”

The loan charge was introduced in response to the Treasury’s concerns about “disguised remuneration schemes” which involved individuals being paid through loans, usually via an offshore trust in a low or no tax jurisdiction, which they did not have to repay.

Workers from a wide range of professions have been hit with large tax bills, which in some cases date back to 1999.

According to the Treasury, the loan charge means people paying themselves through loans will have to contribute their "fair share" to pay for our public services.

Mel Stride, the former Financial Secretary to the Treasury, always maintained that the loan charge was not retrospective.

A spokesperson has confirmed that the Treasury had received Sir Amyas Morse’s report into the loan charge.

The spokesman added: “We are considering his report as a matter of urgency, and will update on next steps in due course.”

An HMRC spokesperson said recently: “HMRC is committed to treating all those we serve with respect and consideration.

“We have committed to giving people as long as they need to pay the loan charge as we completely understand that facing a large tax bill can be difficult and stressful.”