HC Deb 17 July 1980 vol 988 cc1833-4
Sir Graham Page

I beg to move amendment No. 69, in page 58, line 21, after 'individual', insert 'or a trustee or trustees'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may take amendment No. 70, in page 58, line 23, after 'individual', insert 'or a trustee or trustees'.

Sir Graham Page

The amendment deals with capital gains tax. Clause 78 provides a new roll-over relief for any disposal after 5 April 1980 by one individual to another individual. The individual must be resident in the United Kingdom. The roll-over applies if it is by way of gift or otherwise than under a bargain at arm's length". The word "individual" is causing some concern to those outside the House who are endeavouring to interpret the clause. The use of the word "individual" may exclude a similar gift between trustees or when one party is a trustee.

There are many cases in which property is held by a trustee who has no interest, except eventually to hand the property to the beneficiary. There may be cases of joint holders, such as husband and wife, who hold as trustees although beneficially entitled. It would be a misfortune if the roll-over relief were not allowed to those holding in that position. The amendment provides no means of tax avoidance or cheating in this matter. It is simply applying the word "individual" to a similar animal, a trustee.

Mr. Peter Rees

I shall respond briefly to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Sir G. Page), which he made also in Committee. The Government accept, as did the previous Government, the principle that property held in trust should be subject to no greater and no lesser a burden of tax than properly held beneficially by an individual or individuals. I accept the principle underlying my right hon. Friend's amendment. As I said in Committee, anything that touches on trust property is a matter of some complexity. As the Government have undertaken to conduct a full review of capital taxation, I hope that the House will agree that the matter should be considered at greater leisure. I do not want to brush aside my right hon. Friend's point on the basis that it is subject to certain technical defects and does not cover every contingency, but there is a wide range of circumstances that must be considered.

I assure my right hon. Friend that we hope to return to this matter in later years, but in the context of a wider review, rather than on a hasty review of the point that was made in Committee, I hope that my right hon. Friend will be reassured by my categoric statement that we believe that trust property should be subject to no greater and no less a burden of tax than that on property owned by individuals. I hope that on that basis he will feel able to ask leave to withdraw his amendment.

Sir Graham Page

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for his reply. Although the clause may not, technically, cover the cases that I have mentioned, I hope that an extra-statutory rule will apply and that the principle that my hon. and learned Friend has enunciated will be put into practice by the Inland Revenue, even if, technically, it goes against the wording of the clause. In that hope, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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