Election manifestos published – tax proposals

In advance of the general election on 12 December 2019, the major political parties have published their election manifestos. Below is a list of finance/tax proposals that have been made. This list will continue to be updated in the run-up to the election. If you have any comments or queries, please contact [email protected].

Conservative Party

The manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • to abolish employers’ National Insurance Contributions for under-21s and apprentices under 25
  • promise not to raise the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT
  • raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year, with an ambition to raise it to £12,500
  • stamp duty surcharge on non-UK resident buyers
  • reducing business rates via a “fundamental review of the system”. As a first step, they will reduce business rates for retail businesses, as well as extending the discount to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs
  • increase the Employment Allowance for small businesses
  • look at ways the working of the Apprenticeship Levy can be improved
  • increase the R&D tax credit rate to 13 per cent and review the definition of R&D
  • review and reform Entrepreneur’s Relief
  • set out a new anti-tax avoidance and evasion law. This will:
    • double the maximum prison term to 14 years for individuals convicted of the most egregious examples of tax fraud
    • create a single, “beefed-up” Anti-Tax Evasion unit in HMRC that covers all duties and taxes, from individual errors to deliberate noncompliance – which is put on a legislative footing
    • consolidate existing anti-evasion and avoidance measures and powers
    • introduce a new package of anti-evasion measures, including measures to end tax abuse in the construction sector, crack down on illicit tobacco packaging and further measures to avoid profit-shifting by multinational companies to avoid paying taxes
  • implement the Digital Services Tax
  • maintain support for creative sector tax reliefs and free entry to the UK’s national museums
  • introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging
  • devolve responsibility for corporation tax to Northern Ireland
  • review alcohol duty
  • reduce National Insurance contributions for employers if they employ ex-Service personnel
  • removal of VAT on tampons
  • first Budget will prioritise the environment: investing in R&D; decarbonisation schemes; new flood defences; electric vehicle infrastructure; and clean energy.

A costings document has also been published.

Labour Party

The manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • “Launch the biggest ever crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion and reform the inefficient system of tax reliefs”
  • There will be a root and branch review of business tax reliefs, which it describes as an ‘inefficient system’. The review of corporate tax reliefs would kick off within a month of Labour coming to power and would be conducted by the Treasury with a full report expected within six months. An expert panel would support the review, including representatives from HMRC, the Office of Tax Simplification, National Audit Office, and external stakeholders. VAT zero rating and exemptions are not part of this review
  • gradually reverse cuts to corporation tax’ to reach 21% (small profits rate for businesses with annual turnover under £300,000) from April 2021 and increase the main CT rate to 26% from April 2022 from the current 19% paid by all businesses, after a staggered increase to 21% from April 2020 and then 24% from April 2021
  • to abolish the separate Capital Gains Tax-free allowance and instead taxing capital gains and salaries through a single allowance
  • replace Business Rates in England with a Commercial Landowner Levy based solely on the land value of commercial sites rather than their entire capital value
  • review the option of a land value tax on commercial landlords and develop a retail sector industrial strategy
  • end retrospective tax changes like the loan charge and review recent proposals to change the IR35 rules
  • review the tax and National Insurance status of employees, dependent contractors and freelancers
  • No increase in income tax or National Insurance for those earning less than £80,000. The tax rate on income over £80,000 would rise from 40 per cent to 45 per cent. Also a proposal to introduce an additional tax rate of 50 per cent for income above £125,000 per year
  • scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance
  • introduce an annual levy on second homes used as holiday homes, equivalent to 200% of the current council tax bill for the property.
  • scrapping the bedroom tax
  • potential Financial Transactions Tax
  • end private school tax reliefs (which could include removal of business rates relief and imposition of VAT on fees).

A funding document has also been published.

Liberal Democrats Party 

The manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • 1p rise in income tax
  • cut VAT on Electric Vehicles to 5%
  • enabling local authorities to bring in tourist levies
  • continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support
  • expand the apprenticeship levy into a wider “Skills and Training Levy” with 25% of the funds raised by the levy going into a “Social Mobility Fund” targeted at areas with the greatest skill needs
  • restore Corporation Tax to 20%
  • abolish the separate Capital Gains Tax-free allowance and instead taxing capital gains and salaries through a single allowance
  • replace Business Rates in England with a Commercial Landowner Levy based solely on the land value of commercial sites rather than their entire capital value
  • action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance:
    • introduce a General Anti-Avoidance Rule, setting a target for HMRC to reduce the tax gap and investing in more staff to enable them to meet it
    • reform place of establishment rules
    • “improve” the Digital Sales Tax
    • support and build on the OECD’s proposals to require multinationals to pay a level of tax which is more closely related to their sales in every country in which they operate
  • end retrospective tax changes like the loan charge and review recent proposals to change the IR35 rules
  • review the tax and National Insurance status of employees, dependent contractors and freelancers
  • scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance
  • allow companies to claim R&D tax credits against the cost of purchasing datasets and cloud computing.

Green Party

The manifesto includes the following proposals:

  • merge Employees National Insurance, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Dividend Tax and Income Tax into a single consolidated Income Tax
  • proposes a Universal Basic Income
  • increasing Corporation Tax to 24% and the Employment Allowance to £10,000 per year
  • increase the living wage to £12 an hour and extend it to those above 16 years old
  • abolish Council Tax and Business Rates, replacing them with a Land Value Tax
  • Carbon Tax
  • Remove charitable status from private schools and charge full VAT on fees
  • Extend the plastic bag tax.

Brexit party

The “contract” includes the following proposals:

  • abolish Inheritance Tax (IHT)
  • alongside reforms to Corporation Tax, proposal to replace business rates with a simpler system to assist small High Street retailers and leisure operators outside
    the M25, with any reductions funded by an online sales tax
  • Zero rate Corporation Tax for the first £10,000 of pre-tax profits
  • Maintain subsidies and grants paid by the EU to UK businesses such as farmers,
    fisheries, universities and research bodies
  • Scrap the Apprenticeship Levy

Scottish National Party

The manifesto contains the following proposals:

  • “demand” for the devolution of the tax powers and employment law
  • support a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion
  • back a reduction in employers National Insurance contributions
  • oppose any increases in VAT
  • support reform of VAT, including the continuation of VAT-exemption on essential items like children’s clothes
  • press the UK to keep pace with the EU and scrap VAT on e-books and e-journals
  • devolve control of National Insurance to Scotland
  • reform of Companies House to “uncover the beneficial ownership of Scottish Limited Partnerships, other companies and trusts”
  • measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by international companies
  • multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from the digitalisation of the economy
  • full implementation of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering directive and a fit for purpose online retailer tax
  • review IR35 and “problems with implementation” of the Loan Charge
  • comprehensive inquiry into the digitisation of tax
  • press for the statutory living wage to rise to at least the level of the real living wage, and for “an end to age discrimination”
  • introduce fines for businesses that fail to meet an agreed Equal Pay Standard
  • action to be taken “on the Taylor Review findings and rights for those working in the gig economy, whether agency workers, those on zero hours or in insecure work””
  • back a rise in the Employment Allowance when they increase employment from £3,000 per business per year, to £6,000 per business per year
  • call on the UK government to examine a reduction in VAT for the hospitality sector
  • continue to support tax incentives for creative industries
  • support a freeze in further Insurance Premium Tax (consumers)
  • levy on technology companies to fully fund the regulator (re online safety) and associated resources
  • support substantial reforms to the UK tax system to support greener choices, including a greener tax deal for heating and energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses and new vehicle and tax incentives regime for transport
  • tax incentives to enable people to make the switch to low-carbon heating systems more affordable
  • re-design of vehicle and tax incentives to support industry and business investment in zero emission and sustainable transport choices – such as reduced VAT on bicycles and additional incentives for businesses and individuals to use Ultra Low Emission Vehicles
  • reduction in VAT on energy efficiency improvements in homes
  • press the Tories to ditch their plans to quadruple the VAT on home solar
  • Triple Lock on the State Pension
  • fight to reverse the cut to Pension Credit
  • call on the UK government to take steps to extend auto-enrolment, so that more low paid and self-employed workers can benefit from regular pension savings
  • abolition of the “bedroom tax”
  • encourage reform of the UK excise duty structures and fairer tax on Scottish Whisky
  • changes to charity lottery law to reduce bureaucracy and maximise returns to good causes and we will support a full
    public health inquiry into gambling related harm.

Plaid Cymru

The manifesto contains the following proposals:

  • Tax credit for people that pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities
  • Reverse the planned cut on corporation tax (retaining it at 19%)
  • Restricting income tax relief on pension contributions to the
    standard rate of 20 per cent
  • Increase the employee rate of National Insurance Contributions for higher rate and additional rate taxpayers from 2 per cent to 4 cent
  • Replace the Barnett formula with an Office for Fair Funding.