Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Nadim Zahawi continue to ignore Loan Charge appeals

Tory leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak seem to be joining chancellor Nadim Zahawi in appearing to dodge the politically sensitive Loan Charge.

So despite new and high-profile pleas to do so, by ex-England cricket captain David Gower and TV priest Richard Coles, neither Ms Truss nor Mr Sunak have set out their stance on the HMRC policy.

Even a bold bid by campaigner LCAG to confront the prime ministerial candidates at Eastbourne’s Tory leadership hustings was thwarted, when both candidates chose to use the back door, not the main entrance.

'No opportunity to quiz Truss or Sunak on the loan charge'

ContractorUK further understands that the road where Ms Truss and Mr Sunak left their cars from was “guarded,” leaving “no opportunity” to quiz them on the loan charge, a source said.

And MPs have tried too, notably in a letter to chancellor Zahawi asking about what LCAG’s placards in Eastbourne demanded answers from the pair about -- the nine people committing suicide over the charge.

But Mr Zahawi looks to be dodging the issue as well, given the “urgent” letter sent to him by the Loan Charge and Taxpayer Fairness APPG (some 10 days ago) has not been replied to.

'Appropriate response to avoidance'

Potentially positively for contractors and others hoping for a change of tack on the loan charge, the financial secretary to the Treasury is now speaking up about the HMRC policy.

But Lucy Frazer is back to sticking to the official script.

“The loan charge has been legislated in parliament and was introduced in the 2019-20 tax year,” Ms Frazer said on July 21st, after revealing in response to a parliamentary question that Mr Zahawi has not discussed LCAG correspondence with Lord Morse.

Answering Liz Saville Roberts MP, the minister added: “Lord Morse was clear in his report that the loan charge was an appropriate response to the tax avoidance activity that had taken place.”

'Time limit on open HMRC enquiries would be unfair'

A Plaid Cymru MP, Ms Saville Roberts has previously asked the chancellor of the “potential merits of introducing a time limit by which all ‘open’ enquiries must be concluded.”

But on Mr Zahawi’s behalf in the House of Commons, Ms Frazer replied: “A time limit on the conclusion of loan charge-related cases would not be fair or practical.”

Tweeting in direct disagreement to his almost 40,000 followers is sporting legend Mr Gower.


A former presenter for the BBC and Sky following his cricket career, Mr Gower said last Monday: “Retrospective taxation with apparently no limits is just wrong. Simple.

“If [the] government wants to be seen to be moral, this is one area that needs to be addressed.”

In a tweet a few days later (on August 5th), Rev Richard Coles echoed the need for redress for loan charge taxpayers and their families.

'Sunak/Truss must make the loan charge an urgent priority'

To his almost 500,000 followers, the celeb vicar said: “Nine people now caught up in HMRC’s campaign to pursue those caught by the loan charge have taken their own lives.

“This has to stop. And we should be asking Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to make this an urgent priority before more families are destroyed.”

Yet elsewhere online, in a thread, a tax dispute expert says promoters are still very much touting their schemes, often under the acceptable guise of “Wealth Planning.”

The expert says that the worst of all ‘solutions’ -- using a scheme to exit a scheme -- is still being peddled, as an apparent way for loan charge contractors to resolve their tax difficulties.  

'Emergency Budget'

Yesterday, former Labour chancellor Gordon Brown said that trying to resolve the cost of living crisis was where the focus should be, of whoever replaces the current but outgoing PM.

Also a former prime minister, Mr Brown wrote: “If Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak don't agree an emergency budget in the next few days, parliament should be recalled to force the changes we need.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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