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Finance Bill debates: Eagle defends complexity

Shadow Treasury Minister Angela Eagle observed that clause 5 of the Finance Bill ‘completely takes away’ the Labour Government’s policy of restricting tax relief on pension contributions for those earning £150 000 or over who are ‘the top 2% of earners in the country’.

The gross annual cost of pension tax relief for 2008/09 was £28.4 billion she said. Analysis showed that about 2% of savers currently receive a quarter of all the tax relief available. The relief was ‘massively and already grossly regressive’.

Eagle recognised that it would be wrong to try to claim that the ‘high income excessive relief charge’ enacted in FA 2010 was simple – it was clearly complex. ‘However when dealing with people on very high earnings who use complex financial arrangements we often find that that complexity must be matched to ensure that a fair amount of tax is taken...

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