The Government indicated for the first time yesterday that it may offer concessions over the highly controversial changes to capital gains tax.
Earlier this month, Chancellor Alastair Darling announced a flat capital gains tax rate of 18% to replace the existing tapered system, which allows business owners to pay 10% tax when selling up.
The changes have been furiously opposed by business groups, including the British Hospitality Association, which said that the increase would be an “absolute body blow” to the hospitality industry.
While Darling yesterday told MPs that he was determined to press ahead with plans for a flat 18% rate, he dropped strong hints that he may yet heed pleas over the impact that scrapping taper relief will have on investment, enterprise and groups such as those about to retire.
Questioned by Commons Treasury Committee over business opposition, Darling said: “Of course, I am willing to talk to them about how, in detail, we can improve things. I am happy to talk about details but what I do not want to do is reinvent all the complexity so that you end up where you started.”
He added that he understood that people facing retirement have a particular concern.
Asked if he was ruling out a rethink in response to business concerns, Darling said, significantly: “They have raised a number of issues. I said of course I will work with them there.”
By Daniel Thomas
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