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Chartered Institute of Taxation warns Chancellor not to rush Finance Bill

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has written to Chancellor Alistair Darling urging him not to rush through substantial tax changes without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

In an open letter to Darling about the anticipated prorogtion of Parliament ahead of a general election, the CIOT urges him to leave significant tax measures until a post-election Finance Bill where they can be scruitinised at greater length. 

The CIOT says: “If the March 24 Budget is followed, as is expected, by the announcement of a May 6 general election, a Finance Bill will need to be rushed through in, almost certainly, a single day. The CIOT is urging the Chancellor to include in it only those measures essential to maintain the Government’s revenue raising capacity, such as renewing the provision of income tax.”

In the letter, CIOT president Andrew Hubbard says: “The CIOT strongly believes that good tax law requires close examination and detailed scrutiny, from parliamentarians and from outside experts. In particular this is to ensure that the legislation does not have unintended negative consequences. A Finance Bill rushed through all its stages in a single day does not allow for this – especially in the final days of a Parliament when most MPs’ minds will, understandably, be elsewhere.”
 

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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