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Grant Thornton To Assist Tory Tax Plans

by Jason Gorringe,, London

15 June 2007

The UK Conservative Party has revealed that business advisors Grant Thornton have been appointed to help it develop its plans for simplifying the tax system for small businesses.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne revealed the Party's plans during his speech to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development and the British Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday.

Osborne said: "Grant Thornton will be developing implementable proposals on how we can align the basis of charge for employee national insurance contributions and income tax."

"They will also look at how we can align the period of charge for national insurance and income tax."

"We are not talking about merging national insurance and income tax. What we are talking about is how to bring the administration of these systems together to ease the regulatory burden on all businesses."

In his speech, Osborne announced that he is developing a "radical" package of measures aimed at cutting and simplifying tax for small business. He explained that the package would enable an incoming Conservative government to simplify the administration of income tax and national insurance, and reform the administration of VAT. He also pledged that the Party would seek to reverse changes to small business taxation introduced by current Chancellor Gordon Brown in his last budget.

In another major policy initiative announcement, Osborne told the independent think-tank Reform in London on Wednesday that the Treasury was in drastic need of reform. Describing the department as "broken," Osborne argued that taxpayers have paid an "astronomical price" for the confusion of roles and responsibilities created under Gordon Brown's Chancellorship, and argued that his successor must restore order to the Treasury, devolve tasks to other Whitehall departments, and launch an immediate review of all major government IT projects.

"The Treasury has become the principal source of government policy rather than an evaluator of its effectiveness," Osborne stated.

He said the next Chancellor should consider passing all of the Treasury's new spending responsibilities, particularly tax credits, over to another department, like Work and Pensions, which would be better able to manage them.

"After ten years of Gordon Brown the Treasury is broken and needs fixing. The focus of this plan of action should be three central objectives which should lie at the heart of the Treasury's remit: enhancing the stability of our economy; making that stable economy more competitive; and ensuring much greater value for taxpayers' money," Osborne concluded.

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