Although forecasts of a hung parliament were being bandied about prior to last week’s election, there was an assumption that the Conservatives would at least hang onto their slender majority, no such luck.
The rather unfortunate slogan, strong and stable government, trotted out ad nauseum at the beginning of the campaign, will now be reflected back as Mrs May attempts to bolt together an effective minority government.
Meanwhile, back at the coal-face, practitioners are left – like Robinson Crusoe – wondering when rescue from the extending hiatus will arrive. Will any of Philip Hammond’s previous pronouncements regarding tax legislation come to pass?
The commitment, albeit without the requisite legislation, to introduce MTD from April 2018 is looking decidedly iffy. Even if the required Finance Bill No2 appears and is dealt with before the summer recess, will the beleaguered civil servants in charge of the process have time to complete their beta testing and have systems fit for purpose before the 2018 deadline? If we assume that there is the political will to get this job done, what effect will the shifting Brexit negotiations have on parliamentary agendas; will there be time to have an adequate debate on the finer details of MTD or any of the other washed up parts of the Finance Bill 2017? Common sense would dictate, no there is not. In which case, perhaps there will be no further tax legislation proposed this year? So many questions…
Practitioners may be left holding their cherished Budget Update notes, their plans to cope with MTD and other issues, over their ever-filling bins, unsure what to do. This will surely go down as the ultimate “week that was”, and for Mrs May, her septimana horribilis.