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By Philip Hoult Tax lawyers have accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of leaving the UK out of step with other countries by failing to introduce a commitment to abolish stamp duty on share dealings in last week’s pre-budget report.Guy Brannan, head of tax at Linklaters & Alliance, said stamp duty on share dealings made it more difficult for UK companies to raise capital in other jurisdictions.“It makes UK-listed companies less competitive,” he said. “They ought to take the bull by the horns.”His comments were backed by Slaughter and May partner Sara Luder, who said: “It is a shame nothing has been done.”Despite disappointment over stamp duty, corporate tax lawyers welcomed most of the measures that were included in the report.Initiatives to help the new economy, such as the decision to abolish the limit on the number of employees qualifying for options under the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI), were also hailed.“The number of employees for the EMI was an artificial limit and it is sensible that that has been removed,” said John Watson, head of tax at Ashurst Morris Crisp.The only major announcement on partnership law was the confirmation of 6 April 2001 as the date that limited liability partnerships (LLPs) finally become available. The Inland Revenue is set to release LLP guidelines in December.Richard Lindsell, head of Rowe & Maw’s professions group, said: “It makes me nervous that the fag end of the process is in the hands of the Treasury.”

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