Commentary: Darling's debut dampens lawyer anger (sort of)
Having complained with ample justification of excessive fiddling during Gordon Brown's reign as chancellor, tax advisers confronted Alistair Darling's debut with little new to get steamed up about. Given the storm of protest that met Darling's wildly-reactive pre-Budget report last autumn, this was certainly not because there was nothing to moan about. But it was a long time since the contents of a Budget had been so comprehensively trailed ahead of the day itself, a move presumably intended to reinforce the steady-as-she-goes message in the face of continued turmoil in global financial markets. On that yardstick, advisers are pretty unanimous that Darling delivered, having unveiled a series of measures of little import. The thing that tax and private client lawyers were most concerned about, taxation of non-domiciled individuals, gained the most attention and a fair amount of grudging acceptance (you couldn't call it approval). Darling effectively announced U-turns on everything except the actual charge of £30,000 for non-doms wishing to maintain their tax status after seven years in the UK, going a long way towards damping down anger to the level of mere simmering resentment and distrust.
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