I suspect that the announcement of a 2% increase in Insurance Premium Tax in the autumn statement explains why the Ministry of Justice dusted off and rushed out (without checking its figures) its proposals on personal injury reform.
Our new lord chancellor has been more insipid than intrepid since taking office in July. However she appears to have suddenly decided that she can no longer tolerate what she calls a ‘rampant compensation culture’ and has leapt into action.
I am no conspiracy theorist, but watching the Association of British Insurers’ half-hearted protests about the increase in IPT leads me to conclude that there is an implicit understanding between the Treasury and the ABI.
It seems plausible, if lamentable, that the price of the ABI’s acquiescence is to sacrifice thousands of law firm jobs and the businesses which support them, not to mention an erosion of access to justice.
While the 2% increase will generate approximately £1bn in additional revenue for HM Treasury, the lost revenue from solicitors (who tend to pay their taxes) will surely be significantly more.
In the unlikely event that premiums fall, any saving to consumers will be swallowed up by the increase in IPT. So why is Truss bothering when the Treasury will not benefit and the public will not benefit?
The only beneficiaries will be the insurance companies who, not coincidentally, make hefty donations to the Conservative party and provide sinecures for former Tory ministers.
Martyn Brown, solicitor, Integrum Law, Birkenhead