Election 2017: Accountants react

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The shock exit poll predicting 317 seats for the Conservatives proved uncannily accurate and the UK woke up this morning facing the prospect of a hung parliament.

The nightmare on Downing Street scenario sketched out in AccountingWEB's pre-election analysis has come to pass and Theresa May's tactical gamble to try and improve her parliamentary majority has failed spectacularly.

Turnouts were up across the country, fuelled by younger voters, many of whom threw their backing behind Labour's Jeremy Corbyn the one obvious winner. The SNP hold on all but three seats north of the border has weakened, and UKIP's vote evaporated - with many defectors appearing to prefer Corbyn to May.

The tally among the 50 or so accountants standing for Parliament closely mirrored the national poll result, with three losses (one each for the Tories, Labour and SNP) and two gains (one Tory, one Labour).

Treasury team in tatters

The Tory nightmare extends from Downing Street a few doors down to the Treasury, where both financial secretary Jane Ellison and economic secretary Simon Kirby lost their seats. Talk before the election was that Theresa May was thinking about bringing Amber Rudd in to replace Philip Hammond as Chancellor. 

But with inexperienced players further down the team unavailable to support a new Chancellor, the scope for radical changes will be limited and may mean the positions are safe for Hammond and chief secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, who from his election night performances appears to be seen as a safe pair of hands who can be let loose on the public airwaves.

Instead of the promised "strong and stable" government, the political situation has been plunged into uncertainty with just a few weeks to go before negotiations are due to begin on the UK's exit from the European community. Theresa May's role is under intense scrutiny this morning and the country is left to wonder whether she will be able to form a government and the likelihood of another election in the not too distant future.

What about MTD?

At the risk of sounding parochial, the election result throws a huge cloud over HMRC's Making Tax Digital programme. Until a new government is appointed, little time will be available for ministers to devote to MTD detail in the Finance Bill. 

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn was one of the few politicians to speak out against the current MTD plans during the campaign, along with the Lib Dem/accountant candidate Bruce Roberts. The stance didn't help Roberts in Clwyd South, but it certainly didn't hurt Corbyn.

The only realistic scenario for the original timetable to progress as envisaged is if Theresa May opts for a continuity strategy and retains her previous team as best she can, which would include Chancellor Philip Hammond. Anyone else would have to get their head around the policy in a very short time to bring legislation forward for a Finance Bill before the re-elected MPs head off for their summer holiday.

Unlikely - particularly if there is any whiff of controversy around MTD. If anyone in Northern Ireland and Scotland is concerned about the project, they could exert quite a lot of influence by lobbying Tory and Unionist MPs with their views.

Even if there isn't another election, MTD is likely to fall into the "leave it until the Autumn Budget/next year's Finance Bill" tray. The most likely outcome in this situation would be an extra year for everyone to prepare for a kick-off in April 2019 and successive years.

For many AccountingWEB members, that might not be such a bad scenario. But equally, will anyone have time to think about MTD while they ponder what's going to happen to the UK's government and Brexit negotiations? With so many other issues to be resolved, we may well not hear about MTD for a long time to come.

AccountingWEB hosted a live panel throughout election night to discuss how the results are likely to affect businesses and their advisers:

Live Blog Election 2017: Accountants react

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08th Jun 2017 19:01

Ray Backler - Capsa Accounting

I would like to join the panel and will participate in the forum.

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08th Jun 2017 20:35

I'll be following this - need something to pass the time while I reconcile 500 pages of bank statements...

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to Kent accountant
08th Jun 2017 21:47

Good stuff KA - hope those bank statements are going well

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08th Jun 2017 22:21

Wow, no majority (forecast) thats a bit of a shocker.

Whose idea was it to call an early election...

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08th Jun 2017 23:11

Hmmm, is the exit poll wrong again?

First two results suggest there may be.

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09th Jun 2017 00:48

Politics aside you should definitely not be doing a 500 page bank rec at this time KA.

Have you not got minions (read valued members of staff)? Very handy.

Back on politics it looks like a big mistake for May.

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09th Jun 2017 08:28

At last- for only the second time in many elections I get the result I most hoped for, unlike 1997, no champagne corks, but TM falling flat on her face.

Being in a marginal seat I got a personal letter from her the other day and her hubris and lack of awareness of what is going on out here, was enough to make me vote tactically for the first time, to keep the excellent Tom Brake in place.

The downside is a waste of all our time and that we are now in a mess going into one of the most important couple of years of our post war history, the only hope is that the EU negotiators may fear that TM will be bringing Lord Buckethead to the table.

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to Paul Scholes
09th Jun 2017 10:49

It comes from giving youngsters who have no memory of how disastrous a labour government were, and who believe Corbyn`s spin and benefit collectors a vote.

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to meadowsaw227
09th Jun 2017 12:04

You are quite right. Speaking to some young graduates they seemed to think austerity was a choice and method that they thought was the Tories way to run a country. There was absolutely no understanding that to live within our means is no different from our personal finances. They were all in favour of renationalising seemingly based on the hatred of the bosses salary, the idea that when in state control no government has ever stomped up the investment they needed was not a consideration.

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By Viciuno
to Dutchnick
09th Jun 2017 13:42

Dutchnick wrote:

There was absolutely no understanding that to live within our means is no different from our personal finances.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you here. Please refer to link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZNwdcESn90

And as for the rest of your comment there are a lot more reasons explaining why people vote other than nationalisation of railways, it might be all rosey for some of the older generation receiving fantastic pensions paid for by people working now, or the older generation who were able to get a house for 3/4 times their salary with a 0% deposit.

Or maybe its because people who are generally well off (usually at the expense of others) continue to get tax breaks and continued wage growth while those at the bottom of the $h!t heap continue to struggle along at minimum wage possibly facing no job security and no guaranteed hours.

Oh, what about the millions of people who benefited from totally free higher education expecting their children to pay through the nose for it via student loans?

Or it could be because some people realise that if we want good public services we need to pay for them - I suppose it doesn't matter to some torries who can afford private healthcare or will be dead by the time our healthcare system collapses.

My point being, millions of people voted Labour for a huge verity of reasons and to slap them all with the "they are stupid and don't understand" is frankly disgusting.

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to Viciuno
09th Jun 2017 14:35

Millions of people like me voted Conservative too and for an equal variety of reasons.
I'd love to be one of those who got mortgages as you say for 0% deposit. I'm saddled with a mortgage that isn't due to be paid off till I'm 75. I didn't go to university and am well aware of the tuition fees that will arise if and when my children go into higher education.
I have tremendous respect for the NHS and particularly with its recent care for my elderly father who is now in a dementia care home. I wish I could afford private healthcare but I can't and will continue to use this great institution. Yes, we need to pay for public services, but the "high tax and high spend" policy of Labour would do nothing to solve the NHS' inefficiencies.
Media misrepresentation of the Tories' "dementia tax" was not very helpful during the campaign, as it would have been a vast improvement on the current system in place.
(NB Whether I vote Conservative again is another matter for another time)

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By 0098087
to Peter Cane
10th Jun 2017 12:16

From what I've been told of what's going on in the NHS by staff at broomfield hospital in Essex in the last 24 hours you should never vote Tory

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By dwgw
to Dutchnick
12th Jun 2017 17:44

They're right. Austerity was and is a choice. And a failed policy choice at that.

Cameron/Osborne were very skilled in getting opponents and the media to accept and adopt their agenda, so the need to cut the deficit and pay down the debt became an unquestioned given and it was assumed that all parties would follow the line.

As a general comment (so not directed at Dutchnick), I'd add that the patronising denigration of the "quality" of the reported youth vote is shameful. That "we know best" attitude is a major contributor to the anger that many feel.

I contrast the positive "can do" spirit of my young sons and their friends with the negative, cynical mindset of so many of my generation and older and am delighted the Tories were given the kicking they so richly deserved - even if they've yet to realise how hard they've been kicked!

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By dwgw
to Dutchnick
12th Jun 2017 17:45

They're right. Austerity was and is a choice. And a failed policy choice at that.

Cameron/Osborne were very skilled in getting opponents and the media to accept and adopt their agenda, so the need to cut the deficit and pay down the debt became an unquestioned given and it was assumed that all parties would follow the line.

As a general comment (so not directed at Dutchnick), I'd add that the patronising denigration of the "quality" of the reported youth vote is shameful. That "we know best" attitude is a major contributor to the anger that many feel.

I contrast the positive "can do" spirit of my young sons and their friends with the negative, cynical mindset of so many of my generation and older and am delighted the Tories were given the kicking they so richly deserved - even if they've yet to realise how hard they've been kicked!

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By dwgw
to Dutchnick
12th Jun 2017 17:48

Double posted - oops!

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09th Jun 2017 08:46

Of course, from a purely job related perspective, there is now more uncertainty over taxation than there has ever been. The dropping of so much from FA2017, and with no idea who will be in charge and who will be setting the next budget, it's impossible to even speculate about sensible tax planning for options for clients, now.

EDIT: On the plus side, Sourpuss May has fallen flat on her face.

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09th Jun 2017 08:50

People may be silent but cannot be taken for a ride. That was not a vote for Brexit but against high taxes (in my 20 years of being an accountant haven't seen anything like that), social care, university loans, the rich becoming richer and poor poorer etc, and against arrogance.

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By lme
to forrest gump
09th Jun 2017 11:59

I'm sorry to say so, but I think many, many people, get taken for a ride - not just in this but in many places and in many respects

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09th Jun 2017 09:36

I think personally that this was a disastrous result for the country, for the economy and indeed for Brexit. The UKIP vote seems to have collapsed and been split between Labour and Conservative.
In the cold light of day, once the results sink in, I suspect that many voters who voted UKIP in 2015 and/or voted leave in the referendum and were persuaded to vote Tory or Labour will feel a sense of betrayal and anger.
It was Douglas Carswell who left UKIP and said effectively "Job done, we have Brexit". Many people believed that, but will now realise that there is a real danger that Brexit could be stalled or even abandoned and there may well be a huge sense of anger and injustice at what is effectively a 2 party stitch up, if Brexit doesn't happen.
Far from being a return to 2 party politics, it may well signal the death knell of the 2 party system.

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to Peter Cane
09th Jun 2017 09:53

UKIP was finished 12 months ago.

It no longer has a function.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
09th Jun 2017 10:10

That's precisely what many people thought and why the UKIP vote disappeared. However, the reality after this election is that many people will now see that perhaps UKIP are still required to ensure that whoever is in government remains accountable to the will of the people

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to Peter Cane
09th Jun 2017 10:46

no Peter, the will fo the 52% who voted to leave.

Thats not the will of the country, that's about half.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
09th Jun 2017 10:53

52% v 48% That's still a majority in my book, unless maths has changed since I left school

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to Peter Cane
09th Jun 2017 12:47

More than 52% of the country don't want the Tories to run it yet here we are.

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By Tornado
to Duggimon
09th Jun 2017 12:59

Interesting use of figures .... you must be an Accountant.

On the same tack, 57.6% of those that voted did not want the Labour Party to win.

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to Peter Cane
09th Jun 2017 12:50

Most parents who look at their kids school books these days probably think it has if only to make the minority feel like winners as well in today's all inclusive society...

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By 0098087
to Peter Cane
09th Jun 2017 10:01

Anything that may stop brexit can only be a good thing

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to 0098087
09th Jun 2017 12:55

The only thing liable to stop Brexit is the complete meltdown of the EU that's more likely to happen in the next three or four years and well before any "agreement" is reached.

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09th Jun 2017 10:32

The real winner today is the Great British public who will be delighted that we have the very real prospect of another election later this year. I just bloody love voting, maybe we could have one every month and never do any actual politics at all.

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By RobertD
to Duggimon
10th Jun 2017 20:12

Duggimon wrote:

The real winner today is the Great British public who will be delighted that we have the very real prospect of another election later this year. I just [***] love voting, maybe we could have one every month and never do any actual politics at all.

Real time voting.

We can fit it in between RTI, AE, MTD and VAT submissions.

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09th Jun 2017 10:40

Anything that stops these politico dilettantes meddling in things they do not understand, has to be a good thing.

They still don't get how angry is the populace.

A delay (or hopefully, cancellation) of the MTD debacle has to be worth a celebration!

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09th Jun 2017 10:48

I am sure TM is sitting there even as we speak pondering over what she should do with MTD.....what else could she be thinking about

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By adambl
09th Jun 2017 11:00

Anyone with half a brain and no racist tendencies will be pleased that Brexit is now likely to be watered down.

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09th Jun 2017 11:14

Very interesting times we have ahead but a few interesting observations.

1. John Redwood this morning was arguing with Andrew Marr - May went to public to get a mandate for Brexit - she failed? Counter is no there is a definite Brexit mandate just not necessarily the methodology - Lib Dems were the only party campaigning on a lets revisit Brexit - both Conservatives and Labour, who both increased their vote share dramatically, were saying Brexit must happen.
2. If Conservatives get the last remaining seat they will have a majority of 1. Yes they say 326 needed but with 7 seats going to Sinn Fein that reduces to 319. Still a kicking for May and her party.
3. How many votes did May lose over her dementia tax (one wonders in proposing it she is a sufferer) and how many did Corbyn win with his scrapping of tuition fees

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09th Jun 2017 11:28

The dementia tax is as hated as IHT. cant understand why this needed to be aired during general election. My daughter voted for Coirbyn because she said that she had nothing to loose. ie very expensive tuition fees, high taxation and little chance of her buying a home. Hence the swing to Labour by many young people. Mrs May just does not have the chrisma to be a leader hence the poor performing conservatives. Boris may have provided a different result as may Amber Rudd or Ruth Davidson.

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to pauljohnston
09th Jun 2017 14:39

Not to mention several people of your daughter's age with disabilities who want to contribute to society but are hampered from doing so by cuts in schemes which previously helped that transition in favour of policies which now cause so much stress and anxiety that the people who should receive them give up half way through the process. For example, capping the Access to Work grants available so that those who need a BSL support worker, can't get that assistance full time. PIP and ESA assessments and appeals that are so stressful that even capable professionals find the process unbearable. Deterioration in public transport so getting to work is a lottery.

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By bigugly
09th Jun 2017 11:41

The dementia tax was put in the manifesto so that after the election May could point to it as a manifesto pledge and say "The country knew that was what we were going to do and gave us a landslide victory".

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By Tornado
09th Jun 2017 12:13

Interesting to see that the SNP received (only) 977,569 votes in total yet took 35 seats.

The Green Party received 524,604 votes in total yet only took 1 seat.

Plaid Cymru received 164,466 votes in total and took four seats.

No complaints as this is the way the system works but wild statements about the meaning of the results need to be tempered with the facts.

Indeed, another interesting point to note is that the populations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland put together are less than the population of London, yet there is no English Parliament.

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09th Jun 2017 13:12

JC knew he would never win in a million years and so promised the earth (£10 min wage, no student loans, tax and spend) as he would never be held accountable to do it.

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By Tornado
09th Jun 2017 14:36

I receive a State Pension but I pay about three times that amount each year in tax. The State Pension is Taxed so after taking that into account, in effect I am paying my own Pension and that of three other people.

Bearing in mind the vast amounts of Tax and NIC I have paid over the years, I do not accept that the young are paying for my pension.

I do know that if taxes were to increase to unacceptable proportions, then it would not take much to persuade me to fully retire and then others will have to fund my pension entirely and the other three I currently support.

OK, a bit simplistic, but the point I am making is that there are limits as to how much you can extract from 'the rich' (which I am not) before the system starts to collapse.

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09th Jun 2017 15:14

If you want to increase the tax take, cut tax rates. Economics 101.

The real reason most people are angry in they know something is wrong, but don't quite understand what it is.

In the 1930s depression, those in work became better-off as general prices were allowed to fall, and it was harsh on the have-nots.

This time around, Ponzi money-printing has forced up asset prices at astronomical rates and prevented a general fall in prices. Only the very wealthy have benefitted, aka crony-capitalists.

The majority have been stuck in a low pay/benefits cycle and can see those at the top getting massively richer, whilst they've been treading water.

Millennials are beginning to come of voting age and according to Strauss & Howe's theories, they are more 'collectivist' than the Jonesers and Gen-Xs before them.

It's no wonder the peasants are revolting...

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09th Jun 2017 15:30

I think it's a fantastic vote for the country. The politicians should now take on board that the country is fairly split between Tory and Labour. So the only course of action is that they get their heads together and form a coalition (yes of course it's not going to be easy) to give the people of this country what they are entitled to - a government that is for the people not their political parties. The last coalition actually worked (within reason). You can have election after election, the result will be the same.

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By 0098087
10th Jun 2017 12:13

Great thing about this election is that the great British public refused to go quietly into the night and to stop being treated like fools by a woman who thought herself above scrutiny and also told the right wing racist mail, express and sun where to stick it

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11th Jun 2017 18:05

The first thing for Liz Truss to do in her Treasury job is switch all MTD resources into "auto-elections" so that we can all have either a referendum or election every month at the press of a button instead of the polling booth hassle.

We will then be world leaders in holding elections, and can export our expertise in this as part of our Brexit strategy. Clearly Hard & Stupid Brexit is now dead in the water.

So our Brexit team should henceforth be required to wear soft pink fluffly clothes in public, and hats with flowers in them. This will demonstrate to the rest of Europe that we are doing a soft cuddly Brexit and will stop being nasty and moronic towards them.

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By Tornado
to mr. mischief
11th Jun 2017 18:37

"required to wear soft pink fluffly clothes in public"

Pink !!!

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to mr. mischief
12th Jun 2017 09:07

Maybe lederhosen with a feather in their hats. Just to show we know who is in charge.

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13th Jun 2017 09:00

Well it looks as though the Tories and Labour have started talking to each other (albeit by the back door). So perhaps Maggie May does wear the PM title well.

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14th Jun 2017 12:20

Now George Osborn has gone, can MTD follow in his footsteps, I think it was his baby.

The questions is now when will the next election be.

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16th Jun 2017 14:09

@Viciuno. I am not sure where you get the notion "they are stupid and don't understand" is wrong. Having spoken to young people they dont see the tax they pay as being related to what the Govenment spends.

Mrs May ran a kind of presedential campaign which does not work here, she was much too negative in her campaign.

If JC had got into Downing Street just how many of his promises would have to be watered down. What he showed was that electors want to see positive ideas rather than total negativeness

What I hope is that in future Govenments are much more honest with how money is collected and spent. A balance sheet in plain English of UK plc may help understanding. I dont belive however this would happen.

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18th Jun 2017 08:32

.

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