Proposed cut to corporate tax on income from patents won't cover Plant Variety Rights

Plantsmen are dismayed that the Government's proposed "patent box" offering companies a 10 per cent reduction in corporation tax on all income from patents will not cover plant variety rights.

Financial secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms MP has written to Plants for Europe owner Graham Spencer, via his local MP Charles Hendry (Conservative, Wealden), to confirm that no other form of intellectual property other than patent will be eligible for tax breaks.

Spencer said: "The patent box is designed to encourage innovation but this seems discriminatory. This decision is going to disadvantage plant breeders. Not just ornamental breeders, but also those working on feed and fodder crops."

Spencer said he would call on industry bodies to lobby the Government to include Plant Variety Rights if the patent box becomes law. He has written to Hendry to clarify the Conservatives' position on the issue and is awaiting a reply from the shadow chancellor's office.

ProVar chairman Charles Carr said: "Some lobbying needs to be done because there isn't a level playing field and it's fantastic that Graham has taken this up and done something about it."

HTA consultant David Brown confirmed that the HTA would take the issue up with the Government as part of its lobbying activity.

"It does strike me as daft and wrong. Why exclude this form of intellectual property?" he asked. "We will be asking for an explanation from the Treasury as to why it is excluded and then we will decide our next steps from there."

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