Sharon Hodgson MP responds to recent queries by constituents on tax avoidance and the related campaign on closing the “Mayfair tax loophole”.
I agree that more must be done to tackle tax avoidance and I know from the many letters and e-mails I have received on this issue and the forthcoming Finance Bill that there is a real anger and frustration at the allegations that some banks, corporations and wealthy individuals may have engaged in aggressive tax avoidance and, in some cases, tax evasion.
At a time when this Government are proposing deep cuts to our public services and when households up and down the country are seeing their incomes squeezed, it is vital that we clamp down on tax avoidance and ensure that corporations, businesses and individuals pay their fair share of tax. That is why I share the determination of my colleagues on the Shadow front bench to press the Government for stronger action, particularly at a time when we need to safeguard revenues for our public services.
The Conservative manifesto at the last General Election pledged to close £5billion of tax loopholes by 2017, yet I was disappointed that the Chancellor’s Summer Budget delayed this target till the end of this Parliament in 2020. It is important that since 2010, the Conservatives have failed to tackle tax avoidance over the last five years and lack a credible plan to do so now. Indeed, the amount of uncollected tax (the “tax gap”) has risen year on year under the Conservatives and has now increased to £34 billion in lost revenue.
This is why the Labour Party has pledged for a fairer tax system and will scrutinise the Finance Bill line by line as it progresses through Parliament to highlight the need for improvements such as: ensuring we close tax loopholes that cost the Exchequer billions of pounds every year; introduce tougher penalties for those abusing the tax system, and; ending the unfair tax breaks used by hedge funds.
Last updated 27/07/2015
Issue as reported in The Independent 27/07/2015