[Image: The Guardian.]

Will David Cameron have the courage to let HMRC do its job? [Image: The Guardian.]

Debbie is, of course, a long-term friend of Vox Political. Here’s her opinion of the tax avoidance scandal that is currently rocking the Conservative Government in general – and David Cameron in particular:

The publication of the so-called Panama Papers is yet more evidence of a powerful and indifferent elite for whom the accumulation of personal wealth is paramount and at the expense of their fellow citizens, in many cases citizens they are meant to be providing leadership to.
Evading tax is not only illegal, but it means that there is less money collected by the Exchequer for our pensioners, disabled people, the vulnerable as well as for doctors, nurses, teachers and other public servants.

Aggressive tax avoidance although not technically illegal is argued to be against the spirit and intention of the law.

Fundamentally, dodging paying a fair share of tax is contributing to growing inequality in this country and across the world, and tax havens are at the heart of this.

The Government has been dragging [its] feet and obfuscating on comprehensive action to address tax evasion. £800m was identified in July’s budget for ‘non-compliance’ issues but only £266m has been allocated specifically to address tax fraud.

How much will be spent on tax evasion via tax havens? How many of the 670 new staff will be acting on tax evasion associated with tax havens? Why were nearly 6,000 staff let go from HMRC between 2013 and 2015 for 670 new staff to be taken on in 2016? How has the 10% reduction in HMRC staff since 2008 affected action on tax evasion and tax havens? With the Government hosting an anti-corruption summit in May, will they commit to Oxfam’s call for unilateral action, for example, compelling Crown dependencies and Overseas Territories to produce registers of beneficial ownership and preventing Government departments and contractors from using tax havens?

For many of these jurisdictions, ultimate sovereignty remains with the UK. There is absolutely no excuse for Government torpor on this issue.

Read the full article here: The Panama Papers: more evidence of a ‘them & us’ world

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