Labour pledges tax dodge crackdown

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Labour is stepping up its attack on the Government over tax dodging, pledging an immediate crackdown if it wins the general election.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said David Cameron and George Osborne had “totally failed” on the issue over the past five years.

In an Opposition Day debate led by shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood, the party will seize on allegations that a Swiss banking arm of HSBC advised British clients how to dodge tax.

The Commons motion points out that just one person has been prosecuted despite HM Revenue & Customs being provided with the details in 2010. It also demands a “full statement” from the Prime Minister about the decision to make former HSBC boss Lord Green trade minister in 2011.

Mr Balls said Labour’s first Finance Bill would include penalties for those caught by the General Anti-Abuse Rule and close loopholes used by hedge funds to avoid stamp duty. It would also scrap the Government’s “Shares for Rights” employment change, which the party has warned could assist tax dodging.

Mr Balls said: “David Cameron and George Osborne have totally failed to tackle tax avoidance in the last five years. “They have failed to close the loopholes we have highlighted. And the amount of uncollected tax has risen under this government.

“I am determined that the next Labour government will act where the Tories have failed. “We will close loopholes that cost the exchequer billions of pounds a year, increase transparency and toughen up penalties. And we will act in our first Finance Bill.”

City minister David Gauke said: “Ed Miliband and Ed Balls did absolutely nothing to tackle aggressive tax avoidance and evasion when they were sitting in the Treasury – they even allowed bankers to pay less tax than their cleaners. Labour turned a blind eye to tax dodging because they thought they had ended boom and bust.

“David Cameron has done more than any other prime minister to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion – another Labour mess that he is clearing up.”

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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