Tax dodging is back in the headlines after news that HSBC has a bank in Switzerland that has been helping UK citizens avoid paying tax.
Tax dodging accounts for at least £25 billion a year in lost revenue to the exchequer and some estimates put that figure much higher, so collecting tax from people who are trying to avoid paying would make all the difference to our NHS, to police, fire and council services and to the wider economy and living standards. It would also make a big difference in paying off our debts.
So news that the current government has failed on tax avoidance is a big concern and one that many of you share, judging by the number of letters and emails you have sent me.
Oxfam are one of a number of charities that is supporting a 'Tax Dodging Bill', something I completely support and I will be doing all I can to persuade Labour to tackle tax avoidance as one of its first acts not least so we can pay for improvements in our NHS and other services.
We need to close loopholes that cost the Exchequer billions of pounds a year, increase transparency and toughen up penalties.
Labour’s measures to tackle tax avoidance will also include ensuring stronger independent scrutiny of the tax system, forcing the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to produce publicly available registries of beneficial ownership, making country-by-country reporting information publicly available and ensuring developing countries are properly engaged in the drawing up
of global tax rules.
All parties say they want to tackle tax avoidance. The example of HSBC shows that the current government has completely failed and if anything has helped tax dodgers.