To summarise his points:
Government estimates that each year £42 billion is lost through tax avoidance and evasion.
The ever excellent Richard Murphy says this is an underestimate. He gives:
Outstanding debt: £28bn
Total £123 billion.
Total borrowing in 2009-10 was £170billion, 155x as much as benefit fraud which so preoccupies the tabloid press.
Tax avoidance accounts for 72% of our borrowing requirement.
You would imagine that Government would set about blocking tax loopholes and attacking evasion. You would imagine wrong.
Government has been cutting staff at HMRC (the tax man). Its staff has fallen from 99,000 to 68,000 (that was a Labour cut). The budget of the HMRC tax avoidance office has fallen from £3.6bn to £1.9bn.
It is quite clear that Government is not interested in taxing the corporations and the rich who can afford tax lawyers, but rather, is interested in high profile chasing of small benefit fraudsters. These little crooks are quite rightly to be chased, but it is clearly less efficient to chase someone who owes say £1000 than someone who owes £1000000. The Government has deliberately chosen the inefficient path.
There are many reasons for this.
- Part may be that 23 of 29 Cabinet Ministers are millionaires.
- Chasing big money means fighting big lawyers.
- They will say that corporations will move out of the UK if we ask them for tax. This demands multilateral action to close tax havens &c, but the Government is opposed to this route in the EU. (Tax havens are pretty unpleasant places for their citizens as well as being bad for nations).
The bottom line is that we are not all in this together. There is one rule for the rich - take whatever you can get away with, and another rule for the poor - we are coming to get you no matter what.
Outside, it is raining. Inside, it is raging.