Anti-Avoidance

Ways and Means – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 29th November 1994.

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I am delighted that there now appears to be a wide political consensus in the House on the need to close loopholes and to prevent the artificial avoidance of taxation. There is, I have to say, in some quarters a tendency to exaggerate the extent of tax avoidance by including proposals, as the hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) always does, that would actually impose extra taxes on legitimate business under the guise of a crackdown on so-called loopholes.
I have said before and demonstrated before that we are no friends to the tax avoidance industry. Last year, I announced a number of measures to close genuine loopholes, raising £2 billion over three years.
This year, I intend to go further by tackling the artificial avoidance of VAT on property transactions and share issues, by stopping the purchase of companies simply to make use of their surplus management expenses and by preventing tax avoidance through operations with discounted securities.
In total, the anti-avoidance measures in this Budget will yield an additional £1.5 billion in the next three years. We will continue to close down genuine loopholes wherever we may find them.