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The hon. Gentleman makes a point that I could repeat. Cutbacks in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs staff make more distant the target of maximising the amount of tax taken. He may have joined me on the odd occasion when I voted against the previous Government, so we have been on the same side of such arguments from time to time. Some of us are sinners turned saints, and even as a loyal Labour Back Bencher, I might agree with elements of the criticisms of the previous Government.
We have been given instruction in tautology on the question of avoidance and evasion, but we are quite clear that we are talking about people whose actions are not within the rules. We need to ensure that action is taken so that they pay their fair share, because clearly, the increase in taxation-the VAT increase and other measures-and the cuts will hit the poorest in our communities first. That is why it is absolutely essential that we have discussions such as the one instigated by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington.
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