Tax Avoidance (HSBC)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 9th February 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 3:34 pm, 9th February 2015

The essence of the hon. Lady’s speech was the accusation that wrongdoing has been overlooked on this Government’s watch, but events between 2005 and 2007 did not take place under our watch—the Labour party was in government between 2005 and 2007. The allegations relate to activity between 2005 and 2007.

The hon. Lady’s first question was on what was done with the information. I almost feel like apologising to the House for going through this information in such excruciating detail. A total of 6,800 cases looked at and it was discovered that there were a number of duplications within those data: they were not clean data. That left 3,600 and there has been a full investigation of more than 1,000 of them—the remainder appear to have no case to answer—and a settlement has been reached. As a consequence, £135 million has been raised for the Exchequer that would not previously have been raised. If we put that in the context of the very many other measures that this Government have taken to deal with the problem, we will see that it demonstrates a Government willing to address it.

Let me turn to Lord Green. He was a very successful trade Minister and there is no evidence to suggest that he was involved in or complicit with tax evasion activities. If we are talking about complicity and asking about what happened on someone’s watch, what about the City Minister at the time, Ed Balls? Sadly, he is not in the Chamber today. Indeed, let us look at the failure of the previous Government to address issues of tax evasion and tax avoidance. [Interruption.]