Tax Avoidance (HSBC)

Part of Isil – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne The Chancellor of the Exchequer 3:35 pm, 23rd February 2015

He nods his head, but the information was provided in April 2010, when there was a Labour Government and he was in the Cabinet. He has nothing to say either about the agreement with the French authorities restricting the use that could be made of this information—an agreement that we are now busily trying to change.

None of these things has the shadow Chancellor admitted to or apologised for, and none of it is of any surprise to Government Members, because the Labour party was the friend of the tax avoiders and the tax evaders when it was in office. When we entered office, City bankers were paying lower tax rates than those who cleaned for them; foreigners were not paying capital gains tax; hedge funds were abusing partnership rules; and the richest in our society routinely did not pay stamp duty at all. We have put at end to all of that, and we will take more action in the Budget. All we have on the Opposition Benches is a bunch of arsonists throwing rocks at the firefighters who are putting out the fire that they started.

The shadow Chancellor comes to the House fighting for his political life. He asks about tax evasion, but he was the principal tax adviser when tax evasion occurred. His economic policy is in tatters, and he cannot name a single business supporter of his business policy. His tax avoidance campaign has turned into a war with his own window cleaner. Now he has lost the confidence of his colleagues and his leader, but he lost the confidence of the country a long time ago.