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

Well, we have taken a much more aggressive approach. As a result, prosecutions are up fivefold. I have the following parliamentary answer from the then Chancellor, Mr Brown, and this is what he told the House:

“Where serious tax fraud has been committed, the Board”— the Inland Revenue board—

“may accept a money settlement instead of pursuing a criminal prosecution.

The Board will accept a money settlement and will not pursue a criminal prosecution, if the taxpayer, in response to being given a copy of this Statement by an authorised officer, makes a full and complete confession of all tax irregularities.”—[Hansard, 7 November 2002; Vol. 392, c. 784W.]

That was the approach of the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath to tax policy. [Interruption.]The shadow Chancellor says it was before 2000, but the revelations were made in 2009, and the last time I checked there was a Labour Government in late 2009 and early 2010.