Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 2017.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green 12:00 am, 18th July 2017

What plans he has to introduce measures to tackle tax avoidance and evasion carried out through non-domiciled status and offshore trusts.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The UK has effective legislation to tackle avoidance involving offshore structures and we have announced our intention to legislate further, making it harder for non-doms to avoid paying tax on funds withdrawn from trusts. I am also pleased to say that we have been at the forefront of international work that has seen 100 countries commit to exchange financial information automatically.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green

The Conservative manifesto said that the Government would

“take a more proactive approach to transparency”.

Does the Minister believe that enough is being done to tackle companies that promote tax-avoidance schemes, or is there still a tendency for the big four accountancy firms to regulate the big four, via the big four, in order to protect the big four?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The hon. Lady asks if enough is being done to clamp down on tax avoidance. I can assure her that it certainly is. Since 2010, we have raised £160 billion by way of clamping down on exactly those behaviours. In the forthcoming Finance Bill there will be further measures to make sure that over the scorecard period we are bringing in between £7 billion and £8 billion in addition, in corporate tax avoidance measures.

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney

Will the Minister confirm that due to steps taken by this Government, the top 1% of people now pay 27% of income tax, and that that is a higher proportion than under the previous Labour Government?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My hon. Friend is entirely right. The Labour party would constantly have us believe that somehow we are being soft on the wealthy and hard on the less well-off when the precise opposite is true. The top 1% pay over 27% of tax, and the wealthiest 3,000 people in our country pay as much as the poorest 9 million. Under Labour, the poor paid more tax relative to the wealthy, not less. No wonder that under our policies income inequality is at a 30-year low.