My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. One of my constituents has done their own estimate and they believe that this could cost them £230,000. They say:
“I was first contacted by HMRC in 2013/14 about income from just the 2008-2010 tax years and having accepted my appeal letter to their enquiries I haven’t heard anything from them since. So 5 years on, I still have no clear idea what HMRC believes I owe them and the real justification for it.”
As they say:
“Communication from HMRC has been inconsistent and sporadic at best. In addition”—
I will come on to this issue—
“HMRC does not appear to be targeting the companies who were (and in some cases still are) providing these tax planning schemes, but rather the individuals who used them. Sadly, there are still people joining these schemes today, unware of the impact it is likely to have on them.”
HMRC’s approach to the loan charge has been punitive rather than proportionate. For some constituents it has essentially grouped up to 20 years of charges and lumped them into one big sum that they are now being asked to pay. [Interruption.]
With the sound of a leaky roof in the background—this has been an interesting week for other events happening while Members have been giving speeches—I will conclude by asking a really important question. What on earth is being done to tackle those promoting the schemes? They are the people who have, effectively—and, I believe, knowingly in many cases—mis-sold schemes, got rich off the back of them and left the people who took part in them to pick up the pieces.