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Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:10 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:10 pm, 25th February 2020

The target is a gap that is as narrow as possible, and I do not think HMRC’s commitment to that can be questioned. As I have said, the gap is now at a record low, but I entirely share my hon. Friend’s desire for us continue our efforts to reduce it further, because there is a common purpose: to reinvest that money in levelling up all parts of the United Kingdom and in our public services.

Part of this requires domestic action, but part of the action must be international. That is why in the 2018 Budget we announced 21 measures forecast to raise a further £2.1 billion by 2023-24, including measures to bear down on those using offshore structures to hide their profits and avoid tax; it is why the UK is at the forefront of international action to address global tax avoidance and evasion, including the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting project, which seeks to align the taxation of profits with the underlying economic activities and value creation; and, indeed, it is why in 2016 we led the world with the first public registry of company beneficial ownership in the G20, to provide for analysis of suspicious patterns of behaviour, and to disclose inconsistencies in supposedly factual information and reveal wrongdoing.