Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:20 pm on 25th February 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Opposition Whip (Commons) 3:20 pm, 25th February 2020

My right hon. Friend makes a very good point. With just those four businesses, they absolutely dominate the sector. I do fear that there is a cartel operating, and the sector should be broken up. I think that would be in everyone’s interests. Those firms—or certainly their UK arms—account, according to an HMRC report, for half of all known avoidance schemes. That is the scale of the problem.

This is coming at a massive cost—a loss to UK plc —that is estimated at between £35 billion and £90 billion. There is understandable public anger out there, because that money could be buying significant investments in our communities, whatever people may want to invest it in. That could be 40 new hospitals, two new aircraft carriers or 40 Typhoon jets—all for £35 billion, with some cash to spare. If the £90 billion takes their fancy, we could electrify the Chiltern line serving Warwick and Leamington, and then put money into free school meals for all. Instead, we have an attitude where we increasingly see flat regressive taxes, such as the rise in VAT in 2010 from 17.5% to 20% and the growing expansion of council tax, again hurting hard-pressed households.