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HMRC Closures — [Philip Davies in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 2:54 pm on 2nd November 2017.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 2:54 pm, 2nd November 2017

The hon. Gentleman raises the issue of crowding out private sector investment, but I am primarily concerned about the possibility of crowding out tax collection. If we do not have hubs that are fit for the 21st century, that are bristling with new technology, talent, and well qualified, well trained individuals working collaboratively from those units, we will be less effective at bringing the money in.

The tax gap was mentioned; it stands at 6%, a record low. Under Labour in 2005 it was around 8%. If it was 8% today, we would have £11.8 billion less coming into the Treasury, which is enough to pay for all the police forces in England and Wales, so these things matter. I understand why Members here are vexed about their constituency—I totally get it—but we cannot allow that to trump the really important job of bringing our tax collection into the 21st century, and making sure that it is effective, so that we keep our public services going.