no money

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee — which scrutinises the value for money, efficiency and effectiveness of government spending — has slammed as “woefully inadequate” the number of prosecutions for offshore tax evasion by HM Revenue and Customs.

The committee’s damning report — which states HMRC is “failing UK taxpayers” — also says HMRC telephone lines are:

“so bad that they are having an adverse impact on the collection of tax revenues”

and highlights:

“serious and ongoing concerns about evasion, avoidance and collection in the tax system”.

This chaos at the heart of HMRC unsurprisingly comes after 5 years of government cuts which have seen 11,000 full-time equivalent staff posts cut from the department.

George Osborne — whose job as chancellor means he is effectively tax-collector-in-chief — seems to be remarkably half-hearted about dealing with the problem.

Maybe it’s because George thinks evading taxes is OK? After all, he said as much in a TV interview in 2003:

More evidence that taxes are only for the ‘little people’?

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