Justine Greening unveiled the Government’s plan to tackle tax dodging on Question Time last night. There was just 10,000 problems with it.

The Education Secretary came under pressure from the audience over the Government’s record on tackling tax evasion and avoidance in the wake of new revelations from the Paradise Papers.

The Tory MP promised the Government would close the tax gap, increase transparency and finished by saying:


“We need to make sure that HMRC is staffed-up and resourced-up properly to be able to go after that and that is precisely what we’re now doing.”

You can watch her full answer below:

Nobody could disagree with Greening’s aim of giving HMRC all the resources they need to tackle tax avoidance.

Only, since the Tories took power in 2010, more than 10,000 jobs have been cut from the service and 250 tax offices have been closed.

As a result, between 2010 and 2015, only managed 11 prosecutions for offshore tax evasion. Meg Hillier, the chair of Parliament Public Accounts Committee, called the record “woefully inadequate”. 

The PCS Union, which represents HMRC staff, has called for the cuts to HMRC to be reversed in the wake of the Paradise Papers. General secretary Mark Serwotka said:

“To continue with these closures and the subsequent loss of more experienced staff would indicate they have no interest in tackling these vital issues.”

Greening has either announced a major government u-turn or forgot her party’s appalling record.

We suspect the tax dodgers didn’t miss any sleep last night…


  1. Ah, the great pretense of doing something about Tax avoidance. Sorry Ducky, Heard it all before. You had a Bloodletting of civil servants who knew what they were doing. This gov. never had any intention of stopping Tax avoidance as is proved by their
    attempts to undermine the efforts being made by the E.U. to control it.
    I rather think that is behind their rabid desire for brexit . They would rather damage the country than upset their wealthy donors.

  2. Such a stupid thing to say. It’s a waste of time recruiting more staff without new legislation. The reason accountants etc operate these schemes is because they are legal.

  3. Alice Price RGN. BA says:

    They don’t really want to stop tax avoidances because they are all taking advantage of it. But, they will pretend to be doing something to control it. Of course it will be the less well of or the poor who really pay.

  4. Is that not a case if bolting the door once the horse has left the barn.
    HMRC ruthlessly purged their staff a good few years ago now.oeo0le who had been loyal committed and hard working employees,some if whom had spent most of their working life there and what happened? They had the misfortune to hit a period of bad health,problems in their personal life or even moved to an area of work they’d were completely unfamiliar with, ‘re located to new team,New manager maybe even new location and that’s where the s**t hit the fan! Their working life then became hell! They were on the slippery slope of warnings couched as support meetings and eventually managed out the door.Many of those previously loyal staff left with no confidence no job no pension and what do hard do a few years later.oh let’s hire more people who we can waste more money training, pay less ans give less favourable terms of employment and are shown the door when they can’t cope with a job they were never suited for anyway.

  5. You’re so right Moira but also, when new legislation was introduced, the government no longer had sufficient senior advisors so they hired consultants from the big four accountancy firms – the same consultants who then went back to their companies to find loopholes in the legislation they had helped draft.

  6. clare kneebone (@jclarekneebone) says:

    All so ironic…the wealthy get wealthy by exploiting us, then they hide their wealth and use that power to maintain or increase their wealth. We know they have done it and wont stop. So all that remains is for us to accept this or reject it. If democracy wont let us make change then many will believe that violence will….see history.

  7. Most inefficient managers favourite response is “Insufficient Staff”. A large organisation like HMRC needs first to get it’s priorities sorted. Then retrain and move staff according to their capabilities and the organisation’s need in achieving the set priorities.

  8. There is a relatively simple solution (but regressive and unfair) to the tax avoidance/evasion problem:
    1) As in the USA, make all UK citizens (irrespective of residence) and all UK residents and all businesses who transact any business in the UK — make them all file tax returns
    2) Scrap income tax and apply high taxes to consumption…the more you consume, the more tax you pay. This would apply to both businesses and individuals
    3) Tax all capital holdings by UK citizens and UK residents and UK businesses (irrespective of the location of the asset)
    4) Tax all capital transfers involving UK citizens and UK residents and UK businesses (irrespective of where the transfer takes place)
    5) Only allow tax rebates when the taxpayer can prove taxation of the same transaction or taxation of the same asset in some other tax jurisdiction
    6) Make the penalties for inaccurate tax returns VERY high (c.f. Paradise papers)

  9. Revise inheritance tax by removing the threshold and imposing a flat percentage on the amount of un-earned an un-taxed income on all estates, i.e. increase in property value, to include ‘trust’ income.Earned income has already been taxed, so it is massively unfair that hard-working individuals get taxed again, when massive un-earned trusts avoid incurring tax; legal, but morally wrong.

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