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…