Monday 5 February 2018 / 9:13 PM Economy / John McDonnell

The Tories are letting global tax dodgers off the hook – John McDonnell

New research obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Labour and published today exposes that billions of pounds in tax is going uncollected from Tory tax avoidance measures introduced since 2010.

The data obtained by Labour from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request are the latest HMRC forecasts passed on to the OBR in order to assess the effectiveness of the Government’s tax avoidance measures.

The findings reveal a £2.1 billion (or 25%) shortfall in what these 28 measures would collect compared to what was first claimed by the government at fiscal events since 2010.

In one measure alone, £649 million (or 65%) went uncollected in offshore evasion.

This new information reveals the Government’s weak record on clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion over this period.

Last month the Shadow Chancellor raised the issue of global tax avoidance and evasion in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos and called for greater international action. He proposed an international Hippocratic oath from accountancy firms and big multinationals that they would not engage in or facilitate tax avoidance and evasion practices.

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“These figures expose the utter failure of this Tory Government over the last 7 years to ensure that the super-rich and big corporations are paying their fair share in tax.

“This could be just the tip of the iceberg. After the Paradise Papers revelations last year, we know the government are quick to press release action, but slow to deliver on it – but now they have been shown to not even deliver on what they originally promised.

“It further reveals that the Tories are dragging their feet on this issue – they like to talk the talk on tax avoidance, but they never truly walk the walk. They never go far enough, and their failed action on this issue discloses that deep down tax avoidance for them is an acceptable practice for the super-rich and big business whose interests they serve.

“The Chancellor is still planning to continue with his party’s record of failure on tax avoidance, while at the same time pursuing his austerity agenda and handing out billions in tax giveaways to the same wealthy elite that fund their party.

“We need an urgent change of direction from Philip Hammond. It’s not acceptable any longer for our public services like the NHS to go on being underfunded, while the Tories refuse to take serious action to properly clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion.

“The next Labour government will implement thorough measures to crack down on tax dodging by the super-rich and big corporations under our Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme.”


Notes to editors:

Announced Measure Amount uncollected

(£ million)

% difference from original
Autumn Statement 2010 Using RTI PAYE to inform tax credits calculations -141 -40%
Budget 2011 VAT: fraud on imported road vehicles -5 -5%
Budget 2012 Capital allowance: plant or machine leasing -4 -12%
Autumn Statement 2012 Cross-award recovery -81 -63%
Autumn Statement 2012 Full-time non-advanced education error and fraud -71 -39%
Autumn Statement 2012 Maximising revenue -35 -27%
Budget 2013 Improved coding out -7 -25%
Budget 2013 Avoidance schemes: enhanced information powers -3 -8%
Autumn Statement 2013 Tax credits improved collection -38 -30%
Autumn Statement 2013 Error and fraud additional capacity -146 -63%
Autumn Statement 2013 Extending tax credit debt collection -30 -31%
Autumn Statement 2013 Oil and Gas bareboat chartering -26 -25%
Autumn Statement 2013 Dual Contracts -2 -4%
Autumn Statement 2013 Venture Capital Trusts: share buy-backs -16 -55%
Budget 2014 Increasing recovery rate -3 -8%
Budget 2014 Restricting migrants’ access to benefits -2 -5%
Autumn Statement 2014 Strengthening the self-employed test -1 -2%
Autumn Statement 2014 HMRC’s use of the debt market integrator -40 -21%
Various Offshore evasion -649 -65%
Various Accelerated payments -154 -15%
Various Employment intermediaries -97 -18%
Various Partnerships -144 -22%
Various Base Erosion and profit shifting -175 -34%
Autumn Statement 2014 Corporation tax: country-by-country reporting* -3 -33%
Budget 2016 Disguised remuneration: tackling historic and new schemes – Employee benefit trusts* -24 -5%
Budget 2016 Offshore property developers: tackle avoidance and evasion (legislation)* -101 -26%
Budget 2016 Offshore property developers: tackle avoidance and evasion (taskforce)* -12 -26%
Summer Budget 2015 HMRC operational measures* -111 -6%
Totals -2,119 -25%