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12 Jan 2015 01:22pm

Cameron vows tax avoidance crack down

Prime minister David Cameron has vowed that a Conservative government in 2015 would continue to “crack down” on tax avoidance as part of the fight against the deficit

Delivering a speech ahead of this year’s general election in May, Cameron vowed to get Britain “living within its means”, and said that a Conservative government would crack down on avoidance schemes in order to raise a further £5bn in avoided tax every year.

The deal is this; if we cut your taxes, you have got to pay those taxes

David Cameron

“We will crack down on tax avoidance and ensure that those who can avoid to pay the most do so,” Cameron said.

The prime minister stressed that a Conservative government would ensure the UK maintaining “the most competitive” rates of corporation tax in the G20, levying less than other countries including Germany, Japan and the US.

However, Cameron also warned businesses that if they wanted to take advantage of generous corporation tax rates, they had to ensure it was properly paid.

He said, “The deal is this; if we cut your taxes, you have got to pay those taxes.

“If large corporations think they can come here, use our public services, take advantage of all the benefits of operating in Britain, and then use all manner of weird schemes to avoid paying tax, they are wrong.

“We will recoup another £5bn a year and use that money to get Britain back living within our means.”

Cameron's pledge was welcomed by the anti-poverty charity, ActionAid, which said it would be examining the detail of the promise "carefully".

ActionAid's head of advocacy, Barry Johnston, said, "While today’s announcement of a manifesto pledge to tackle tax avoidance is welcome news, we will be carefully examining the detail.

“In order to be properly fair, it must tackle tax dodging by UK firms in poor developing countries. These countries lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year to tax avoidance, which could otherwise be used to lift those countries out of poverty.

“We’re calling on all parties to make this a priority in the election," Johnston added. "Polling published at the end of last year showed that there is strong support for this from the UK population, with 85% of people saying tax avoidance was morally wrong and 78% of people believing large companies should pay their fair share of tax in developing countries.”

In recent years there have been a number of high profile tax avoidance cases, prompting public outrage and political condemnation.

Firstly, reports of celebrity involvement in tax avoidance plans – such as the hyper-aggressive Icebreaker scheme – hit headlines in May, before the Lux-Leaks scandal revealed the scale of complex corporate tax schemes going through Luxembourg.

Oliver Griffin

 

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