Stopping Tax Evasion? Unthinkable!

Posted: November 28, 2011 in anti-cuts resistance, politics
Tags: , , , ,

Richard Murphy suggests an alternative to the Tories’ austerity agenda:

The US has an evasion rateabout two thirds that of the UK. If we had reduced our tax evasion rate to US levels in the last decade we might owe £200bn less in debt now. Alternatively, cuts of more than £20bn a year could be avoided in the UK economy now with our debt still being tackled at the current rate. That could prevent most of the current stress in the NHS; sixth-formers would still have maintenance allowances and we might not be facing a national strike next week.

Most importantly, though, I believe that this reduction in tax evasion in the UK and elsewhere is possible. As the Tax Justice Network’s new Tackle Tax Havens website shows, tax havens help serious tax evaders hide their crime. We could stop that by demanding that tax havens be transparent about the individuals, companies, trusts that use these places, starting with the UK’s own tax havens and then moving on from there. The world’s shadiest places and their users would then come under the scrutiny that’s needed to make sure tax is paid.

We could change things at home, too. Despite government claims that they are tackling this issue they’re still planning to cut 12,000 jobs at HM Revenue & Customs over the next few years; job losses that will simply deny our tax authority the people needed to chase tax due by cheats in this country. That makes no sense. Twenty thousand new staff at HMRC could transform government finances and with it the state of our national economy. Tackling tax evasion is in the national interest and in the world’s interest. Now we know just how much tax is evaded a new strategy for tackling the world’s deficits is available.

I’m sorry? Is anyone still saying there’s no alternative to swingeing cuts? What sense is there at all in cutting 12 THOUSAND jobs at HMRC, when collecting tax is one of the most important issues of our time? Could it be ideological perhaps, to add to the meme that ‘there’s no alternative’?

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