Mike challenges Chancellor over tax avoidance

Angus MP Mike Weir has challenged the Chancellor of the exchequer to use the resources of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to proactively look at the activities of the major banks and accountancy firms tax avoidance activities.

Mr Weir was speaking during an urgent question in the House of Commons on the recent reports of the activities of HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary, Mr Weir said

“The revelations about HSBC are just the latest in a long line of misdeeds by our banks, which are undermining confidence in the system throughout. Too often, HMRC seems to be on the back foot. The Chancellor said that if it required more resources it would be given them. Will he commit those resources to a proactive investigation of the role of banks, and some of the larger accountancy firms, in both tax avoidance and tax evasion?”

In response the Chancellor noted that more money was being retrieved but accepted more needed to be done.

Commenting on the matter afterwards Mr Weir said it was vital that we had a tax system that had the confidence of everyone.

“The latest revelations of the extent of tax avoidance, and indeed evasion, is undermining trust in the system. It is imperative that HMRC take action to deal with this issue and do so proactively by looking at the activities of those involved and not simply reacting to events once they come to light.”

“There are growing concerns about the way in which large companies and rich individuals avoid paying tax, an abuse that successive governments have failed to tackle. At a time when we are facing unprecedented strains on our public finances it is imperative that government takes all necessary action in order to ensure that all tax that is legitimately due is paid.”