Paradise Papers: Government urged to tackle tax avoidance in Budget


The administration should use next week’s Budget to crack down on issues of tax avoidance bring to an ended by the release of the Paradise Papers, an ex-minister says.

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who led an difficulty debate on the leaked documents, said tax avoidance was “a national and international blemish”.

She called for new laws to force big firms to report profits more plainly.

Treasury Minister Mel Stride said the government had a “very strong alley record” in tackling tax avoidance.

The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, check 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading offshore finance undeviating.

The papers raised questions about how politicians, multinational companies, celebrities and other high-net-worth individuals use complex builds to protect their cash from higher taxes.

Speaking in the Commons, Dame Margaret – who was in the chiffonier under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and is also a former chairman of the Commons Admitted Accounts Committee – said tax avoidance was now a “widely accepted behaviour of too myriad of those who are rich and influential”.

The practice is taking place on an “industrial prorate increase”, she told MPs.

She said the record of the last Labour government had not been “as data d fabric as I would have wanted”, but added that the actions of the current regime had been “inadequate and somewhat hypocritical”.

The Paradise Papers show cartels and individuals are using certain financial jurisdictions – viewed as tax havens by some, offshore business centres by others – to lower their taxes on profits or assets.

They involve a number of UK Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories, such as the Isle of Man and Jersey.

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Dame Margaret called for legislation to current multinational firms to report their profits “on a country-by-country basis, so that proprietorships can be taxed where they make their profits”.

And she called on the Bank to introduce a new public register of property ownership and to help British tax havens “in converting their economies”.

“The government needs to grasp this moment to act. They procure an opportunity to do so in next week’s Budget,” she said.

“Britain will not in the least get rich on dirty money and our public services cannot function if the most opulent individuals and the most powerful companies deliberately avoid paying their comme a share.”

Mr Stride said the government had raised £160bn as a consequence of clamping down on tax avoidance since 2010.

He advertised MPs: “One of the problems is we have been so active in bringing in so many measures that unfortunately not all of them play a joke on been noticed.”

However, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Funds, Peter Dowd, called for the government to introduce a public register of offshore corporations.

“It should also stop cuts to HMRC [HM Revenue and Customs] and make sure HMRC has the staff and resources it needs to enable it to tackle avoidance at its marrow,” he added.


Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, a former government chief beat, said the “time has come” to insist on the same levels of transparency for British abroad territories as the UK.

He echoed the call for tax havens to have a public register of investments, adding: “Diaries must be open to the media, to journalists, to NGOs and to those people who can be coextensive with up the dots.”

The leaked papers were also debated in the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, on Tuesday where the EU’s tax commissioner imparted finance professionals who enable aggressive tax avoidance were “vampires” who “forebodings the light”.

Pierre Moscovici said only greater transparency purposefulness work as a deterrent.

He called on EU members to agree “in the next six months” on projects to force tax advisers to report avoidance schemes devised for clients.

Mr Moscovici also urged countries to jibe consent to on a blacklist of tax havens by the end of the year.

The papers are a huge batch of leaked records mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax clutches, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate leviathans and business leaders.

The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then split with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led up on for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other intermediation organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the particularity of the source.

Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Stew using #ParadisePapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag “Paradise Papers”

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