Osborne tax avoidance reforms ‘tinkering around the edges of a broken system'

5 December 2013 - 12:11pm
Press release

Responding to tax avoidance measures in the 2013 Autumn Statement, War on Want's tax campaigner Murray Worthy said:

“Today's “largest package of measures to tackle tax avoidance”, since the Chancellor's “largest ever package of measures to tackle tax avoidance” announced in the March 2013 Budget, is yet more tinkering around the edges of a broken tax system to try and grab headlines.

"These technical tweaks will do almost nothing to stop giant multinationals likes Amazon, Starbucks or Google dodging billions of pounds in tax every year. In fact this government has made it easier for these tax avoiding giants to deprive the government of vital revenue for tackling inequality and funding public services."

“No one should believe Osborne's claim that this package of tax avoidance measures will bring in £9 billion in the next five years. Last year he claimed that the government would get £3 billion from UK taxpayers hiding wealth in Switzerland, yet in reality the government is on course to get less than a third of that. Time and again Osborne overestimates the impact of his government's tax tinkering, this is just another example of his wishful thinking.”

Notes to editors

  • In the 2012 Budget, the government reformed the UK's anti-tax haven rules – Controlled Foreign Company rules – to make it easier for UK companies to shift profits through tax havens. This single move is estimated to have lost the UK government £1 billion a year and £4 billion a year to developing countries.
  • In October, HMRC admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that the government had only recouped £440 million from the treaty with Switzerland in banking secrecy in the first half of 2013, significantly short of the £3.12 billion estimated by the Chancellor in the 2012 Autumn Statement.



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