MP slams lack of action

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SNP TREASURY spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP has repeated his claim that UK government rhetoric on action against tax dodgers is not being put into effect.

The Dundee East MP took up the issue after a parliamentary question revealed that the number of staff employed in HMRC Enforcement and Compliance department including specialist and criminal investigations teams has fallen by 1,529 since the Tory Lib Dem coalition came to power.

Mr Hosie said: “Danny Alexander the Chief Secretary made a promise in his 2011 conference speech that the UK Government would recruit an extra 2,000 tax inspectors to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance.

“The Tax Justice Network estimates that tax avoidance costs the UK economy £69.9 billion a year, a colossal amount that is equivalent to over two years worth of the Scottish Parliament’s entire budget.

“Danny Alexander’s promise has not materialised and although he tells tax evaders ‘we are coming to get you’ the number of tax inspectors has actually fallen by over 1,500 on his watch.”

He continued: “One could say that it is a tax fraud to promise more tax inspectors when they have been cut by such a number.

“They are cutting 10,000 posts at HMRC offices across the UK and although this is not going to affect the staffing in Dundee, I fail to see how it is going to help crack down on tax evasion and avoidance.

“At a time when significant and damaging cuts are being imposed on Scotland by the UK Government, I would like to see additional resources allocated to tackling tax avoidance and evasion that would help to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share.”