Members of the Lords debated the economic and social consequences of tax evasion and avoidance yesterday (Thursday 6 June 2013)
The debate was opened by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) who outlined his thoughts on the social and economic consequences of tax evasion and avoidance, highlighting that '...the amount that we lose in the United Kingdom in uncollected taxes is a third of the deficit.’ He called for more transparency - for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), to ‘disclose the deals that are being done with big business,’ and ‘a multilateral automatic information’ exchange between the UK and other countries.
Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrat), a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, spoke about the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR), and how companies using offshore entities to avoid paying tax are destroying the ‘level playing field for many of our businesses, and in particular our domestic and small businesses.’
Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat), responded on behalf of the government, outlining plans to tackle tax avoidance, including new automatic exchange agreements and disclosure facilities with the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey and the introduction of the GAAR. He also talked about consumer power, and how ‘we can show our dissatisfaction with and distaste for the great tax avoiders.’