Cash-in-hand work condemned as 'morally wrong' by Treasury minister


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The Independent Online

The practice of paying workmen “cash in hand” was condemned as “morally wrong” today by a Treasury minister.

David Gauke’s comments came as he signalled fresh action to tackle tax avoidance by the super-rich, including a crackdown on unscrupulous tax avoiders.

But the Exchequer Secretary made clear he also had the less wealthy in his sights as he attacked the widespread use of cash to settle bills from plumbers, builders and domestic staff.

Mr Gauke told reporters: “Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others must pay more in tax.”

Asked directly if he disapproved of the practice, he replied: “Yes, I think it’s morally wrong.”

He added: “It is illegal for the plumber, but it is pretty implicit in these circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”

Mr Gauke confirmed moves, in a speech to the think-tank Policy Exchange, to “name and shame” companies which fail to disclose the use of tax-avoidance schemes. The people behind them will be forced to take personal liability for promoting them.