Tax evasion crackdown to net £4bn
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 25 September 2012
The Government's crackdown on tax dodging will bring in £4bn this year, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will announce today. He will tell the Liberal Democrat conference that HMRC's 200-strong "Affluence Unit" is on course to double the £2bn it raised last year and increase the figure to £7bn by 2015.
Mr Alexander welcomed yesterday's disclosure in The Independent that many of Britain's most wealthy people do not seek to avoid paying tax. "We are not saying that all of the super-rich are tax dodgers," said a Treasury source.
But the Treasury minister will reassure Liberal Democrat delegates: "Fair taxes in tough times mean everyone playing by the same rule book. We have this message to the small minority of wealthy people who don't play by the rules: we are coming to get you and you will pay your fair share."
Mr Alexander, who will expand the Affluence Unit to a 300-strong body, will promise a new crackdown on people who hide their assets offshore. A 2009 agreement with Liechtenstein, allowing British people with assets there to bring their tax affairs up to date, was expected to raise £1bn. But the HMRC team working on this project will be doubled and could now net £3bn.
George Osborne's deputy will argue the Government must stick to its economic Plan A but say its deficit-reduction strategy is more flexible than it is given credit for. "There could not be a worse time to argue that we should abandon our plan," he will tell the party.
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