Budget 2011: “One of the biggest boosts for tax avoidance, ever”

24th March 2011

On his Tax Research UK blog Richard Murphy accuses George Osborne of making "token gestures" in his attack on tax avoidance after the chancellor pledged in his Budget speech that a crackdown would boost receipts by £1bn.

The chancellor told the House that his measures would raise £1bn and £4bn over the parliament" in the harshest attack "on tax avoidance in any budget in recent years.

Measures included plans to close down three forms of stamp duty land tax avoidance, reforms to capital gains tax and an assault on rarely repaid lifetime loans handed out by companies to their key executives.

Murphy, a director at Tax Research UK, says if the Chancellor was really serious, he would give HM Revenue & Customs a couple of billion a year to tackle this. "I reckon they could raise £20bn.

"Tax avoidance cost HMRC £14bn in 2008, Osborne said as he announced a clampdown on tax avoidance by the better-off."

In a report published this month, Tax Research UK stated that the country is missing out on £16bn in taxes because little is known about more than 500,000 companies that were dissolved in the year to March 2010, which often "disappeared forever".

Elsewhere,on the Guardian's live budget blog the Budget comes under criticism from commentators with Angela Eagle, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, suggesting that oil companies might try to recoup the £2bn they are having to pay in extra tax by putting prices up at the pumps.

But Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said :"We will be watching like a hawk to make sure that motorists get the benefit of the budget changes and make sure that there's no funny business."

George Osborne was also reported on the Financial Times website as delivering a Budget "that stuck defiantly to his plan to cut public sector borrowing and fuel private sector growth. "Britain has a plan and we are sticking to it," it reported Mr Osborne as saying. 

Mindful Money's coverage of the Budget

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