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Tax Evasion

Volume 641: debated on Tuesday 22 May 2018

16. What steps he has taken to give Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs the appropriate powers and resources to tackle tax evasion. (905484)

The Government have brought in more than 100 measures to clamp down on tax avoidance, evasion and non-compliance since 2010, and the associated powers that HMRC has had in that respect. We have protected and brought in £175 billion across that period, which is substantially more than we invest in our national health service every year.

Almost 15,000 HMRC and Valuation Office Agency jobs have been lost since 2010, and that is alongside tax office closures up and down the country. With potential changes to our customs border on the horizon, does the Chancellor not agree that now would be the time to invest in HMRC, and put a stop to all planned cuts and closures?

I am pleased to be able to inform the hon. Lady that we have been investing heavily in HMRC to clamp down on the issues she has raised—we are talking about some £2 billion since 2010. We have 23,000 staff in HMRC engaged in that purpose and we consequently have about the lowest tax gap in the entire world, at 6%, which is far lower than it was in any year under the previous Labour Government.