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(This isn’t satire – it’s David Gauke!)

Most people now know about Tory minister David Gauke’s mind-blowingly hypocritical statement that paying a plumber cash in hand is “morally wrong” because it denies the country vital funds in the form of taxes when he worked as a tax avoidance lawyer himself and his wife is a lawyer who works for a firm which specialises in helping large corporations with their tax bills.

UPDATE – here’s a response from LexisNexis on Rachel Gauke:

Rachel Gauke: A response from LexisNexis

But this isn’t just annoying. As a result of this government policy, small business people – plumbers – are actually going to prison for tax avoidance.

Last Friday, a plumber in Surrey who evaded income tax was sentenced to 12 months in prison after failing to register his earnings from his one-man plumbing company.

And in May another plumber from Hampshire was sentenced to four months in jail also for not paying taxes.

Numerous other plumbers have had their homes raided and been arrested on suspicion of tax avoidance.

These prison sentences are the result of a campaign to catch tax avoiders launched last year by the exchequer specifically targetting small business people who don’t have the funds and resources to defend themselves plumbers and electricians.

The exchequer has boasted it has saved £500m as a result of the campaign.

£500m? That’s not actually that much compared to the £70 billion a year in tax estimated to be evaded by big corporations.

And it’s not even that much compared to the £759 million which the UK government paid to G4S last year for contracts it so spectacularly doesn’t manage to fulfil.

So the real question that I think needs to be asked is this:

When are we going to stop concentrating on small business people when it comes to tax evasion and start putting the large fry in prison too?

Answers on a postcard please to:

George Osborne MP
House of Commons

Or by email: tatton@tory.org


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