Balls: “Rock and roll” time for tax avoiders

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, speaking at the Unions 21 conference this morning, said that George Osborne’s cuts could spell a “rock and roll” period for tax avoidance, reports Dominic Browne.

Ed Balls, speaking at the Unions 21 conference this morning, said that George Osborne’s cuts could spell a “rock and roll” period for tax avoidance.

In response to a question on the £44bn tax gap caused by increasingly blatant methods of tax avoidance, the shadow chancellor said:

“There are two issues: tax evasion which is illegal and tax avoidance… Companies involved in tax avoidance employ thousands of highly skilled people working all the time to find ways round our tax system.

“The only way to stop them is for HMRC to employ lots and lots of highly skilled people to work to try and anticipate and second guess what these people can do to avoid tax.

“Now if I was working for a company involved in this and I saw George Osborne cutting workers from HMRC I would think this is a real opportunity; I would think rock and roll, this is my moment.”

Mr Balls said that many tax breaks designed to encourage long term investment in the UK are abused by people who simply pretend to be making such investments.

He said:

“An incentive to good behaviour can sometimes also be an incentive to bad behaviour.”

This follows hot on the on the heels of reports of companies disappearing from our tax system altogether as well as the persistent issue of tax heavens and the super rich who pay lower tax levels than their cleaners

This only gives more incentive for progressives of all shades to back bills to reform the tax system – like Caroline Lucas’s, which Left Foot Forward reported on yesterday – and provide proper regulation on this issue.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

15 Responses to “Balls: “Rock and roll” time for tax avoiders”

  1. Unions 21

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @EdBallsMP: "Rock and roll" time for tax avoiders: @Unions21 #unions21conference

  2. Dan Whittle

    RT @leftfootfwd: . @EdBallsMP: "Rock and roll" time for tax avoiders: @Unions21 #unions21conference

  3. Anon E Mouse

    At last good stuff from Labour instead of the usual nitpicking.

    Let’s all hope we can start with the Guardian newspaper and the media group then readers and supporters like Mr.Sensible can hang their heads in shame…

  4. Mark Stevo

    Amazing, Balls had 10 years to tackle this and didn’t.

  5. David Mullen

    The tax gap was largely created under labour. Labour will not have any credibility until it drops the disastrous and discredited “free market” policies which it pursued while in office.

  6. Dave Citizen

    If Labour, or any other government for that matter, is going to address this problem it will need to have guts and a good measure of faith in Britain’s domestic business community: Guts to challenge powerful international financial interests and confidence that our own business community will step in when international capital withdraws to punish Britain for stepping out of line.

  7. Look Left – World finally decides to take action against Gaddafi | Left Foot Forward

    […] resulting in at least £16 billion of tax lost to the Exchequer – while today Ed Balls described the cuts to HMRC as “rock and roll” time for tax […]

  8. Mr. Sensible

    We’ve seen many examples of government cuts turning out to be faulse economies, but this is probably the biggest example.

  9. Charlotte TPA

    Balls is a comedian "Hire more skilled people @ HMRC only solution" Try simplify the tax system

  10. Rich

    Thankfully the coalition is doing a hell of a lot better than Labour did on this area. It needs to do a lot more, but at least it’s doing something rather than pretending everything is brilliant with our tax system. Balls really has no connection between what he says now and what he did. Utter hypocrite.

  11. Dizzying Crest

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls: "Rock and roll" time for tax avoiders

  12. Glasto, where the tax dodgers are named | Left Foot Forward

    […] Balls called the current climate of government cuts “rock and roll” time for tax avoiders, so it’s fitting that U2 are performing at Glastonbury this […]

  13. Richard

    We could also start with the Daily Mail group so that people like Mickey Mouse also hang their head in shame.

  14. Protesters demand resignation of HMRC boss for colluding with tax avoiders | Left Foot Forward

    […] Balls: “Rock and roll” time for tax avoiders – Dominic Browne, March 18th […]

Leave a Reply