Autumn Budget 2017: Shadow chancellor calls for tax avoidance crackdown

Autumn Budget 2017: Shadow chancellor calls for tax avoidance crackdown

John McDonnell outlined Labour's vision to fund public services by clamping down on tax avoidance

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has lambasted the government for “giving the tax cuts to the corporations and the rich” and called for an “emergency Budget” to end austerity in public services.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, McDonnell outlined Labour’s vision to raise public spending by £17bn and fund it through increasing taxes on the wealthy and reversing corporate tax cuts.

In a speech in London the shadow chancellor railed against the Conservative approach of lowering the corporation tax rate in a bid to be competitive, stating: “Tax cuts introduced for both since 2010, including Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax, will cost us over £70bn over the next five years.”

“I don’t think that’s acceptable when our public services are in such a crisis,” he told Radio 4.

Referring to Brexit, McDonnell claimed some of the cabinet “want us to be a tax haven off the edge of continental Europe and are willing to sacrifice our manufacturing base, we’re not willing to tolerate that.”

McDonnell also reiterated Labour’s objective to clamp down on tax avoidance, invigorated by the revelations of the Paradise Papers.

The Labour manifesto initially predicted £6.5bn could be raised through clamping down on tax avoidance, and McDonnell stated: “now we know from the Paradise Papers it must be significantly more than that.”

In his speech the shadow chancellor claimed the UK loses at least £16bn a year to tax havens. He added: “Labour’s Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme is the comprehensive means to close the loopholes and end tax evasion.”

He criticised the government for throwing out “dodgy statistics” and “introducing loopholes” such as “the ‘controlled foreign company’ rule changes, which open the door to tax avoidance, and is now under investigation by the European Commission.”

McDonnell also outlined Labour’s other Budget priorities to be pausing the roll-out of Universal Credit, public sector pay rises, launching a house-building programme and increasing funding for health, education, and local government.

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