UK corporation tax ‘under relentless attack’

Link: Treasury cautioned over avoidance laws

Newcastle-Central Labour MP Jim Cousins called on chief treasury secretary Paul Boateng ‘to mount a robust defence of Britain’s corporation tax revenues’.

Cousins, a senior member of the treasury committee, urged cooperation with ‘tax authorities in Germany and the United States that seem to be engaged in a similar battle’.

The MP earlier warned of the danger that the drive against tax avoidance might falter if chancellor Gordon Brown is moved – as pundits predict – to the post of foreign secretary after the general election expected in May.

Cousins’ attack was mounted on the largest accountancy firms during Treasury Questions after former Tory shadow chief secretary David Heathcoat-Amory accused the Treasury of over estimating receipts from corporation tax for the fourth year in a row.

He said: ‘The loss of revenue is now £37.7 billion in total for those four years. What tax increases are the government planning to make up the tax gap?’

Boateng said corporation tax growth was only one element of receipts forecasts. The three largest taxes – income tax, national insurance and VAT – were broadly as expected and corporation tax forecasts were on track to be realised.

He told Cousins that the UK is working closely with the countries he mentioned and paymaster general Dawn Primarolo was pursuing ‘her agenda of ensuring that we bear down heavily on tax avoidance.’

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