Tax avoidance drive may falter if Brown goes

Link: Brown to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance

He spoke to Accountancy Age following a reopening of the fued between the chancellor and the prime minister.

Although Tony Blair and Gordon Brown patched up relations, after claims that the PM had for a third time broken a promise to stand down for his older colleague, there are concerns that after the election expected in May the chancellor will be forced out of the Treasury – either to the backbenches or the Foreign Office.

Newcastle Central MP Jim Cousins said: ‘If Gordon leaves the Treasury, a fear is that the government’s strategy to crackdown on tax avoidance will stop. This is a very complex area and the chancellor has driven the agenda.’

He said that the chancellor’s personal crusade to make sure the rich and powerful – and big companies – pay the correct amount of tax was a key part of the Labour chancellor’s strategy.

Cousins said he could not see any alternative Labour chancellor who would pursue this agenda with the same vigour and rigour as Brown.

He feared that might give way to the combined might of rich people, big companies and accountants.

He is fully behind moves to tackle the tax avoidance industry by Labour, and wants to see the policy stepped up after the next election.

Brown has made it clear that the only job in government he wants – other than prime minister – is his current role as chancellor.

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