15 MAY 2013

Economic Growth & Tackling Tax Avoidance Speech

My constituents feel that 5 million in this country could work but do not. They ought to have more investment and opportunity, and more chances to fulfil their potential. That is why the reforms to welfare to make work pay, the reforms to the skills agenda, the reforms to control migration, and the reforms to control, police and secure our borders are important—they give our fellow citizens more of a chance to do well and succeed in life, and to see their potential unleashed.

I have set out my concerns on behalf of my constituents, who raise immigration on the doorstep time and again. They simply say to me, "I want my sons and daughters to have a chance. I want to be able to get a job, do well and succeed in life." The Conservative party is the party of aspiration and success, and the party of realising the potential that each and every one of us has. I support the Government's reforms.I also support the Government's reforms on tax avoidance and evasion. Let us imagine the Labour party's response if the Government doubled income tax and let "their chums" in big business off the hook. There would be howls of rage, and accusations that the Government are on the side of the rich and attacking the poor—accusations that they are latter-day sheriffs of Nottingham—but that is exactly what happened in 13 years of Labour government. Income tax receipts went up by 81%. The working people of this country were soaked with Labour party taxes. Meanwhile, leaving aside oil duties, corporation taxes went up by only 6%. Such is the legacy of the prawn cocktail offensive, representatives of which are in the Chamber.

The Labour Government sold the pass on fair and open competition for smaller businesses in this country in favour of large multinationals. People who work hard for a living were hit with high income taxes while large businesses were allowed to avoid taxes on an industrial scale. That is the legacy of 13 years of Labour. I am delighted that the Chancellor and the Queen's Speech rightly take action on that.

YouGov polls show that 62% of the public consider legal tax avoidance—it is all perfectly legal, is it not?—to be unacceptable. A ComRes poll has found that 84% agree that the Government should crack down on tax avoidance by businesses operating in the UK. Indeed, 60% are prepared to call the bluff of every large corporation that threatens to disinvest from the rich, highly vibrant and successful UK market, saying that the Government should crack down on business tax avoidance even if it caused unemployment and caused some companies to leave the UK.

That is how strongly the British people feel. I feel strongly, and I was delighted to hear that my hon. Friend Ian Swales does, too. The Government are right to deal with the legacy of tax

avoidance on an industrial scale. They are right to tackle the problem as an international problem, requiring international action. I therefore welcome the Chancellor's use of the UK presidency of the G8 to take collective action to deal with tax avoidance and evasion.

In particular, we need to reform tax presence. The idea that Amazon is based in Luxembourg defies reality to the ordinary person. They look askance at Amazon warehouses from the motorway and just do not buy the idea that Amazon is based in Luxembourg. The rules need to be updated to cope with the globalised, competitive, internet-enabled world in which we live.


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Charlie Elphicke

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term. 

Many of my appearances in the House of Commons are now on Youtube. Please click the link to watch the footage.

Please email me at charlie@elphicke.com or ring my office on 01304 379669 if you need to get in touch.