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Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick wants a crack-down on tax avoidance

PUBLISHED: 12:15 18 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:25 18 February 2015

Archant

Tax avoidance has been a big issue in the news as of late, particularly in relation to HSBC.

I am sure to many of you in the Borough, HSBC is a familiar face with its Canary Wharf headquarters towering above and viewable from, much of Poplar and Limehouse.

In a number of leaked documents, HSBC was found to have helped customers evade or avoid paying tax. The documents contained detailed information identifying thousands of HSBC clients allegedly guilty of tax evasion. Although the documents were originally leaked in 2007 by HSBC, they were passed onto the Government in May 2010.

It is therefore deeply concerning that in the five years the Government has been in receipt of these leaked documents, only one person has been found guilty of tax evasion.

It is clear the Government is not doing enough to prevent big corporations from using illegal means to avoid paying their taxes.

In a time when living standards are low, where families in and around Poplar and Limehouse are struggling to make ends meet, tax avoidance continues to be devastating blow to those hardest hit by this Government’s austerity measures.

However, this is not to forget the many businesses in the Borough, particularly those situated in Canary Wharf, who do follow appropriate tax regulations and who do pay the correct money they owe. It has not gone unnoticed that many companies contribute greatly to the local community with money, resources and through volunteers.

Nevertheless, the Government urgently need to crack down on tax avoidance, close loopholes and increase transparency in the tax system.

I would also like to see the Government ensure there is greater independent scrutiny of the tax system and do more to ensure the public can see who owns firms and how much tax they pay.

These so called ‘tax havens’ for the rich are costing us ordinary, hard-working people, British families and businesses alike.

Labour is proposing an international blacklist giving UK tax havens just six months to get their house in order or face being sanctioned which I believe is a good step towards tackling this issue.

Ultimately, individuals and companies alike should pay their fair share, and where the international rules are not fit for purpose we have to change them and this is what Labour promises to do if elected this May.

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