From UK Uncut:

Treasury Minister David Gauke last night attempted to reshape the public debate around tax avoidance and evasion by focusing government anger at trades people ‘dealing cash in hand’.

Public anger at tax avoidance has been growing recently fueled by the action of groups such as UK Uncut targeting corporate tax avoiders, and by newspaper revelations about the tax affairs of high profile celebrities such as Jimmy Carr.

David Gauke chose to ignore the revelations from this weekend that a global economic elite of less than 100,000 people hoard over £13 trillion pounds in offshore tax havens[3], instead focusing his moral condemnation on the cash in hand economy of cleaners, plumbers and builders.

Gauke’s comments came after an earlier announcement about plans to ‘name and shame’ aggressive tax avoiders. This statement comes barely a month after the government announced plans to slash a further 10,000 jobs from HMRC , as part of £3 billion worth of cuts to the tax department introduced by the Coalition.

Kat Templeton, a spokeswoman from UK Uncut said:

‘Everyone knows that the likes of Vodafone are the real problem not people who pay carpenters and cleaners a few quid in cash. The government should be focusing their efforts on getting back the missing billions of tax dodged by the super-rich. There is £13 trillion currently sitting in tax havens, more than the combined GDP of the USA and Japan. Plumbers, builders and carpenters didn’t cause this, companies like Vodafone, Tesco, Boots did.

Clamping down on tax avoidance by super-rich corporations and individuals offers a genuine alternative to the cuts to our vital public services, which have driven us back into recession. The government should be ensuring that the super-wealthy pay their fair share, instead they are concentrating on dismantling our NHS and slashing the welfare state.’

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, speaking about the hypocrisy of the government’s statements on tax avoidance said:

‘It tells you everything you need to know about this government that ministers have chosen to give a speech on tax avoidance at an organisation whose trustee, the Conservative donor George Robinson, has just been found to have used an offshore avoidance scheme and had to pay back millions of pounds.’