Cameron backs anti-avoidance rule
Prime minister David Cameron today set the government on course to introduce an anti-avoidance tax rule for big business and wealthy individuals.
“One of the things we're going to be looking at this year is whether there should be a more general anti-avoidance power that HMRC can use, particularly on wealthy individuals and on the bigger companies, to make sure that they pay their fair share,” Cameron told small business owners at a PM Direct event at Intuit's headquarters in Maidenhead this morning.
Earlier, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg also pledged to tackle tax avoidance: “Millions of people who play by the rules, who pay their taxes, who work hard ... are angered when they feel there is a wealthy elite or large businesses who can pay an army of tax accountants to get out of paying their fair share of tax. They treat paying tax as an optional extra in which they can pick and choose the taxes they pay.”
Both leaders’ promises to get tough with corporate taxpayers contrasted with sentiments in an internal memo Treasury minister Daivd Gauke sent to HMRC staff in December following the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report into the department’s controversial large business settlements.
The party leader also announced at today's event at Intuit's headquarters changes to a number of health and safety rules, following chancellor George Osborne’s pledge during the Autumn Statement that employment law and health and safety reforms would be tackled in the next phase of the Red Tape Challenge.
The prime minister announced the government will extend the current scheme that caps the amount that lawyers can earn from small value personal injury claims up to £25,000 in order to address the fear from small businesses of being sued.
Ministers will also investigate the demands made by insurance companies on businesses and to change the health and safety law on strict liability for civil claims.