When the phone hacking scandal was at its zenith, there was a question of whether more regulation was required of the media. As someone who puts a lot of blame at the media’s door for the ills of our political system and culture, I was initially quite happy with the notion. But the more that was revealed, the more it became apparent that increasing regulation was not what was required, rather simply enforcing current laws would have prevented the vast majority of the hacking scandals in the first place.
And so we have a similar case with tax. Forget increasing taxes, or introducing new taxes. Simply enforcing the current taxes we already have would go a long way to plugging to the budget deficit and providing the funds we need to grow out of recession.
As the Guardian reports, there is growing anger over the way large corporations dodge paying any/much tax – with Starbucks, IKEA, ebay, Facebook, Amazon and others all in the firing line – through to the levels of tax evasion and avoidance the Treasury suffers each year.
With the tax gap in the UK potentially standing at over a hundred billion pounds, and with major corporations dodging their responsibilities on tax, could this not be an area for Ed Miliband and the Labour party to find the funds they require to be seen as a credible alternative on the economy? Talk of tax increases will inevitably scare even those who aren’t going to be hit by them, but calling for the enforcement of what tax laws we already have and the cutting of tax dodging – with high profile instances of that having been in the media as well – the Labour leadership team could have a way of restoring their credibility and scoring points off the backs of the big corporations that have thrived at a time when ordinary people are struggling to get by.
And with the government planning to axe ten thousand jobs at HMRC, it offers a clear distinction between Labour and the Tories. The Tories are the party of making tax loopholes only the rich can exploit, Labour are for fairness in the tax system. It’s a rallying call which would be hard to refute and which could strike a real chord with voters right now.
A simple premise, a positive outcome; enforce the laws we have.