MP Graham Jones in cash-in-hand tax dodge rap in wake of Jimmy Carr offshore furore (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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MP Graham Jones in cash-in-hand tax dodge rap in wake of Jimmy Carr offshore furore
AN MP has attacked the ‘cash in hand’ tax avoidance culture endemic in East Lancashire in the wake of the Jimmy Carr affair — revealing he had personally reported a local tradesman to the authorities.
Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones spoke out as celebrities came under fire for dodging tax.
Writing on his website the Labour backbencher said: “Jimmy Carr, Gary Barlow — it’s been quite a week for moralising about tax fairness at the top.
“An awakening Britain finding morality on tax fairness at the top is only part of the picture. For too long avoiding tax has been a cause to celebrate.
“At the last election I made the point in my election address that tax as a three-letter word had blended into an immoral context. I made the point that tax was in reality a contribution to the community, and the language of tax needed to change to redefine the morality of taxation.
“The reality is cash in hand in Hyndburn is all too frequent. In fact, it is endemic. People regularly offer, in particular sole traders, cash for jobs to avoid tax.
"People operate small non-taxed businesses, notably through eBay in their back room.
“I reported a plasterer who I believe had not paid any tax or NI in three years. He had never had a receipt book and saw no need. It was all cash in hand.
“I called at my local garage who told me what I know as a local MP — cash is king, the tax man the enemy. He told me the vast majority of customers offered and expected to pay by cash to knock off the 20 per cent VAT.
"He made the point that if he adds VAT he is undercut by those that don’t and so they bury the VAT in the quote, hopeful that their honesty won’t be punished.
“While the debate swirls aro-und the Prime Minister and the circus of wealthy celebrities caught not paying their fair share, there is a much wider question about the immorality of tax avoidance full stop.
"HMRC estimate some £35 billion of tax is uncollected and some estimate undeclared tax many times that amount.
“We shouldn’t laugh along with those that celebrate paying less tax, we should look in disdain.
“As I said to my mechanic, the irony is that those avoiding tax will be those that shout the loudest if they or their loved had to be denied expensive cancer treatment because of NHS cutbacks.”