The anti-cuts direct action group, UK Uncut, has criticised what they call the government’s double standards on corporate tax affairs stemming from David Gauke’s contradictory statements regarding Barclays’ tax dodging and PwC’s report calling for a low business tax rate.

On Barclays, Daniel Garvin, from the campaign group said:

“This shows what the government can do when it chooses to act on tax avoidance. But we are calling for the Treasury to go beyond this gesture and start clawing back all the money that banks and other big businesses are avoiding through tax scams. This £500m should be immediately invested into the vital public services that have been lost or are under threat as a result of the government’s cuts.”

However, not long after David Gauke announced this measure, he gave a speech at the launch of a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the tax contributions made by the One Hundred Group- the big business lobbying body.

The report by PwC points to a 13% rise in tax paid during the financial year 2010 – 2011. The report was designed to show how much big business contributes to UK public funds every year, and suggests a low tax rate in the UK is preferable so that big business can maintain its operations in the country. This, the campaigners say shows “double standards” within government on corporate tax affairs.

Molly Sollomons, from UK Uncut, said:
“The government is being completely two-faced when it comes to corporate tax affairs. While the clamp down on Barclays tax scams is welcome, the Treasury endorsed a report this morning by PwC who are key players in creating multiple tax avoidance structures that cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds in uncollected tax. Indeed, PwC was one of the companies that helped devise the Vodafone and Goldman Sachs offshore tax structures.”

“The PwC report simply says that big companies made big profits so paid more in tax. That’s not news. What the report fails to mention is the £12bn in corporation tax avoided every year and the £25bn in taxes that corporations are currently fighting HMRC not to pay. It also is a good demonstration of how big business is continuing to profit off the back of market monopolies and government subsidies whilst the rest of us struggle.”

“This move on Barclays does not mean that the fight to stop tax dodging and the cuts is anywhere near over and this contradictory statement from Gauke shows this only too clearly. The government continues to turn a blind eye to tax dodging by big business, banks and rich individuals whilst pushing forward its plans to privatise the NHS, dismantle the welfare state and make the poorest pay for an economic crisis they did not cause.”


notes to editors.

The PwC report was based on the One Hundred Group. This is a lobbying group for big business which includes some of the biggest tax avoiders in this country, such as Barclays. They have been writing new offshore tax rules with the Treasury that will mean offshore profits are taxed at 5.5%, so that, we the taxpayer, will lose £1bn a year.