Pick Par­adise tax-dodgers’ ‘magic money tree’, says MP

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY -

“MAGIC MONEY trees” grow­ing on Bri­tish over­seas ter­ri­to­ries and crown de­pen­den­cies should be “picked” to help fund UK pub­lic ser­vices, Min­is­ters were told yes­ter­day.

Labour’s Jack Dromey (Birm­ing­ham Erd­ing­ton) crit­i­cised those whose “ill-got­ten gains” are “salted away” in Ber­muda, the Cay­man Is­lands and Jer­sey, adding ex­tra taxes could be used to help the po­lice, teach­ers and the health ser­vice.

His remarks came as Labour for­mer Min­is­ter Dame Mar­garet Hodge led an emer­gency de­bate on tax avoid­ance and eva­sion fol­low­ing the Par­adise Pa­pers leaks.

Ques­tions have been raised over the tax af­fairs of cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing Ap­ple, and in­di­vid­u­als such as For­mula One star Lewis Hamil­ton fol­low­ing the leak of mil­lions of doc­u­ments – the ma­jor­ity of which are from Ber­muda-based law firm Ap­pleby.

Speak­ing in the Com­mons, Mr Dromey said: “’There is no such thing as a magic money tree, the Prime Min­is­ter told a nurse who had not had an in­crease in eight years.

“Do you agree with me that there is – they grow on the Cay­man Is­lands, in Ber­muda and in Jer­sey, and were the ill-got­ten gains salted away of tax-dodg­ing to be picked and put into our pub­lic ser­vices we would not have po­lice of­fi­cers and teach­ers fac­ing the sack, and a cri­sis in the health ser­vice?”

Dame Mar­garet replied: “I com­pletely agree with your remarks, which are very per­ti­nent to what we’re dis­cussing in the de­bate.”

She added: “Pay­ing tax is an es­sen­tial part of the so­cial con­tract into which we all en­ter as mem­bers of com­mu­nity.

“As mem­bers of so­ci­ety, we agree to abide by a set of rules and reg­u­la­tions that make all our lives bet­ter. And one of those rules is that we agree to con­trib­ute through tax­a­tion into the com­mon pot for the com­mon good.”

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