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