This week in the House of Commons, Jo pressed Chancellor George Osborne to ensure the wealthy contribute the most to the Government’s deficit reduction plan.
During Treasury questions, Jo asked the Chancellor to guarantee that more affluent individuals and businesses are not able to dodge their contribution to the burden of the economic challenges ahead by avoiding tax bills.
The Chancellor replied that the Government has made decisions to ensure that the burden is fairly shared, through the bank levy and removing benefits from higher rate taxpayers, as well as stopping off-shore tax avoidance.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Whilst we are tackling the deficit and taking decisions to undo the financial mess that Labour left us in, we must ensure the richest in our society pay their fair share. I know that the feeling of outrage is shared by hard-working people up and down the country at the idea that the richest are able to wriggle themselves out of paying taxes, so I welcome moves to stop off-shore tax avoidance and a levy on the banks. I will continue to press upon the Government the importance of spreading the burden fairly so that the most vulnerable in society do not suffer.”
Notes to editors
The text of Jo’s question to the Chancellor George Osborne appears below:
16 Nov 2010: Column 744
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): As my right hon. Friend says, it is right that in reducing the deficit, those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden, but do the Government understand the genuine anger that the public feel when it seems as though wealthy individuals and large companies can get away without paying their tax bills? What reassurance can the Minister give my constituents that the richest in society will pay their fair share?
Mr Osborne: We have taken a number of decisions to make sure that the burden is fairly shared. We have introduced the bank levy, and we are taking child benefit away from higher rate taxpayers, although that is clearly opposed by Labour. We are also seeking to conclude a number of deals with countries that have a reputation for attracting tax avoidance and tax evasion, such as the deal that we are negotiating with Switzerland. That will ensure that there are further revenues coming into the Exchequer from those who can afford it.