The Government must be much more radical. It should refuse to give contracts funded by the taxpayer’s pound to any company that has been involved in aggressive tax avoidance. Why not publish the names of companies and individuals who have deliberately avoided paying fair taxes?
Margaret Hodge MP has shares in the family company, Stemcor. The majority of this stake is held in trust for her children and grandchildren. This is clearly an avoidance (an entirely legal, I should point out, but avoidance nonetheless) of inheritance tax when that dread day comes that Mrs. Hodge pops her clogs. Whether it is actually tax avoidance is a matter of personal definition of course. I would say that it isn’t tax avoidance as it is the simple use of the law to reduce a tax bill. But apparently Mrs. Hodge has a different view on what is and is not tax avoidance than I do.
The avoidance is significant: the stake is, I believe, £18 million or so. 40% of that is £7.2 million.
Clearly therefore the salary paid to Margaret Hodge MP must be withdrawn: we cannot have a government contract with someone avoiding tax, can we?