Over the last 2 weeks Scott Jones, TUSC candidate in Llanelli, has been contacted by dozens of people in the Llanelli constituency asking 'What will you do to crack down on tax dodging?' Thank you to all those who have got in touch, below is content of Scott's reply:
The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition recognises how big an issue this is. If the tax avoided and evaded every year in Britain were collected, then cuts to public services would be unnecessary and austerity a thing of the past.
I believe that recent media revelations show that the private banking service offered to HSBC's Swiss account holders is more akin to an advisor to a mafia don than to a traditional financial advisor. The leak shows that HSBC's Swiss bank helped clients conceal black accounts and dodge taxes all over the world.
Although these revelations are being made public now, the information was leaked in 2007 and made available to governments in 2010. Of the 7,000 UK citizens on the list, only one has been prosecuted in five years.
Many countries started criminal investigations against HSBC last year - but the UK government shows no sign of action against the London-based bank. That may be due to the role played in the Tory Party by HSBC boss at the time - Stephen Green. Green was made a Conservative peer and minister of trade and investment eight months after the allegations were known by the government.
Labour has called for a public inquiry. But with Tristram Hunt, the shadow education minister, declaring that Labour is "furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business", there is little chance that it would do anything to curb these excesses.
As for TUSC, firstly, I would support the campaign to introduce the tax dodging bill currently being promoted. Secondly, I would reverse the cuts to frontline HMRC staffing made by Labour, Tory and LibDems Governments in the last 15 years and support the PCS union in fighting cuts. We need more frontline staff to catch these tax dodging parasites. Thirdly, I would ensure that those who steal millions from our public services in tax fraud receive at least the same treatment as those who are currently prosecuted for benefit fraud. Overall I would focus on prosecuting the super-rich for tax dodging rather than poor families struggling to cope in our inequality, poverty ridden society. Fourthly, I would campaign for the public ownership of all banks in the UK. The wealth, resources and any socially useful financial expertise these institutions have should be used to support job creation and public services. We don't need rich bankers helping their super-rich pals to get even richer at our expense.
These billions held by HSBC in Switzerland, and all of the money held in other tax-havens around the globe, should be invested productively to provide jobs, services and a better quality of life for ordinary people.
Llanelli TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate