HC Deb 06 July 1971 vol 820 cc1106-7
8. Mr. Meacher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the precise terms of reference of the special committee that has been set up within the Inland Revenue to investigate tax avoidance; how is tax avoidance exactly defined and interpreted; and when is the committee expected to report.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The committee is a sub-committee of the Tax Reform Committee, about which my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary answered a Question on 16th February. It has no set terms of reference but is examining the anti-avoidance provisions in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act, 1970. It will report to my right hon. Friend in confidence from time to time.

Mr. Meacher

I regret that the reports will be in confidence. Will the Minister confirm that the latest official reports of his own Department reveal that the total of illegal evasion of income tax, profits tax and surtax, now standing at £9 million a year, is between 10 and 15 times more than the total fraudulent claims for all social service benefits, again according to official reports? Does he not consider, therefore, that it is in the national interest that the terms of the Fisher Committee should be extended to include this much bigger source of fraud through tax evasion?

Mr. Jenkin

With the greatest respect, evasion has nothing whatever to do with tax avoidance, which is the subject matter of this committee's deliberations.

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