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Barking MP accuses BBC of mass tax avoidance

Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, says she suspects that there could be as many as 25,000 BBC employees have complicit involvement in tax avoidance schemes.

Ms Hodge, who is also the Commons spending watchdog, said that the initial number of BBC contract workers that could be playing more than a little fast and loose with the rules were much lower at first, but new evidence has raised the expectations of tax avoidance activity by a significant margin. The new 25,000 figure includes 4,5000 backroom staff and presenters, more than 400 of whom are paid more than £50,000 per annum.

The BBC has come out strongly against the accusations of complicity in tax avoidance schemes. The publicly-funded broadcasting firm has gone on record that the lion’s share of these 25,000 suspected tax dodgers aren’t using personal service companies as a way to avoid paying their fair share but are instead normal freelance contractors.

Ms Hodge said she was ‘shocked’ at the discovery that the BBC made use of approximately 25,000 contracts off payroll. Over  half of this figure – around 13,000 – are represented by the BBC’s ‘public face,’ those most familiar to the listening and viewing public as presenters, the Barking MP also said.

The impropriety of paying public sector staff whilst avoiding paying proper tax and national insurance levels is ‘staggering,’ said Ms Hodge, adding that the public sector has a responsibility to demonstrate leadership in stamping out tax avoidance, not to turn a blind eye to it.

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