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George Osborne lands in hot water over tax avoidance?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is currently at the centre of a very high-profile row concerning some statements he made that might have been a wee bit false.

Well, I’m not standing here and calling George Osborne a liar. That would be a bit improper of me, after all. However, like the saying goes, if the shoe fits… and let’s be honest here: it looks like a very tight fit indeed. At least that’s what findings from the UK Statistics Authority indicate. Apparently the chancellor played a bit fast and loose with the truth by using figures that the Statistics Authority declared as ‘inappropriate’ in order to showcase how well the Government crackdown on tax avoidance was going.

Sure, the news sounded good: last March the chancellor’s Budget delineated how Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs was raking in shedloads of cash from multinationals and other high-powered earners that had been using tax shelters overseas and high-powered accountants to ferret away their cash out of the taxman’s reach. Apparently Mr Osborne said that HMRC had doubled the amount of tax it had collected from these tax dodgers, and there’s been a furore over the statement after it’s been revealed that those words of his might not have been exactly true.

So where did the chancellor make his mistake? Well it looks like that he was talking about a base outline of a tax collection target for this Parliament, which is like comparing apples to oranges – or more specifically money that was already physically collected by the Government. When confronted with the error, the chancellor of course stepped up and took the criticism like a man by rolling over and blaming HMRC.

Honestly I’m not surprised. I mean you catch a politician in a sticky situation and they’ll find a way to wriggle free if there is one. Now if the chancellor would go ahead and actually apologise for his gaffe I’d be a bit less annoyed with the man, but let’s be completely frank here: do you really expect him to go on record with an apology? It would mean that there’s actual physical proof that a Tory was actually wrong about something. Cor blimey, could you imagine the scandal!

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