Mel Stride

    TREASURY MINISTER MEL STRIDE MP has welcomed the latest tax gap figures which show the success HMRC has had in reducing revenue lost to the public. The tax gap is the difference between the tax that should be paid to HMRC and the actual tax that has been paid, with UK being the only country in the world to regularly publish their tax gap in detail. The tax gap for 2016 to 2017 was 5.7% - down from 7.3% in 2005-2006. The difference equates to £71 billion in revenue for public services.

    The Central Devon MP, who serves as Financial Secretary to the Treasury, credited the hard work of HMRC staff and Government efforts to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, such as the 2017 Finance Bill which he took through Parliament last year. He said:

    “These really positive figures reflect the hard work that HMRC staff are putting in to help businesses get their tax returns right and chase those who are not paying what they should be. They are also a testament to the huge effort the Government has put in to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, introducing more than 100 measures since 2010 to close tax loopholes and ensure larger corporations pay their fair share. Collecting taxes is essential for funding our vital public services such as the NHS – indeed, had the tax gap remained at its 2005/06 level the UK would have lost £71 billion in revenue destined for public services, enough to build 200 hospitals.”

    Other figures released by HMRC show small businesses made up the largest proportion of unpaid tax by customer group at £13.7 billion, taxpayer errors and failure to take reasonable care made up £9.2 billion of unpaid taxes, while criminal attacks made up £5.4 billion. The VAT gap stood at 8.9% for 2016-17, down from 12.5% in 2005 to 2006.