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Corporate tax arrears dwarf Tory cash grab

Firms owe 260 times more than cuts victims

Campaigners told the Con-Dems to start chasing corporation tax instead of bedroom tax yesterday as new figures showed firms owe over 260 times what is made from victimised renters.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) statistics said that savings from the reviled bedroom tax equate to barely 1 per cent of the cash lost to tax-dodging.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has cited savings of £680m to justify the policy, which cuts social tenants' housing benefits by up to a quarter if DWP officials deem their homes "underoccupied."

HMRC released a new estimate just days ago of Britain's tax gap - the amount lost to the public purse each year to tax avoidance and evasion.

The official figure of £35bn is 99 times greater than the amount the coalition is set to recoup from the bedroom tax.

But the Tax Justice Network's Richard Murphy told the Morning Star yesterday that HMRC ignored major tax avoidance schemes by Apple, Amazon, Google and others that brought the real figure to near £100bn - 261 times the size of bedroom tax savings.

More than 660,000 of the poorest households in Britain are expected to fall into arrears under the hated cash-grab, with charities warning that around two-thirds are home to someone with a disability.

Mr Murphy said: "Apart from the fact that this tax is so bloody indecent, the cost of implementing this policy must be extraordinarily high, but the sheer cost of administration is carried by local government, so it's a hidden cost if you like.

"It's difficult to collect, it achieves very little revenue and its effect has high social disruption. The gain may even be negative. This is a bad tax by any basis," he said.

Meanwhile researchers at the University of York published new research yesterday suggesting that the DWP had assumed nobody would actually move out of their homes as a result.

Professor Rebecca Tunstall of the university's centre for housing policy at the University of York said a sample of housing association's own data showed the department's corrected modelling would see savings of between £320m and £380m a year.


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