Financial Secretary Stephen Timms denounced tax avoidance as "morally wrong" and said the PBR would contain measures to "tilt the game back towards honest, hard-working taxpayers".
Well, this is all somewhat dog whistle stuff, of course, hitting big, evil companies, when the 2 biggest problems in terms of the governments budget are the bloated public sector and the benefits system.
Personally, I don't see tax avoidance as morally wrong, especially avoidance of taxes at the current levels which pay for millions of pointless bureaucrats.
Mr Timms told a conference of international tax experts at the Treasury in London that the global economic downturn had created a "different world" in which tax cheats would be pursued more vigorously than ever before."
Fine. But tax avoidance isn't cheating. It's just working within the rules to minimise your tax.
A minority of companies – including large and small businesses – behaved as if they were playing a "game" with the tax authorities, in which their role was to find ways round government efforts to improve the efficiency and equity of the tax system, said the minister.
But the impact of their efforts to get round measures like the new 50p income tax rate was to increase the complexity of the tax system and harm the wider interests of British business.
Oh, do fuck off. The efficiency of the tax system? The government have done nothing about improving the efficiency. They've added more and more complexity to the tax system in order to create more stealth taxes to avoid people noticing that their taxes are going up.
And as for the 50p tax rate, that's completely the wrong way around. It's not that avoidance creates rules, it's that rules create avoidance. Really simple tax systems are difficult to avoid.