Paragon of tax virtue Margaret Hodge is still dodging Guido’s questions over her own Stemcor arrangements, but that didn’t stop her from popping up on the Today programme this morning to call on the government to stop using professional services firms:
“I think using the power of the public purse to purchase contracts is an important power that we have and the big 4 are getting more and more government business as this government chooses to outsource a lot of back office activities so there is a lot of financial payroll. All sorts of activity taking place, audit of local authorities, audit of foundation trusts. Lot of work out there And I think if the big 4 want to access that work they have got to show that they are responsible companies who act properly and who don’t support anybody in trying to avoid tax in an aggressive way.”
Tut, tut, good on Hodge for nobly standing up to the likes of PricewaterhouseCoopers. What a shame that two-faced tax-avoidance campaigner Chuka Umunna doesn’t agree. Chuka recently announced that until January 2013 he is lucky enough to have a PwC analyst working for him, with their £20,000 wage kindly paid for by the company.
He isn’t the only one, Rachel Reeves also has a PwC research assistant on board, as did Ed Balls earlier this year. Surely the shadow cabinet will want to take heed of what the chair of the Public Accounts Committee says and dispense with the services of these aggressive tax dodging enabling firms…