Tory minister David Gauke has gained plenty of attention for attacking the “morally wrong” practise of paying cash in hand, saying:
“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash.”
He also said:
“When a tradesman says, ‘Here’s a 10%, a 20% discount on your bill if you pay me cash in hand’ that is facilitating the hidden economy. That’s as big a problem in terms of loss to the Exchequer as tax avoidance. Revenue is not being paid as it should be paid.”
I happen to agree that the hidden economy is a problem and costs the exchequer unknown billions. But if a discount of 10-20% is wrong – how about a discount of 100%. A payment of 0%?
David Gauke has no problem with that.
As the excellent David Hencke noted back in March, Gauke is apparently too poor to pay an intern despite earning £100k a year. Here’s the advert:
Earning £100k a year but hiring an intern to work for nothing? Sounds “morally wrong” to me. And if you don’t pay someone, the government loses out on tax and NI…
Should we really be surprised though? As Guido Fawkes revealed this morning, Gauke worked for a tax avoidance firm. Hypocrite.
(Update: Also it turns out before Gauke worked for a law firm with expertise in “tax efficiency” – he was a parliamentary researcher for Barry Legg MP. I bet he was paid.)
(h/t: Jonathan Freedland)