General Election 2015: Economist blasts Labour and Conservatives for "deeply depressing" debate about tax avoidance and evasion

Catherine Neilan
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Ed Miliband at the manifesto launch today (Source: Getty)
Labour is guaranteeing to raise £7.5bn from cracking down on tax avoidance, while the Tories have pledged to claw back £5bn if they stay in charge. But according to one economist, both parties are talking through their hat.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and a former Treasury bod, has said the main parties are “making up numbers” without any foundation in reality.
He slammed the entire debate around the subject as “really, deeply depressing”.
"It's almost impossible to know up front actually what you can achieve from cracking down on avoidance and evasion,” he told BBC Radio Four.
"You've had the main parties ruling out whole hosts of relatively straightforward ways of increasing tax, talking about raising tax from some other group, be they the rich or the non-doms or the tax avoiders, but this is all real money and has real effects on the economy, and no sense from anybody about a serious way forward for the tax system.
"I've found this entire debate from all the parties really deeply depressing."

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