Taking steps to tackle tax avoidance

THE Bishop of Salisbury is to be congratulated this week on taking his place in the House of Lords.

After making two speeches last week, I was pleased to also be able to ask a question highlighting Salisbury’s Magna Carta commemorations, as well as attending a reception in the Palace of Westminster, along with several representatives of the cathedral.

The big topic this week in Westminster has been tax avoidance. I believe we should welcome employers to Britain with open arms and having the lowest business taxes of any major country in the world is key to our growing economy.

However, some companies are going to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying their taxes and that is not fair.

That is why I am pleased action has already been taken on tackling the aggressive tax avoidance of some large companies and individuals. The UK started the global work on changing international tax rules and is now leading the world in implementing these changes in Britain.

This government has already gone further on this issue than any previous administration but there is more to be done. We have committed to recouping at least another £5 billion each year in the next Parliament which would otherwise be lost through tax avoidance and evasion.

Salisbury Cathedral School paid a visit to Westminster last week, following hot on the heels of Sarum Academy. It is always a pleasure to welcome pupils and their teachers to Westminster.

Interacting with our local schools forms such a massive part of my job – and rightly so.

On Friday, I joined other Wiltshire MPs in taking part in a primary school education conference – this before heading back to Salisbury for a meeting with our hospital leadership and a busy advice surgery.

This week I look forward to another school visit, when I will be dropping into St Edmund’s to discuss their Pupil Voice initiative and paying a flying visit to Bishop Wordsworth’s superb higher education fair.