THE MP for South West Herts has been accused of hypocrisy after it was alleged that he described paying tradesmen cash in hand as “morally wrong”.
David Gauke’s comments appeared on the front page of a national newspaper yesterday.
Speaking on BBC Two’s Newsnight the day before, he said: “The specific point I was making is where a tradesman says, ‘Here’s a 10 or 20 per cent discount on your bill if you pay me cash in hand.’
“That’s facilitating the hidden economy. That’s as big a problem in terms of loss to the exchequer as tax avoidance. That is meaning that revenue is not being paid that should be paid.
“I have never said to a tradesman, ‘If I pay you cash, can I get a discount?’
“If people do do that, they have to do so with the recognition that taxes will be higher for the rest, because that hidden economy is a large part of the tax gap.”
But internet bloggers were quick to highlight the £10,248.32 he claimed in expenses for stamp duty and fees spent buying his second home in London. They said this, in Mr Gauke’s own words, was ‘morally repugnant’ tax avoidance.
Mr Gauke was unavailable to comment as the Gazette went to press.