Cameron: Give Us Access To Your Bank Accounts or We'll Raise Taxes
British Prime Minister David Cameron has argued that the controversial new plans to allow HM Revenue and Customs to take money from Britons' bank accounts at will is a necessity if the public wants to avoid further taxes rises.
The warning came during an interview with Sky News wherein the Prime Minister defended the intrusive measure announced in the Budget earlier this year. In effect, if UK tax authorities (HMRC) believe that money is owed to them by the taxpayer, they can dip into bank accounts at will and remove owed funds.
HMRC cannot take less than £1000 and the account must still have at least £5000 remaining, but there are fears it is the slippery slope towards having no legal recourse.
Cameron told Sky News: "We have a choice here. If we don't collect taxes properly and make sure people pay their taxes properly we look at the problems of having to raise tax rates. I don't want to do that, so I support the changes the Chancellor set out in the Budget which is to really say that not paying your taxes is not acceptable.
"It is very clear that they can only do this if there is a debt of over £1,000, they can only do it if there's £5,000 or more in the account after this has been completed. The general principle – do we want to pursue every avenue of making people pay their taxes they are meant to pay before we put up taxes, because that's the alternative – absolutely, yes we do."
But Members of Parliament are less keen on the plans. The Telegraph reports that MPs say in a recently published document: “The ability directly to have access to millions of taxpayers’ bank accounts raises concerns about the risk of fraud and error.
“This policy is highly dependent on HMRC’s ability accurately to determine which taxpayers owe money and what amounts they owe, an ability not always demonstrated in the past. Incorrectly collecting money will result in serious detriment to taxpayers.”
HMRC has come under fire in the past for its poor data handling, and it was reported earlier this year that the arm of the British government intends to sell citizens' data to private companies. Former Conservative minister David Davis told the Guardian the plans were "borderline insane".