Gauke under fire over cash comments
Labour leader Ed Miliband, on a visit to Paris to meet French president Francois Hollande, waded into the row, saying ministers should be focusing on large-scale tax avoidance.
TaxPayers' Alliance political director Jonathan Isaby called on ministers to simplify the complex tax system, adding: "Many people in the squeezed middle feel that benefit fraudsters can get away with ripping off the taxpayer on the one hand, while those fortunate enough to afford crafty accountants and expensive lawyers can dodge their taxes via legal loopholes on the other."
A spokesman for MasterCard said research showed paying by card rather than cash would cut the black economy and bring "significant benefits to small businesses". He added: "The research found that a 5% increase in electronic transactions in place of cash could bring an additional £1.7 billion to the Exchequer."
Asked by ITV news whether he had ever paid anyone cash in hand, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Of course. It is perfectly legal and perfectly moral, providing you are not doing it with the objective of avoiding tax and I certainly wouldn't do that."
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