From the Guardian letters page this morning – action is needed on tax

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The following are on the Guardian letters page this morning. I am a signatory to both:

The public accounts committee's report into HMRC's tax settlements made for compelling reading (Revenue hid 'sweetheart' tax deals for big business, MPs say, 20 December). But more fascinating was the feeble response by HMRC and the striking lack of response from either Vodafoneor Goldman Sachs.

Gone are the days when HMRC and Vodafone would come together as an unstoppable dream team proffering denials of tax avoidance as an "urban myth". Now, we see HMRC weakly saying the committee is misinformed and is basing its conclusions on partial information. We know that the committee did everything in its power to get to the truth, but HMRC obstructed the inquiry by using the veil of secrecy that is taxpayer confidentiality.

It is imperative that the UK's political and business culture changes so that rich individuals and corporations treat tax avoidance as taboo. It is also crucial that the culture at HMRC changes so that it clamps down on tax avoidance. If this were the norm, the UK could raise sufficient income to protect the services currently under threat from cuts, set an international standard for tax justice, and make progress towards achieving equality in the UK and around the world.

So while we support the efforts of the public accounts committee, we also support the action by UK Uncut Legal Action to challenge HMRC in the high court so that the decision to let Goldman Sachs off its unpaid tax is declared unlawful and the £20m is given back to the taxpayer. It is undeniably in the public interest that this case should go through the courts in order to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness.

Katy Clark MPVirendra Sharma MPJeremy Corbyn MPJohn McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP Jonathan Edwards MPDiane Abbott MPPaul KennyGMBMark SerwotkaPCS, Christine BlowerNational Union of TeachersLen McCluskeyUniteNicholas Shaxsonauthor of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the WorldRichard MurphyTax ResearchClifford SingerFalse Economy,Neal LawsonCompass,Greg MuttittWar on WantJohn ChristensenTax Justice Network


• We would like to thank you for highlighting the disgraceful treatment of Osita Mba, a personal friend, whose whistleblowing on a deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs has earned him not praise but disciplinary action and the threat of losing his job and/or prosecution (Report, 15 December).

Without protection, whistleblowers will be reluctant to come forward and divulge information that is in the public interest. We have collected more than 7,300 signatures in a petition in support of Osita and the important role whistleblowers play in serving the public interest. As one of our petition signers, Ben Tisnell, states, "Whistleblowing is a courageous act of public service; those exposing wrongdoing should expect protection in any civil society." We firmly agree with his view – whistleblowers should not face condemnation but should be protected.
Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Katherine Segal, Maria Murselland 7,300 others

Please support both actions this Christmas. They're about your freedoms.