Millionaires face tax avoidance clampdown

Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Anybody worth more than £1 million faces coming under scrutiny from inspectors in a fresh crackdown on tax avoidance announced by Liberal Democrat Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.

The move will mean 200,000 more people will be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs' affluence unit, set up originally to study the affairs of the 300,000 with assets and property of more than £2.5 million.

Mr Alexander, speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the start of the Lib Dems' annual conference in Brighton, said officials would "sniff out" anybody who was not paying their fair share of tax.

The measure will apply to people with homes and assets of more than £1 million. The wealthiest did best in the boom years and it is right they should pay more now.

Mr Alexander added that the affluence unit, boosted from 200 to 300 staff, would cross-reference files and records to spot signs of avoidance.

"They will look at anomalies and sniff out any problems," he said.

A new coalition drive to hit the rich will also include separate moves to stop high-earning BBC personalities from using tax avoidance schemes and fines for tax-dodging footballers.

The initiatives are likely to play well with Lib Dem activists and come as Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg vowed to play hardball with David Cameron over the future of the coalition.

It comes as Vince Cable indicated he wants a fresh assault on tax havens and non-domiciled millionaires.

The Business Secretary told The Sunday Times he wants tough action against "shady" wealthy people who make "systematic and cynical" use of offshore havens such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey will make a speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference today. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Ed Davey will today intensify the battle with Chancellor George Osborne over green measures by backing calls for a target on cutting energy sector emissions by 2030.

He will step up pressure on "blind" Tory sceptics to accept the move by insisting there is "a strong case" for including the measure in the forthcoming Energy Bill.