So a government minister, from the Treasury no less, has stated that cash in hand payments to tradesmen are "morally wrong". I have a good reason for never paying cash in hand, and it's called insurance. If I pay someone, in France, to paint my walls or clean my house, and they have some kind of accident, they won't be insured under their cover or mine. But they could sue me. And that would outweigh any tax savings from paying cash in hand. Plenty of people do pay cash in hand; I choose not to. But that's theory anyway as I don't pay anyone to do anything in my house.
But enough about me. Let's talk about the utter irony of a minister from this government referring to people trying to save a bit of money in the horrible current economy as being morally wrong. I understand the point - taxes should be paid, tax avoidance is not a good thing, blah blah blah blah blah. The Tories like to use the phrase "morally wrong" when it comes to someone doing something they disapprove of. Jimmy Carr's legal tax avoidance was also described as morally wrong.
Well before we go attacking people for wanting to avoid a bit of paperwork and a small amount of tax (yes, I know, it all adds up) for being morally wrong, here is my list of things which I consider to be morally wronger. It is by no means an extensive list, unfortunately.
- Large corporations being allowed to avoid tax to the tune of billions
- University tuition fees being tripled. Remember how they said that only a few universities would triple their fees? Scuse me while I laugh. And laugh. And laugh.
- Forcing local councils to make massive cuts but not safeguarding facilities such as youth centres, libraries and public loos.
- Privatising the NHS by stealth
- Bullying the disabled and mentally ill
- Paying Atos to bully the disabled and mentally ill
- Creating a culture whereby the poor and other people in need are ostracised and it's considered OK to bully people on benefits
- Trying to turn a blind eye to the fact that big corporations and banks are making more money, when small businesses are going bankrupt all the time
- Allowing dairies to pay dairy farmers considerably less money than it costs to produce the milk
- Trying to slip laws through the back door and with no fanfare which would dramatically reduce human rights
So yes, cash in hand isn't a very legal thing to do, and no, we probably shouldn't do it. But please, government, please please please stop trying to tell us what is "morally wrong". You can't expect the people to listen to you spouting that kind of hypocrisy. In short, practice what you bloody well preach.