Commenting on the Prime Minister’s plans for new criminal penalties for firms failing to stop staff facilitating illegal activity, Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Get this measure right, and it could deter illegal and unethical behaviour, with strong support from across the business community. Get it wrong, and the result could be a chilling effect on law-abiding firms and their customers.

“The scope of this proposition must be narrow, and the concept of ‘tax evasion’ clearly defined. If every British business – and particularly accountants, solicitors and financial advisers – suddenly finds itself under scrutiny when completing legitimate tax planning, a policy like this could have serious unintended consequences.”