IS paying your plumber cash in hand “morally wrong?”
Well David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, has ruffled a few Wiganers’ feathers by suggesting so after claiming that such a practice is defrauding the state because it allows tradesmen not to declare earnings.
Today the majority of people the Evening Post spoke to felt that he was treating the sector too harshly and that politicians were ill placed to be accusing other people about tax-dodging when expense fiddling has been so prevalent in Parliament.
Mr Gauke described the cash-in-hand practice as a large part of Britain’s “hidden economy.”
Wigan folk agree tax dodging is morally wrong, yet believe the Government is taking things too far with the latest outburst.
Risking the reputation of his government collegues, Mr Gauke claimed that he, personally, had never paid cash in hand to any plumber.
Mr Gauke is under constant scrutiny after his recent comments, one Government source pointing out that it isn’t illegal to ask for cash in hand.
Our brief survey of Wigan people concludes agree that it is up to the trader to declare all of his earnings.
But some said that Whitehall had led by such a poor example on matters of personal finance that ministers were ill placed to citicised.
There was also a suggestion that traders were being unfairly picked on while other, white collar workers escaped criticism.
So what do you think?
Veronica Webster, 78, from Hindley, said: “I agree, it’s morally wrong.
“I have paid plumbers in cash before but I have always got receipts, I wouldn’t give any of them any money until they have finished the job. It’s rare that I do pay cash in hand, though.
“On the other hand, with what’s going on in this country today, with the government claiming expenses, you can’t blame plumbers for tax-dodging.
“The politicians are morally wrong. They are there to guide us, therefore people are obviously going to copy their scandals if they have got away with it for so long.
“Nothing is going to change until the Government changes.”
Andrew Pye, 23, from Hindley said: “Everybody who works pays tax, so why should certain people get away with it?
“I have never paid cash in hand for a service. I rent so I go through agencies if I ever need a plumber.
“It just annoys me when everybody in full time work pays tax that some think they can dodge it.
“I do think it’s a bit condescending coming from David Gauke though as his wife is apparently a tax lawyer.
“Yes, everybody benefits from the NHS and the police force, therefore everybody should pay towards it.
“But nothing Mr Gauke is saying will help change things.
“People have been dodging tax forever and they always will.”
Anne Jones, 79, from Orrell said: “I think all of the politicians should start paying tax before they start laying into the self-employed.
“The Government fleeces the self-employed and make it harder and harder to earn a decent living.
“They make them jump through hoops and then just cripple them.
“The Government needs to start practising what it preaches.
“They can’t carry on having one rule for one and another rule for another.
“I mean, how do we know that the big firms pay taxes?
“We shouldn’t have to pay for them, They need to look at themselves first before they criticise others.”
Gaynor Marland, 44, Orrell said: “I’m quite happy to pay cash in hand for plumbing services.
“I’m not morally wrong by giving them the cash, it is their responsibility, at the end of the day, as to what they do with that cash.
“I don’t think it is necessarily wrong for the plumbers to accept cash. It depends on how much they’re taking off the customer.
“It’s harder and harder to earn a decent living these days. The Government seems to think it’s do as I say not do as I do.
“If we get a discount for the services and it’s all that we can afford then why shouldn’t we help each other out?
“They can’t police everything.”