Downing Street has rejected calls for an inquiry into HMRC's handling of the HSBC tax files.
Despite only one prosecution being brought after a dossier of information on the bank’s Swiss arm was handed to the department, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said that HMRC “did what they could”.
She said: “HMRC, as I see it, took the information that they had, they went through the 6,000 or so cases, they whittled that down to 3,000 specific ones to look at, went after those who were non-compliant to recoup them and launched prosecutions where they could. So they did look at and take forward action on prosecutions when they went through this HSBC data.”
She added: "HMRC went after those that were not compliant and focused on making sure that those people who had not paid the taxes that were owed did so... The people who should have paid tax have had to pay tax."
Business secretary Vince Cable said yesterday he would support an investigation into HMRC's handling of the cases.