A lot of effort has been and will be put into tackling tax evasion, and rightly so. But in my estimate tax avoidance cost the UK £19.1 billion in 2013/14 whilst tax evasion cost £73.4 billion, and of the latter no more than £4.3 billion was specifically offshore.
Tax evasion and tax avoidance can be said to cost the Government of the UK some amount of money. They can be said to cost the State, the Treasury, something. But they cannot be said to cost the UK, the country, anything. Because that country is simply the collection of people that make it up. And that group of people have, cumulatively, exactly the same amount of money whether tax is paid or not. It’s just in different pockets dependent upon whether tax has been paid or not.
And no, this isn’t just some trivial linguistic quibble. The idea of all in the State, all for the State and nothing outside the State is the very definition of Fascism. It’s essential to differentiate between the people and the State.