LONDON, March 7 Britain's budget forecasts are
in danger of becoming too reliant on hard-to-predict windfalls
from the fight against tax avoidance, lawmakers said on
The government has projected that by tightening its rules to
reduce legal tax avoidance the state could net 6.8 billion
pounds ($11.37 billion) in new revenue over the next six years.
That has made it a significant part of plans to cut the
country's budget deficit.
However, such estimates have proved too optimistic in the
past and the subsequent shortfalls have left holes in public
finances. A tax deal with Switzerland starting in January 2013
was expected to bring in a total of 5.3 billion pounds over six
years, but that figure has been cut by almost two-thirds.
"Every year estimates have to be made of the yield of
anti-avoidance measures, in the face of great uncertainty about
the outcomes," a report by parliament's influential Treasury
"This perennial problem has now assumed particular fiscal
importance given the size of the revenue being forecast."
The report also urged the government's budget watchdog to
increase efforts to track whether anti-avoidance measures met
their revenue targets. It said that if this could not be done,
the use of such targets should be restricted.
($1 = 0.5981 British pounds)
(Reporting by William James, Editing by William Schomberg and