TAX avoidance, caused by the “Conservative Government’s inaction,” has lost the taxpayer almost £13 billion over five years, Labour claimed today.

The Opposition said the amount was the equivalent of building 21 new hospitals or 365 new secondary schools or cutting the current budget deficit by five per cent.

Research from the House of Commons Library found that between 2010/11 and 2014/15 at least £12.8bn was lost to the UK economy from tax avoidance.

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Labour claimed the true figure was likely to be much higher as the analysis used HMRC’s official estimates, which did not include any international tax arrangements that could not be challenged under UK law.

It said the Government’s Finance Bill propped up a rigged system by preserving non-dom status of offshore trusts and loosening the rules on Business Investment Relief, increasing the scope for non-doms to avoid tax when they brought funds into the UK.

“Tax avoidance is a scourge on society that undermines public trust and deprives our public services of the funds they desperately need but the Conservatives have consistently failed to tackle it,” declared Peter Dowd, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

“The Tory Government is tinkering around the edges and trumpeting new gimmicks while creating new tax loopholes that allow the wealthy and super-rich to avoid paying their fair share.

“Only a Labour Government will take the necessary steps to tackle tax avoidance and offshore trusts and create an economy that works for the many not the few,” he added.

Under Labour's tax and transparency enforcement programme: *cuts at HMRC would be reversed and staffing numbers restored with an additional £200 million provided to "enable HMRC to properly investigate avoidance"; *the pre-2002 preferred creditor status of HMRC would be re-established to allow less tax to be written off and to remove the scope for some avoidance that has opened up; *raising Corporation Tax would see a fall in incorporation avoidance, which the Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated will cost the Treasury £1.1bn in lost revenue this year alone; *closing the Mayfair tax loophole used by private equity companies and the Eurobond loophole as well as clamping down on umbrella agencies that use aggressive tax avoidance schemes; *establishing a specialised tax enforcement unit in HMRC and *setting up a public inquiry into tax avoidance.