Tax avoidance is a perfectly legitimate activity

Philip Booth appears on BBC World Service's Newshour

Following the announcement that Barclays will be closing its "tax avoidance unit", Philip Booth appeared on BBC World Service's Newshour.

"A bank which is able to pride itself in good ethical behaviour will, in the long term, enhance shareholder value," argued Professor Booth.

Regarding increasing regulation, Philip Booth argued that this often detracts from ethics as too much time is spent on ticking regulatory boxes and ethics go "out the window".

"Tax avoidance in general is a perfectly legitimate activity," stated Professor Booth.

"Providing advice on tax avoidance is also a perfectly legitimate activity. It is very unfashionable but on the other hand it does make money for Barclays shareholders."

It could be argued that tax avoidance mechanisms are currently the only processes that discipline governments by keeping tax rates and government spending low.

Listen to the full programme here. Segment starts at 34.40.