By Claire West

Britain’s largest union, Unite, has written to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) calling for an urgent investigation into a tax scam which saw City institutions delaying bonus payments to exploit George Osborne’s cut in the top rate of tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent in April this year.

The move, to investigate whether the ‘conscious and deliberate’ move to avoid tax broke the law, came as it emerged that more than £65 million in tax could have been lost by delaying the bonus payments.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a spike of £700 million in bonus payments in April this year when normally they would have been paid between December 2012 and March 2013.

Commenting, Steve Turner Unite director of executive policy, said: “£65 million in lost revenue while public services face closure and budget cuts is morally wrong.

“Ordinary families will be angered by the millionaires dodging paying their fair share as they struggle with rising costs and falling wages thanks to George Osborne’s mishandling of the economy.

“It is a tax scam pure and simple which has defrauded our nation of millions of pounds. HMRC must investigate whether this conscious and deliberate move to avoid tax has broken the law.

“George Osborne has questions to answer too. Did he know that by announcing his tax cut for millionaires early that his friends in the City would seek to avoid paying tens of millions in tax?”