Thank you to all those who have contacted me in regards to HSBC and tax avoidance.

I appreciate your concerns on this issue. It is a bad business. David Cameron has done more than any other Prime Minister to take action on tax avoidance and evasion, and more than any previous Government.

We have made over 40 changes to tax law, closing down loopholes and introducing major reforms to the UK tax system. As part of a concerted effort to clamp down on avoidance and evasion, we have introduced a General Anti-Abuse Rule, strengthened the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance schemes, tackled the misuse of partnership structures, and clamped down on stamp duty avoidance.

The UK is leading international efforts on tax avoidance, with the G20 countries agreeing to a new global mechanism that makes it easier for HMRC to identify UK taxpayers hiding assets or income offshore. Those avoiding tax can be fined twice the tax owed, with the possibility of criminal prosecution and a prison sentence.

Thanks to our actions, the amount raised from compliance has increased to a record high and the tax gap has been reduced. HMRC is forecast to raise £26 billion this year from compliance, £9 billion more than in 2010, while the tax gap has fallen from 8.5 per cent in 2005-06 to 6.8 per cent in 2012-13.

With respect to HSBC, since 2010 we have closed many of the loopholes exposed, and specifically taken action to get back money lost in Swiss Bank Accounts. To date our agreements with Switzerland and Liechtenstein alone have brought in around £2 billion in previously unpaid tax.

While the release of information pertaining to malpractice from 2005 to 2007 by individual HSBC accountholders was public knowledge, I understand that at no point were Ministers made aware of individual cases due to taxpayer confidentiality, nor were they made aware of leaked information suggesting wrongdoing by HSBC itself.

As I said above, this is a bad business which shows banking in a bad light indeed. However, I hope you agree that this is not a matter which the UK Government and David Cameron left alone. We have tackled what we can, and will do more if new loopholes are discovered.