Tag Archives: David Cameron

To (pay) Tax or Not to (pay) Tax….. Aye There is the Rub

It would be hard for anyone to have missed the news about Jimmy Carr and his tax avoidance scheme this week, and despite there being over a 1,000 people connected to the K2 scheme operating out of Jersey, it was his name and face splashed all over the media last week.  Maybe I am too cynical but I wondered about the Establishment connections of those other 999 anonymous beneficiaries, and how their names had been kept out of the paper.

Now anyone who knows me, or indeed has read my previous blogs knows of my deep admiration and support of the work that UKuncut does to highlight the despicable actions of  highly profitable businesses such as Goldman Sachs and Vodaphone, who engage in large and wholesale schemes to avoid paying their true corporation tax bill in full.  Indeed along with the tax affairs of  billionaire Philip Green so eloquently put by Jon Richardson on Have I Got News for You in October 2010 (see the UKuncut blog highlighted above to watch that again), I do feel some moral repugnance that highly successful companies making huge profits from UK tax payers should dodge, albeit in “legal” ways their taxation responsibilities.

David Cameron waded into the debate to express his moral outrage at Jimmy Carr, again demonstrating his shockingly bad eye for detail.  How on earth can the Conservative leader condemn anyone for this activity when his own previous Deputy Party Chairman, Lord Ashcroft was not UK domiciled for tax purposes.   It took the levels of hypocrisy to almost satirical levels. He also didn’t condemn Gary Barlow who up until the point of Tuesday’s tax scheme revelations was on course for National Treasure status.  Much was made of Gary Barlow’s work campaigning with the Torys in 2010.

So I have a plan and George Osborne or Ed Balls,  who ever to wants to use this, you can have it for free.

I believe very strongly that everyone should pay their fair share of tax.  Fact.

I believe that the majority of people are very hard-working, and probably working harder than ever.

I also can understand that if you are a higher rate tax payer you don’t want to have to give away 50% of your income to the Government.     If you earn a million pounds I can completely understand you will take action not to pay nearly half of that in income tax.

So why don’t we just have a flat rate of tax? Say at 25%.  Surely a Government doesn’t need anymore than a quarter of someone’s income.  This would give an incentive to the higher rate tax payers to pay their full obligation, and thus leading actually to an increase in income tax revenues.

But exchange for that I think there needs to be a moral sea-change on the view of tax avoidance.  It needs to become like drink driving socially UNACCEPTABLE.  If you, and yes I am talking to captains of industry like you Philip Green, if you want to work and earn fantastical sums in this country you need to be domiciled here, and make your contribution to our society.

My final point to make Tax Inspectors sexy.  Well maybe that is too much to ask for but to beef up their status and their powers.  Pay them a decent rate and retain the best of them, don’t let them go to the accountancy firms engaging in tax avoidance schemes that are only this side of the law.  Don’t let them turn from game-keeper to poacher.  Have Elliott Ness has their hero.  After all the only way Al Capone was finally brought to account was from his tax return wasn’t it?

How our tax inspectors might look.....

And if all that doesn’t work, well tax evasion in China is punishable by death…


Cameron, Coulson and The Scandal that Must Not Get Away

During the momentous events in Libya this week, there have been some seismic revelations closer to home.  One might cynically believe that it has been a good week to bury bad news.

Details have emerged that payments of several hundred thousand pounds were paid to Andy Coulson by News International, WHILST, he was working for David Cameron and the Conservative Party as their Director of Communications.

Just to remind you Coulson had told the Commons Select Committee that details of his severance pay were private, but that he would disclose them to the Committee Head, in a closed separate meeting if required.  I am not sure if that meeting ever took place, however Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch both denied any further payment to Coulson in their appearances.

Yet alongside those many thousand pound payments he still retained a company car and health insurance.  How much money was sloshing around at News International that no-one could keep account of it all?  These payments should have been declared.  This was a man who had to resign, and let’s not forget that on his watch at the paper, Prince William’s phone was hacked and one senior reporter was subsequently sent to jail.

News International are believed to have also paid Andy Coulson’s legal bill since 2007.  They also paid his bill during the Tommy Sheridan case in Scotland in 2009.

Nothing has been declared.

When Andy Coulson was first registered on the MP’s sponsored pass he was personally vouched for by Cameron himself.  He should have declared any additional payments over £329 (and Cameron himself should have checked.)  For the whole time Coulson worked for Cameron and the Conservatives (he was subsequently registered on a journalists pass in which any occupation or employment over £657 should have been detailed) nothing was declared.  This has broken Parliamentary transparency rules.  It might have also have broken the Electoral Commission rules as it could be seen as a donation to the Conservative Party.  These are not rules to be trifled with.

However you look at it I think Cameron is exposed, dangerously exposed as a man who has no eye for detail as Chris Bryant wrote in the Guardian.

Don’t forget Cameron is the man who said Iran had a nuclear weapon, and that the UK were the junior partner in the war against the Nazis in 1940, he later corrected himself to say he meant to say the 1940s, which I think is even worse.  Both statements made when he was Prime Minister.

Why did he not wonder how Andy Coulson could take a pay cut of 50%?  Why did he not ask that question?  To me this is just confirmation that the man (who has already taken five holidays this year) has no idea how the rest of us live.  How we struggle to make ends meet and do the best for our families.  Who can afford to take a 50% pay cut?  Questions have even asked in the Tory-graph.

It is obvious that David Cameron so wanted to be close to the News International influence that he wasn’t prepared to scratch the surface of a potentially highly toxic situation.  It’s ok to give someone a second chance, but haven’t they got to be worth it? (Incidentally how does that second chance come for some of those rioters Cameron wants to come down so heavily on?)

This incredible lack of judgement makes me very afraid that this man, who has such an over-blown sense of self-entitlement, who is so detached from how the rest of us live, who is proving he has no grasp of details, is guiding my country through the toughest times we have had in probably 70 years.  I am fearful for the outcome for all of us.