Tag Archives: Ed Balls

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…

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Does this scare you?

Please indulge me for a moment and watch this clip from BBC News…

Did it scare you?  It certainly scared me.

I wasn’t really too surprised.  It has been obvious that Governments have been living in fear of markets for years.   The lack of regulation, especially after the global economic crisis in 2008, made that abundantly clear.

Money, and the acquisition of it, is the number one goal in our society and no-one has the ability to make (or indeed lose) money like the financial institutions.  These are corporations making money in huge amounts.  To the majority of us, who do not understand the instruments of this world, it can seem to be made out of thin air.  As unbelievable as fairy-tales of golden geese or magical never-ending pots of gold.

What really really frightened me though was that an well-dressed intelligent man could be so wrapped up in his own wealth creation that he would, on BBC television, openly declare that he dreamed of a recession because of the money-making opportunities it would bring.

That he has no regard for lives ruined, jobs lost, houses repossessed, whole sectors of society destroyed just so he could have more money, and to what end? Buy a bigger car, watch, have an even more expensive holiday, destroy the environment some more jetting around the world.  Acquire more material possessions?

Ed Balls said in his Labour Party Conference Speak yesterday “It wasn’t too many police officers or nurses or teachers here in Britain that bankrupted Lehman Brothers in New York.”  But we are all paying the price, the very heavy price for it on our families, and will be for many years to come.

Not one banker or trader has been prosecuted for the global economic crisis on 2008.  Don’t forget that was caused by financial institutions selling mortgages to people in America, who were not credit worthy and would  default on  loans they couldn’t afford in the first place.  But these mortgages were actively mis-sold to the sub-prime market because, when packaged up into another form of bundled up debt they became even more lucrative to the markets.  To my mind it is the financial equivalent of feeding cows’ brains back to cows.  I am sure everyone reading this will remember the horrors of BSE. and how terrible that was for British farming and our beef trade with the rest of the world.

We can not let these bankers and traders put us into another recession just because they want to make money.  We need to rise up, be united and say no, this is morally reprehensible.  We have had enough.  Only if we are all united will the government start to take notice and will seriously look at the issue of regulating the markets.

At the same time as this trader was speaking on BBC, protesters have been occupying Wall Street demanding that our current financial institutions change. Have you heard about it on the news? No there has been no coverage at all.   This is a disgrace.  Why is this story not being covered? The protesters have been there for two weeks now.

On the subject of what is really going on in the financial markets and who really has the control and the power of  countries’ economies and how abhorrent it all really is, I can not recommend highly enough Sebastian Faulks’ One Week in December .  We all need to wake up and reclaim our lives and our financial security back from these parasites. Before it is too late.

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