Tuesday 8 February 2011

Shocking Tory Tax-Trickery

I can't quite believe what I've just read. Robin Hood just got shot with his own arrow and no-one even noticed!! He's laying there now, bleeding on the floor, but we're all going to step over him on the way to work. The Sheriff of Osborne-ham finally cooked up a plan so cunning there'll be no more robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Ever.

You'll probably hear a lot today about the bankers levy being made permanent. Osborne has announced (ahead of the budget) that an extra 800 million will be taken from the banks, making a total of 2.5 billion over the year. The bank levy will stay in place, making it a permanent feature.

Yippppeee eh? Not a Robin Hood tax, not nearly enough, but a step in the right direction eh?
Well, erm...NOOOOOOOO!

I've just read the most extraordinary article by George Monbiot in the Guardian. This is one link you have to click on. He outlines a change to corporation tax that (Wait! Stop! Come away from the light! This is interesting honestly...) he calls the "heist of the century" a "kind of corporate coup d'etat" and "the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory" what's more, he points out that yet again, no-one knew about it, it wasn't in any manifesto and it's so complicated, that most people would never understand it anyway without expert guidance.

Effectively, 6 Billion from Vodafone or a few quid from Wayne Rooney has just turned into small-fry. In fact fry so tiddly, it's barely visible to the naked eye. This move will save Big Business endless, eye-watering, startling billions.

Please, if you read nothing else today, read this. Effectively though, this is the vital bit :

"At the moment tax law ensures that companies based here, with branches in other countries, don't get taxed twice on the same money. They have to pay only the difference between our rate and that of the other country. If, for example, Dirty Oil plc pays 10% corporation tax on its profits in Oblivia, then shifts the money over here, it should pay a further 18% in the UK, to match our rate of 28%. But under the new proposals, companies will pay nothing at all in this country on money made by their foreign branches.
Foreign means anywhere. If these proposals go ahead, the UK will be only the second country in the world to allow money that has passed through tax havens to remain untaxed when it gets here. The other is Switzerland. The exemption applies solely to "large and medium companies": it is not available for smaller firms. The government says it expects "large financial services companies to make the greatest use of the exemption regime". The main beneficiaries, in other words, will be the banks."
Then, there's the really complicated bit that explains how on top of this staggering snatch-and-grab, the company
"will, amazingly, still be able to claim the expense of funding its foreign branches against tax it pays in the UK. No other country does this."
We're about to out-Switzerland Switzerland!!!
Monbiot goes on to ask
"So how did this happen? You don't have to look far to find out. Almost all the members of the seven committees the government set up "to provide strategic oversight of the development of corporate tax policy" are corporate executives. Among them are representatives of Vodafone, Tesco, BP, British American Tobacco and several of the major banks: HSBC, Santander, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, Schroders, RBS and Barclays."
Well, Surprise! Surprise!!

Is that it guys? Is that the best you can do? All that talk of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. All that mock-outrage at light-touch regulation or bankers bonuses. And you know, it's just not good enough to say "Oh well, it's the Tories, you expect this kind of thing from them" It's theft, pure and simple. On the same day that even Warren Buffet is saying that we need to raise inheritance tax to tackle a growing "entrenched" plutocracy, Little-Lord-Osborne has decided that we need to do quite the opposite. 

In case you'd forgotten, David Cameron told the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend that he
'would love to see tax reductions, but when you're borrowing 11% of your GDP, it's not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn't."
He really is breathtakingly dishonest isn't he? As Monbiot concludes, this government has decided on a course of PR that, as with so many of their other policies, treats us like complete and utter fools. If you want to make the rich staggeringly richer on the quiet, or dismantle and privatise the NHS or bring back a two tier education system under the guise of "free schools" or cut budgets faster and deeper than has ever been attempted before :
 "You assuage, reassure, conciliate, emote. Then you shaft us."
** At the top of the page is a share button. Also just below. Please, make sure as many people get to hear about this as possible. We're already seeing people picketing high street stores and talking about Gideon's tax avoidance,but this is in a whole different league. Again, write to your MP, tweet, post, link and Facebook. We really have to show that we're not the fools we're being played for.


  1. Criminal to say the lest sic

  2. This is a really astounding blog. Thought you might like to check out http://citizenjournalists.org.uk/ as we are always looking for contributors. Thanks.
    Liam McClure

  3. I feel ill. Can't find the money to give us a £10,000 tax-free threshold (hint: abolish Tax Credit infrastructure to save £23.7 billion) but will enable large corporations to pay no tax whatsoever through technical accounting tricks.

  4. Committees established to formulate corporation tax policy create corporate tax policy instead...

    I'm - actually, I can't find a word strong enough to express it!