Tories aren’t against tax dodging, they’re in favour of it – just don’t get caught

Osborne’s studied silence over this last week speaks volumes.   If the issue were anything else but tax evasion and avoidance, he would be seeking to find an angle to turn it against Labour for all he’s worth.   But on tax avoidance he’s skewered.   It was on his watch that no action was taken when news first leaked out in 2010 about massive tax evasion by the British super-rich at the British HSBC bank in Geneva.   Indeed the wrongdoing was deliberately kept secret in government circles for 5 years, and only surfaced when a whistleblower blew it.   On his watch the same HSBC bank, the ‘highly suspect British company’ as the US authorities nicknamed it for its polluted culture, was heavily fined in 2012 in the US for money-laundering for drug cartels and pariah states, but no action was taken in the UK.

This is not an isolated case: it fits a pattern of studied inaction.   In the last 5 years HMRC tax inspector staff have been cut back by nearly 40%, even though the evidence indicates that for every £1 spent in 2013-4 by the unit dealing with the UK’s largest and most complex cases an additional £97 was recovered.   The Serious Fraud Office has seen its budget cut to a mere £35m which can only be explained as a deliberate (and successful) effort to make it incapable of taking on banks and their big law and accountancy accomplices.   Even now, despite HMRC trumpeting in 2011 that all 6,000 British-held accounts in the HSBC files were ‘ripe for investigation’, it has collected just £135m in tax, interest and penalties – less than 1% of the estimated total in the accounts and far less than France, Belgium and Spain have collected from a smaller number of their citizens’ accounts.

With the Tories it’s all mouth and wind.   At the Lough Erne G7 summit last year Cameron boasted of fixing a new international agreement which would drastically crack down on tax avoidance, but with little or no action in the UK.   Osborne boasted in 2012 that he had negotiated a deal with the Swiss which would unlock huge receipts for the UK from tax evaders, but in the event it has produced only a fraction of what he promised, and only with the crass loophole that the identity of the lawbreakers would be kept secret.   Then in April 2013 the government introduced rules to ban companies and individuals who took part in failed tax avoidance schemes from being awarded government contracts, but in practice no such business has been barred.

It is perfectly clear that the Tories aren’t seriously opposed to tax avoidance at all – in fact they’re all for it, provided they’re not found out.    Nearly all their top donors are at it, and in this election it may turn out to be their Achilles heel.

5 thoughts on “Tories aren’t against tax dodging, they’re in favour of it – just don’t get caught

  1. It isn’t just tax receipts (which will always remain depressed until the specific individuals; not just the institutions administrating and facilitating illegal tax evasion schemes, are caught and seriously penalized, financially but also even to the point of incarceration, as well as those people who are caught using them,) that are the, it’s where the tax money is actually going.

    I was interviewed, (unsuccessfully,) recently for a job with an apparently thriving, expanding and very profitable local company, who were clearly under the impression that in addition to various tax breaks and subsidies that Oldham council were already favoring them with, OMBC were even going to build them a purpose built premises, (despite the huge number of suitable premises already lying empty and disused throughout the Oldham area,) to consolidate their operation on one site.

    Then there are my own entirely negative and frustrating experiences of being enrolled on the Government Work Program, (typically being run as little more than a licensed financial racket preying on the unemployed,) Positive Steps, (contracted to Avanata, run by a self styled CEO and social entrepreneur, Tim Mitchell,) from whom I have had no real or meaningful support whatsoever and about which I have complained repeatedly and loudly all the way to Avanta, (who couldn’t care less,), despite which they will still be paid when I eventually find work.

    Which I find infuriating frankly.

    It seems to me that there’s still plenty of money around for all this kind of thing, but that it’s increasingly going to all the wrong people in all the wrong places and is too frequently being financed by robbing those most desperately in need of it, (the cuts to CAB for example,) in order to subsidize those least in need of it.

    Tax evasion may in fact be simply be the tip of an iceberg of malfeasance, fraud and misappropriation and misallocation of public funds and that Labor on the whole are more, or are at least just as, guilty of this as the Tories in this respect.

    What happened under Blair and what the Tories have exploited since is the uncoupling of public services, (increasing through these outsourced private, “partnerships,”) from the most basic accountability, transparency and oversight.

    But as you rightly point out and as I have also pointed out previously the cut in the budget for the Serious Fraud Office and the collapse of, (or the withdrawal of further funding for,) several major criminal prosecutions, (allegedly at the behest of Osbourne,) is of itself deeply unsettling.

    But during a period of deep financial depression, which despite all the unconvincing spin and PR to contrary, is what we’re probably now experiencing and for the foreseeable future, revenue generation and acquisition, (tax collection,) should be a major priority, (adequately funded,) for any honest government, but particularly so from those most able to afford it.

  2. I just cant understand is how this government awards contracts to companies who dip into the tax payers pot putting in fraudulent claims has they did in America but state they didn’t now this whilst taking backhanders off them isn’t this crooked m isn’t it fraud but these people who are our unelected government are they going to answer for this has this is fraud on a big scale I wonder will cams and co make the hague for their crimes against their own people strangely those 99 percent who aint rich are waking to fact that they been lied to you see even labour hadn’t done to much to save those who died through austerity yet I realy hope our 99percent ask for that court in the hague for our fraudulent government jeff3

  3. There is mass fraud in this country. It all starts with the MP’s. They are public servants and yet they get more money than the average joe public. Mp’s should be on minimum wage and if they behave in a way in which they do not represent the constituents they are supposed to, then they should be sanctioned. Mp’s should have to pay all their own bills and not have the taxpayer pay it. The culture of fraud stems right from the top of the system.

  4. A, (Nu Labor,) mayor visits his Italian colleague. He gets shown around town and finally, they arrive at the Italian mayor’s house, a beautiful palazzo. “Very nice”, the Mayor says, “but how could you afford this?”

    “Well”, the Italian says, “you see that bridge over there? The engineers told us we should use special, more expensive concrete, for safety reasons. But I decided to use regular concrete instead and with the extra money I bought myself this palazzo.

    A few months later, the Italian mayor visits his Nu Labor friend. He gets shown around town as well and finally, they arrive at the mayor’s house, a big luxury mansion. “Very nice”, the Italian says, “but how could you afford this”?

    “Well”, the Mayor says and he points at an abandoned building site. “You see that bridge over there”?

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