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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Are we shocked?


George Osbourne, our Chancellor, is shocked, SHOCKED, by how the richest people in the country are dickering with their tax returns - why some of them are paying less than 10% of their income in taxes! SHOCK! Are you not shocked?

Now, I, personally, am not shocked. Nor is just about anyone else because this is common bloody knowledge. And I don't believe Osbourne was ignorant either. In fact, it's inexcusable if he is ignorant because he's the bloody Chancellor. He runs the economy and he is NOT aware of this? How does he write budgets being this ignorant?

Also note the clever misdirection - we're talking about tax relief, not tax havens – no comment offshore accounts or setting yourself up as a company either. Therefore aiming at just one small segment of tax avoidance - then he can tweak that and call it job done, never mind the millionaires who say they live in Guernsey, or the celebrities who list themselves as a company so they get to pay corporation tax.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate the charity tax relief section. Just because you give to charity doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taxes – especially since our definition of “charity” can be awfully lax (especially since churches count). I don’t want our NHS or benefit system underfunded because rich folks would rather pay for the cherubs to be re-gilded at the opera house. But, in terms of the many ways rich folk wiggle out of paying tax, I don’t think this is up there compared to the tax havens and incorporating self

And, relatedly, no, I don't particularly care about MPS disclosing their tax returns (though it won't show even half the avoidance). I want all of these loop holes - and not just the ones Osbourne was finally "shocked" to find - closed. Not a test to see who is using some of them or not. Especially since it's also not looking at ex-MPs with their nice jobs as speakers, advisors, board members and lobbyists. There’s a lot of money in being an ex-politician.

And with energy companies making higher and higher profits while people pay higher and higher bills and fuel poverty becomes more and more of an issue, Cleggy assures us he has a new solution! Every year your energy provider will have to contact you with details of the best deal for you.

Yes, that's right, Cleggy's solution is more spam because that will totally solve things. Not lower prices, not tougher enforcement, not a mandate to make their myriads of deals easier to understand and most certainly not any kind of investigation into how much profit - and how high a wage for the top of the company - these "service providers" can actually make while screwing us. After all, aren't these companies supposed to be more efficiently run and providing a better service? This is supposed to be the very point of privatisation after all

And speaking of the greater joys of privatisation - we have hose pipe bans around because of very low water table and draught. Sensible. Of course it's a shame that 25% of our water is actually leaking from the water company's pipes.