Category Archives: Tax

#CPC21 : Sunak’s speech endorses – and offers to reward – tax avoidance by billionaire Tory donors


Let us be clear about this.

On the day most of us learned that billionaire Conservative donors have been squirrelling away trillions of pounds in tax havens rather than paying their fair share…

… Conservative Chancellor Rishi Sunak has apologetically told them he cannot cut taxes for rich people like them…

… until poor people like This Writer (and, no doubt, yourself) have paid off the costs racked up by his government in coping with Covid-19…

… nonexistent costs, let’s not forget (the money was created by the government, not borrowed)…

… most of which went to Conservative donors who, after avoiding the tendering process by using a fast-track system for friends of the Tories, then provided absolutely nothing in return.

So, after the billionaires have kept public tax money for themselves and taken public cash under false pretences, they now say they’re paying too much tax and want the poor to cover any costs they have incurred. And Sunak is apologising to them for not doing this.

This looks like misappropriation of funds on a global scale.

And Sunak’s offer to cut taxes after the nonexistent bill is paid makes no sense at all, for an obvious reason:

Sunak and his forerunners should have closed all tax avoidance loopholes in the 11 years since they have been in office but they haven’t. Is that because they have benefited from millions of pounds in donations from the people we now see have avoided paying trillions of pounds in tax?

That looks like a “yes” to This Writer!

He tried to cover it up by focusing on Brexit, saying that we’ll see the mythical benefits of leaving the European Union in the long term.

I think we all know what Brexit was really about – don’t we?

Weirdly, the same Chancellor who has immorally handed billions to Tory donors via failed Covid schemes, and trillions to them by allowing tax avoidance, thinks such actions are perfectly reasonable.

To him, it would be immoral to take cash from them – that they want to lend – in order to fund, say, an anti-poverty strategy:

No – he thinks poorly-paid workers should simply get better jobs, as though that is the easiest thing in the world. Clearly he has never had to try to do it himself. And he conveniently forgets an enormous hole in his own logic:

Oh but – he said – the UK economy is recovering faster than anywhere else in the world!

But there’s a reason for that, isn’t there?

Sunak’s speech was not that of a man putting forward a sensible policy – because it isn’t sensible.

So what was he doing? I think Clare Hepworth has it right:

Sunak wasn’t discussing serious plans to deal with current economic issues – he was auditioning to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

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#LabourConference2021 horrorshow continues with meaningless offer to ditch business rates

Rachel Reeves: she’s probably smiling to hide her resemblance to Morticia Addams, but you’ll notice the rictus ends below the eyes. Terrifying.

Here’s a Labour frontbencher who is actually more Tory than the Tories: Rachel Reeves.

Back in 2013 she vowed to be “tougher than the Tories” … on benefit claimants.

This was at a time when people with long-term illnesses and disabilities were dying because of persecution by the Tory-run Department for Work and Pensions.

Now she’s shadow Chancellor and – lo and behold! – she’s trying to out Tory the Tories again.

Her new wheeze is abolishing business rates – helping bosses, not workers.

She reckons the tax is unfair on business bosses, so she says Labour would freeze it until 2023 and make rate relief for smaller firms more generous.

Then it would scrap rates completely, to be replaced with a new, “modern” business tax which it has yet to define. Is that because business bosses haven’t yet told her what to do?

Apparently this plan would be funded by increasing digital services tax, which is paid by search engines and social media firms – from two per cent to 12 per cent next year.

Then this tax, too, would be replaced by a higher global corporation tax rate, agreed as part of an international scheme.

There’s a serious problem with all of this: Labour is not in government and cannot do any of it.

It is just another fairy story to make Keir Starmer’s rabble look more attractive to businesses.

Reeves herself is quoted by the BBC as saying her pie-in-the-sky ideas would allow businesses to “lead the pack, not watch opportunities go elsewhere” – a clear indication that Starmer’s Labour prioritises bosses over workers.

She will also promise that the party’s new business tax will allow “more frequent revaluations” and “instant reductions in bills” where property values fall – making it easier for bosses to save money. She has no plans to induce firms to distribute saved cash among the workers, though.

She will say Labour would end hundreds of tax reliefs, including the break given to privately-run schools by their charitable status – but Labour would not end the privileged status of those schools or bring them into the national system, which would end the artificial gap between private and state education. Perhaps Ms Reeves is hoping to privately-educate her own two children?

She is also planning to set up an “Office of Value for Money” – which even sounds like a daft Tory idea; “Department of Levelling-Up”, anyone? –  which aides describe as a “hit squad” to scrutinise government spending and ensure tax is used wisely.

Who defines “wise”, in this context? It seem to me that this is also pandering to business bosses.

Indeed, the Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the proposals. Small businesses are, on average, the lowest-paying employers. While Reeves is offering to ease their tax burden, she would do nothing to improve employee pay.

And it seems the Tories are happy to go along with this pose by Starmer’s neo-Conservative party.

All that Conservative co-chair Oliver Dowden could say was that Labour had threatened businesses in the past, and that only the Tories could be trusted to support them. Then he mouthed that meaningless “Build Back Better” slogan and called it a day.

By treating Reeves seriously, he validated her daft promises.

But we don’t have to.

Remember: none of the promises of StarmerLabour can be trusted. Keir Starmer has broken every promise he has made to party members and he won’t blink before breaking any promise to the wider electorate.

Labour is rejecting its electoral base by siding with bosses against workers, so Hell will freeze over before Rachel Reeves becomes Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Her speech means absolutely nothing.

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Keir Starmer needs to be persuaded to support socialist social care policy. He must go

Keir Starmer: someone recently said he’d run out of Brylcreem long before he ever gets to run the UK and on the basis of this failure, that is just as well.

This is a shocking indictment of the man who pretends to be the Labour Party’s leader.

Keir Starmer had to be told to oppose the Conservative plan to increase National Insurance that poor people pay – increasing poverty – under the pretext that it is to fund social care.

It’s worse than that – it is class warfare, and a class war in which Starmer seems firmly on the side of the rich few against the masses who made him Labour leader.

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room: nobody has to be taxed to pay for social care. The government owns the magic money tree and can simply create the cash.

The principal reason we talk about people being taxed to pay for such measures is because taxation is needed to control inflation – but inflation hasn’t been a problem whenever the Tory government has created money for itself and its friends over the last 11 years, so it doesn’t seem a problem.

If we accept that improving social care may cause inflation, then there are better ways to tax that problem away. For a start, there is a very rich part of society that isn’t taxed nearly enough – and won’t be forced into starvation or onto the streets if they are asked to pay a little more:

The issue with Starmer that this has revealed is the fact that he had to be told – in fact, it seems he is resisting calls for him to support this commonsense policy. And people are calling him out on it:

Even Tory ministers are coming out against the government plan – before Starmer:

(Sorry but I don’t know who @philbc3 is or what that person may have said about it. Blame Grace, not me.)

The worst part of this is that previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had a perfectly good policy for funding social care – and Starmer hasn’t even had the wit to mention it. Fortunately Corbyn’s shadow chancellor is on hand to remind us all:

This last comment is perhaps the most incisive – and the most damning against Starmer:

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Sunak’s call for City of London tax exemption proves Tories can’t abide by a deal

Rishi Sunak: after his boss Boris Johnson tried to backpedal on the Brexit trade deal, he’s trying to get out of the G7 tax deal. Pretty soon, nobody will want to deal with these Tories at all.

This is the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit trade deal all over again.

Boris Johnson merrily signed up to that without reading it because he wanted the UK out of the European Union by January 1 this year.

Now Rishi Sunak is trying to back the City of London out of a historic global tax change agreed by G7 finance ministers last weekend.

The aim is to ensure that the world’s top 100 businesses pay an appropriate amount of tax in the country where they base their operations, rather than moving their profits around to countries where they can pay the least.

Having agreed to it, Sunak is now trying to get an exemption – but only for the City of London, the super-rich business hub that has recently been losing business to Amsterdam because of – guess what? – Brexit.

He claims that he doesn’t want the UK’s banks to end up paying a grossly higher rate – but research suggests that this will not happen.

So the question arises: why does he really want an exemption? Is it to get all these juicy fat companies to pay their taxes in the UK, even if the amount is minimal?

And, topically:

Doesn’t this prove what we all believed after the Tories tried to back out of the Northern Ireland protocol – that they can’t be trusted to honour any deal so, fairly soon, nobody will want to deal with them?

Source: UK pushes for City of London to be exempt from G7 tax plan | G7 | The Guardian

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Johnson didn’t have power to change tax rules for Dyson, says former Attorney-General. Was Major Corruption lying AGAIN?

Boris Johnson: he should hang his head in shame. Sadly, he doesn’t have the self-awareness – this shot is just of him checking his notes at a prime ministerial broadcast.

Boris Johnson’s claim that he arranged a tax break for James Dyson was impossible because he doesn’t have the power, according to former Attorney-General (the government’s top lawyer) Dominic Grieve.

Johnson defended himself during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (April 21) after evidence emerged that Dyson had contacted him by texting his personal telephone, asking for tax breaks so Dyson staff who had relocated to Singapore after Brexit could return to the UK and build ventilators to tackle Covid-19 without paying tax penalties.

Johnson’s responses are shown in this tweet:

His responses in PMQs were that he refused to accept criticism for doing everything he could to ensure that the UK had the equipment it needed to fight the Covid crisis.

(This is risible when we remember that successive Conservative governments including Johnson’s had systematically weakened the nation’s ability to respond to a pandemic crisis, including selling PPE to China.)

In the end, Dyson provided no ventilators at all.

On the BBC’s Newsnight, former A-G Dominic Grieve made the legal situation abundantly clear:

So either Boris Johnson corruptly and illegally influenced the tax system so this industrialist, who campaigned for Brexit and then scarpered abroad to escape the consequences, could profit from a crisis…

… or everything he can do to secure help for the UK in a crisis is in fact nothing at all.

Major Corruption has shot himself in the foot, it seems.

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Local services in Wales will suffer if the Conservatives take over the Senedd

Think before voting: the Conservatives are promising to freeze council taxes in Wales if they take control of the Assembly – but this will benefit the rich far more than working-class people.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they will freeze council tax for at least two years if they take control of the Welsh Assembly after the local elections in May – but this is a threat, not a promise.

The party has said it will fund a council tax freeze, but there is no guarantee that it will follow through on any such pledge. Even if it does, this only means that it will maintain services as they are.

So what happens when events demand spending beyond that level?

Answer: we won’t see it – they’ll say there isn’t enough money (which is a lie).

Also: who benefits most from a council tax freeze? The rich.

Taxation is a way of redistributing wealth, ensuring that poorer people are able to enjoy publicly-funded services for all, rather than those services being restricted only to those who can afford to pay for them out of their own pocket.

It also ensures that funding is available for projects that would not otherwise receive support from private individuals.

By freezing council taxes, then, the Conservatives are pledging to let rich people keep more of their money while depriving the poor of the services they need to get by.

But the Tories don’t tell you that.

Source: Tories pledge to freeze council tax in Wales for at least two years

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Why is useless HMRC getting a 13 per cent pay rise while brilliant NHS get only one per cent?

It was revealed over the weekend that staff at HM Revenue and Customs are to receive a 13 per cent pay rise. We already know NHS staff will get only one per cent.

Some commentators have insisted that we should not begrudge tax inspectors their pay rise but I am not one of them, because I have recent experience of their work.

I file my tax returns online, you see.

When I did it this year, the automatic system demanded that I pay half the amount again, as a down-payment on next year’s taxes – but I declined on the basis that the Covid crisis has hit my income to the point where I’m unlikely to hit the threshold for paying income tax at all.

The response was that this would be considered and I would be contacted later.

I had that contact last week. After I fished it out of my email system’s spam folder, it instructed me to visit the HMRC element of the gov.uk website.

This meant I had to provide a numerical code and a password, which I did.

Then I was told a further six-digit passcode had been transmitted to my mobile phone, and I had to look it up and input that as well.

Then I was told I would be asked further questions on two of three subjects (the choice being mine). One of them was a non-starter because it didn’t apply to me, and the first of the other two required me to provide “0” as an answer, which HMRC’s website doesn’t allow.

So I could not retrieve my message. I’ve informed HMRC and am awaiting its response. This may take some time.

All I want to do is pay my taxes and the system is holding me up. For this, HMRC staff will receive a 13 per cent pay increase over the next three years.

If I go to my local doctor with a health problem, I can be assured of instant attention. If the problem turns out to be serious, that attention may involve being ambulanced to hospital for the immediate attention of specialists in their field. For this, NHS staff will receive only a one per cent pay increase.

You can appreciate my reasons for begrudging HMRC staff their increase, I hope.

Source: 13% pay rise for HMRC changes debate on NHS dispute, Maajid Nawaz insists – LBC

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Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Is Starmer right to oppose tax rises on businesses and wealth?

Labour leader Keir Starmer seems to have provoked another attack on his tattered left-wing credentials, after he opposed plans to levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune from the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring Budget.

But is he right?

On corporation taxes, it seems he isn’t. Here’s Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, speaking last year but applying his words to this year too:

Okay, but how about wealth taxes?

The argument on taxing businesses is clear – it would discourage them from taking on (or retaining) staff at a time when we need people to keep their jobs, and it would take money out of the economy.

But wealth is kept in (very large) bank accounts and is not attached to employment.

So why not tax the people who have made (or increased) fortunes from the suffering of the rest of us?

At the very least, it might blunt the (fake) Tory argument that we all need to pay back the cost of the Covid crisis (that they’ve already paid anyway, by creating money).

This Writer would therefore tend to support it – but I’m ready to be corrected if you have a better argument.

Starmer’s alternative to taxing the rich is – as perhaps we should have expected – a neoliberal nightmare: he wants ordinary people to give any money we’ve managed to save during the Covid crisis to a new national investment bank. Why should we? If we back businesses, who would get the profit? And what if those businesses failed?

No Holding Back, a campaign group of socialist MPs, has said that Starmer seems to have his priorities wrong and Labour “needs a partnership with society, paid for by taxation,” not a “partnership with business, paid for by society”.

So it’s looking bad for Starmer.

But the outlook for the nation is looking worse. With no direction from either main political party, it seems the UK is drifting into economic shipwreck.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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