Category Archives: Avoidance

Are we letting Dominic Cummings off, now we have other things to entertain us?

Dominic Cummings in the Rose Garden: his attitude was “I can do whatever I like”.

Whatever happened to Dominic Cummings?

Did he quit his job as a prime ministerial advisor, ahead of being sacked? Did he apologise to the nation?

No.

Boris Johnson told us he was on his “last warning”, as if that means anything to us.

His arrogance has been unforgivable. His “last warning” should have been before the lockdown was imposed in Mid-March – not after he broke it in everybody’s face.

Nobody believed it anyway. When Boris Johnson failed spectacularly during Prime Minister’s Questions this week, we all thought he was wearing an earpiece so Demonic could Dominate him from a backroom.

There has been one dead cat after another. Today’s was the revival of a plan to build a new Royal Yacht, to cost the people of the UK £100 million that would be better-spent rebuilding the fabric of our ruined society after 41 years of neoliberal conservative rule and the Covid-19 pandemic.

So this question is pertinent:

Also, if Cummings was on his “last warning” earlier this week, shouldn’t he be out on his ear after this revelation?

Apparently…

Dominic Cummimgs; a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, made it clear that he had stayed at a “spare cottage” at his father’s farm when he addressed allegations that he had broken lockdown restrictions in April.

The cottage in question is not registered for Council Tax, nor has planning permission been sought for the cottage from Durham County Council.

So he broke lockdown and social distancing rules in order to stay in a house that is a standing violation of planning laws, where Council Tax is avoided. Am I correct in that assumption?

And still this creepy little rule-flouter is drawing fat amounts of cash from the public purse.

Why?

Simon Wren-Lewis makes some good suggestions on Mainly Macro. He writes:

The old rules, like when an adviser becomes the story they go, just do not hold anymore, because this government has no respect for those rules.

Cummings is so valuable… He gaslighted half a nation into making them[selves] poorer because of an issue few of them had cared about before the referendum. To then convince enough people that Johnson accepting a deal which the EU originally proposed and the UK rejected was some kind of triumph was also impressive. Winning a large majority in the subsequent election sealed his reputation as a master manipulator of voters, although it has to be said that with all these things he had tremendous help from the collective media.

He wants a say in everything any minister does that might influence his mission… [and Boris Johnson] is happy to allow his partner in crime to pursue his own agenda, because Johnson does not have an extensive agenda of his own.

The ultimate in Cummings gaslighting was his appearance in the Rose Garden of No.10. As Frances Coppola writes, it was a gigantic show, a show of personal power. Look what I can do, he was saying. I can lie about why I went to Barnard Castle, I can lie about how I foresaw how vulnerable the UK was to a pandemic, and there is nothing you can do about it, much like all the previous lies I have made in the past and got others to say.

Yup. This Site drew attention to this lie but hardly anybody paid attention.

And later, when a BBC presenter tells the truth about what he did, his helpers get the BBC to give her a reprimand.

Again, I highlighted the injustice of this, to a chorus of tumbleweeds.

It is not as if Cummings necessarily improves Johnson’s decision making capacity. What Johnson desperately needs is someone with a proven record of gaslighting a nation to get voters to forget about it all as quickly as possible. For that reason Cummings survives, for now at least.

So there you have it.

Dominic Cummings will remain at Downing Street as long as he manages to do what Boris Johnson cannot, which is to make Boris Johnson look acceptable.

He has enjoyed the complicity of the right-wing media in this.

But the press pack has shown signs of turning lately. With Keir Starmer dragging Labour back across to the political right-wing, they have a new horse to back while still supporting the idea that rich people should be allowed to do what they want, especially if it humiliates the poor.

Maybe Demonic’s days are numbered after all. But don’t get your hopes up because even if that does happen, you won’t reap the benefits.

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As corporations send billions to tax havens, who do you think will pay for Covid-19?

Rishi Sunak: it seems he expects the poor to pay for coronavirus while the rich send billions of pounds to tax havens.

The Conservative government has allowed the super-rich to squirrel billions of pounds away in tax havens, while whining that the UK will have to tighten its national belt if it is to pay for the coronavirus crisis.

Legislation from 2016 that was intended to stop £2.5 billion in taxation from being lost to tax havens is being deliberately ignored by the Tories, according to the Tax Justice Network.

This is cash that could be used to help pay for the cost of coping with Covid-19, but instead it seems the Tories want working people and the very poor to pay for it.

Who is better-equipped? The idle rich who won’t do anything with the money apart from keep it away from the national purse? Or the vulnerable poor who will be trodden into the dirt by the deprivation of even more of their vital income?

According to the Tax Justice Network:

The UK missed out on collecting £2.5 billion a year in corporate tax from multinational corporations due to the UK government failing to exercise a 2016 tax transparency law designed to prevent billions in corporate tax abuse.

Asked whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to exercise powers under the Finance Act 2016 to make multinationals’ country by country reporting data public, the UK Treasury confirmed to Parliament this week that is has reversed its 2016 commitment to publishing the data at a national level, and is blocking the OECD from publishing the data at an international level.

Had the UK government exercised the powers afforded to it by the Finance Act 2016 to publish corporations’ country by country reporting data, the UK could have prevented at least £10 billion in corporate tax from being lost to tax havens since 2016, which could for example have offset the £6.6 billion the NHS is expected to receive in Covid-19 funding, and provided for additional investment in crucial equipment.

Source: UK u-turns on commitment to tax transparency, giving up £10 billion in corporate tax

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Coronavirus: This tax haven exclusion is just one way the UK is missing the chance to change

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues.

Here’s a good idea. Shame it’s another country that came up with it:

https://twitter.com/withorpe/status/1251925513217675264

https://twitter.com/withorpe/status/1251940269303435264

It makes perfect sense.

Companies that have withheld their profits from HM Revenue and Customs by registering themselves in tax havens have opted out of paying the full amount of tax that they could (I would say should) have been paying.

Therefore there is no reason they should benefit from aid schemes funded by those taxes, in the UK.

And do we expect the UK to impose a restriction similar to Denmark?

https://twitter.com/KateyKay3/status/1251951667450429450

So Denmark is doing the right thing, but the UK won’t because we have a Conservative government that receives donations from tax dodgers, in the opinions of the masses on Twitter.

Yet millions of people voted for the Conservative government that allows this gaming of the system.

There will be more chances, too. The simple fact is that the coronavirus lockdown, and the many deaths that Conservative government failures have directly caused, mean the Tories will need our help to get the UK running they way they want afterwards.

Alternatively, we could demand the changes we need in order to live the kind of lives they have in Denmark (for example).

Do you honestly want a few crawlers to throw that chance away?

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Trump trade war threat over tax shows the drawbacks of globalisation

A family at war? They may look and act the same, but that doesn’t mean Donald Trump won’t attack Boris Johnson if he feels like it [Composite: Laura Tisdale/Twitter].

This is awkward, with Boris Johnson desperate to get a trade deal between the UK and the USA.

Donald Trump is threatening reprisals if Johnson goes ahead with a plan to tax US tech corporations like Google and Facebook on profits they make from UK customers.

This Writer understands that it is possible to prevent foreign tech companies from operating in the UK – don’t China and North Korea do this?

But if the UK did this, then the US government could impose crippling sanctions on this country.

The simple fact is that Trump has Johnson over a barrel.

And where Trump goes, others will follow. The loss to the UK’s tax take must be staggering.

And it’s all in line with Conservative economic policy.

Ever since Thatcher, Tories have demanded that businesses across the world must be able to operate across the world if they can, but must be allowed to operate from the country of their choice.

And that’s where they are taxed.

I suppose the answer was to demand that these multinationals set up subsidiaries in the countries where they operated. But wasn’t that the situation before Thatcherism?

It seems the Tories deliberately harmed the UK economy with this policy.

Can anybody explain the thinking that supported this economic disaster?

Source: Trump administration threatens trade war with UK over digital tax plan | The Independent

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By-election candidate supports tax avoidance for the rich – but hammered the vulnerable with the bedroom tax

Chris Davies: He supports tax avoidance and evasion, according to his voting record.

If you were reading This Site yesterday (July 30), you’ll be aware that a friend on Facebook has been looking at the Parliamentary voting record of Chris Davies, the former MP and current Conservative candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – and it makes grim reading.

The same friend has now finished researching Mr Davies’s record on taxation and the results speak for themselves. Amongst other decisions…

• Davies voted against a series of proposals intended to reduce tax avoidance and evasion.
• Davies voted against an investigation into the banking industry’s failure to prevent tax evasion.
• Davies voted against requiring multinational enterprises to publish a country by country tax strategy including information on their attitude to tax planning (this could have established evidence to show how companies avoid paying tax).
• Davies voted against giving the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority duties to combat abusive tax avoidance arrangements.
• Davies voted not to support the publishing full details of the Government’s tax settlement with Google and for an international agreement to implement country-by-country reporting of company accounts.

So you can see that Mr Davies is a big fan of tax avoidance and evasion by corporations and the very rich. Conversely:

• Davies voted to ensure that victims of domestic abuse would have to pay extra charges – the bedroom tax – if they were provided with a secure tenancy that incorporates a spare room.

So he’s against tax fairness; he would let corporations and the rich get away without paying a huge amount of tax that would hugely contribute to public services, but he’s happy to hammer the vulnerable with an unfair and random tax that affects people according to the accommodation that is allocated to them (which in turn is based on what is available).

I hope the people of Brecon and Radnorshire pay attention to this abysmal record – while also remembering that Mr Davies is himself a convict, having been found guilty of faking expenses claims earlier this year.

Mr Davies should never have been voted into Westminster. It is time to kick him back into the political wilderness.

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Conflict of interest: Treasury minister linked to firm which profits from tax enquiries

Mel Stride: Conflict of interest?

Conservatives and corruption – once again those words appear to fit together like they were made for each other.

It is not credible for a Conservative MP with connections to the tax avoidance industry to be involved in efforts to curtail that industry’s activities.

But that is what we see in the employment of Mel Stride on such work in the Treasury, when his father – also Melvin Stride – sells “tax investigation insurance” to safeguard possible tax avoiders from HMRC prosecution.

Apparently nobody in the government saw anything amiss with that.

Now for a very important question.

Do you know someone who voted Conservative in the local elections?

If so, why not remind them that their vote supports this corruption?

tax avoidance crackdown is being spearheaded by a Treasury minister whose father sells insurance to those being targeted by HMRC.

Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury since 2017, has been the Government’s main spokesman on the controversial “loan charge” policy, a campaign that targets those who used so-called “disguised remuneration” schemes dating back 20 years.

His father, also called Melvyn Stride, owns a company that sells “tax investigation insurance” to businesses subject to HMRC inquiries, Telegraph Money can disclose.

Source: Treasury minister linked to firm which profits from tax enquiries

Brexit talks are stalling because May wants to sell the NHS to Donald Trump

Theresa May and Donald Trump: That’s not what he really wants to get his hands on!

What’s left of it, anyway.

Jeremy Corbyn has said Brexit talks with the Conservative government are stalling because the Tories want deregulation, partly to ensure a US trade deal.

Deregulation, for those of you who aren’t in the know, means a lowering of standards – in this case to allow American firms to trade their lower-quality goods with the UK – chlorine-washed chicken being the most-quoted example.

It would allow the Tory government to sell off the remains of the National Health Service to American profit-making interests.

And it would also allow the Tories to set up the UK as a tax haven, right on the EU’s doorstep.

Environmental responsibilities and workers’ rights would also be sacrificed in Mrs May’s march to Donald Trump’s drumbeat.

Mr Corbyn won’t accept any of it. He’s standing up for you – to give you a fighting chance to maintain our current rights as a bare minimum of what we can expect in the future, to retain current high consumer standards, to make sure that the super-rich pay their taxes, and to stop the Tories plunging us into an expensive and harmful US-style health system.

Every single citizen of the UK should support him in that, for an obvious reason.

Brexit represents the desire to stop giving away our assets to foreign countries and companies, but that is precisely what Mrs May is trying to do.

AFTERWORD: Some might say Mrs May is neglecting a deal better-suited to Donald Trump:


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Was the Brexit date really set to avoid EU tax avoidance laws? It seems not

The Cayman Islands: People have been saying the date of Brexit was set to avoid an EU law that would ban tax avoidance – but it seems the UK has already implemented it.

No matter what happens to Theresa May’s government after she lost the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal, it seems the UK will have to extend Article 50 and push Brexit back by several weeks or months.

This Site has already discussed the humiliation that will signify, not just for Mrs May but for the people of the United Kingdom as a whole; the world will think we’re a bunch of clowns.

But Vox Political commenter Charles Loft tells me, “There is not enough Parliamentary time to get three Bills essential to Brexit through Parliament by 29th March, even with weekend and late night sittings, so should she survive… (very hopefully NOT!) she would have to extend Article 50.”

And Graham Corran reminded us, “[Theresa May] wants Brexit because her party is bankrolled by rich sponsors – and includes a lot of people – who want to continue to leg it offshore with their wealth to keep it away from the tax man.”

Other commentators have told us time and time again that Mrs May set March 29 as our leaving date because she wants to allow the super-rich to continue avoiding taxes by dodging the European Union’s new Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive.

In fact, that directive came into force on January 1 and the UK has taken steps to incorporate it into national law – but the only part of it that currently applies is the “Controlled Foreign Company” rule, that deters profit-shifting to a low tax/no tax country. Who’d like to see a progress report from HMRC on measures taken to prevent this?

Other directives don’t come in until January 2020 and the UK has changed domestic law to bring it in line with them.

So was the tax avoidance argument a red herring?

And if the EU directive is already part of UK tax law, are we going to see red-faced gammons getting angry about it?

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Here’s why people in the UK have really strange ideas about wealth

Laura Pidcock MP.

Isn’t it odd that people think if you’re wealthy, you can’t sympathise with or support people who aren’t as fortunate?

Labour MP Laura Pidcock had a taste of that attitude, as the record on Twitter showed:

The critic was a chap called Bryon Backhouse who appears to have deleted his Twitter history/account and started again after this embarrassing incident.

His comment, “Nice boots Laura, but at £380 a pair my wife will have to make do with slippers from M&S,” indicates a suggestion that her socialism is fake – that she’s in Parliament for the large MP salary that allows her to afford a pair of pricey boots.

Ms Pidcock swiftly put him straight: “LOL they were about £40”.

You have to laugh yourself, don’t you?

And John Scratcher’s response, “He’s probably trying the old fallacy that someone on £75k isn’t allowed to care about poor people,” seems right on the button.

Of course it isn’t true.

The measure of a citizen in today’s United Kingdom isn’t the amount they earn; it’s whether they are willing to pay their way – to give up a proportionate amount of their income for the state to use, investing in the economy or providing social security.

Sadly, too many Conservatives seem determined to avoid this responsibility – hiding their wealth in tax havens or pursuing other ways of avoiding paying their fair share.

If anybody thinks it is a coincidence that the UK is due to leave the European Union a matter of days before new EU laws come into force, forbidding tax avoidance, they need to think again.

So, for me, a person who takes home a huge amount of money is entitled to every penny – apart from the amount that is levied by the state.

As that person has benefited from economic conditions created by the state, it seems only right that they should contribute as well.

It seems clear that Ms Pidcock does indeed contribute in that way. I wonder if her critic does?

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How many of the BBC’s household names are also tax cheats?

Breaking news: But this time the BBC is the news.

You see that household-name BBC TV presenter you like so much? Chances are, they’ve been cheating on their taxes.

That’s what HM Revenue and Customs is implying in its revelation that more than 100 BBC presenters are being investigated for alleged tax avoidance.

So, while you and I have been working hard to pay the TV licence fee – a tax imposed on all of us before we can watch not only BBC shows but any TV at all – it seems they have been ducking out of paying their fair share.

And they’re being paid a fortune! We’re discussing people who have been paid at least £150,000 per year.

I should stress that this is only an investigation; nobody has actually been found guilty of anything – yet.

But if they are, This Writer wants them to be named and punished.

As for the BBC itself – the Corporation seems to have allowed these people to cheat by paying them through personal service companies, whatever they may be.

What’s wrong with good old Pay As You Earn? The rest of us have to put up with it – why not these entitled ‘faces’?

More than 100 BBC presenters are under investigation for alleged tax avoidance after being suspected of wrongly using personal service companies to minimise their tax bills, HMRC has revealed.

A “very significant number of BBC news presenters” – as well as a number of staff at other broadcasters – face demands to hand over unpaid tax and national insurance contributions after HMRC launched a probe into whether stars had incorrectly declared themselves to be self-employed.

The BBC announced in July that it had moved 85 presenters onto its books as full-time employees, after a report published in 2012 found that the corporation paid more than 124 stars in excess of £150,000 a year via personal service companies.

Source: More than 100 BBC stars facing tax avoidance inquiry, HMRC reveals

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