Tag Archives: avoid

Why did Liz Truss miss a BBC interview last week? Here’s one possible answer [VIDEO]

Prime ministerial front-runner Liz Truss inexplicably failed to turn up to a BBC interview last week.

She cancelled the appearance, with her team saying she could no longer spare the time to tell the nation what her policies as prime minister would be.

In fact, she has never been quizzed about her plans on national television, meaning she may become PM without many of us knowing what she represents.

But the non-appearance has provided plenty of material for satirists like ‘Liv Struss’ performer Nerine Skinner, who provides a simple answer to the question of what she will provide to the role of PM: idiocy.

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Why is Rishi Sunak’s wife allowed to avoid tax by claiming non-dom status?

Slimy: Sunak.

Insult upon injury: remember the indirect income Rishi Sunak was getting via his wife’s interest in a company connected to Russia? It seems she wasn’t even paying tax on it!

So Sunak has saved millions of pounds from his own family’s tax bill while piling massive tax hikes on the hard-working people of the UK.

What a shocking betrayal of his duties as Chancellor.

Here are the facts as they are understood at the time of writing:

Rishi Sunak’s millionaire wife has claimed non-domicile status in order to save on her tax bill while her husband was chancellor.

Akshata Murthy, whose family business is estimated to be worth around £3.5bn, has continued to use the valuable tax status even after Mr Sunak was put in charge of setting taxes for the country in February 2020, according to two people familiar with her financial arrangements.

So-called ‘non-dom’ status is entirely lawful and can save an individual from paying UK tax on income from dividends from foreign investments, rental payments on property overseas or bank interest. The status also means that you avoid UK inheritance tax.

The decision to pay less tax through non-dom status is optional.

It is not known exactly how much has been saved by Ms Murthy but sources told The Independent it could have saved her millions of pounds in tax on foreign earnings over several years.

In a statement issued after publication, a spokesperson for Ms Murthy claimed that she had to use non-dom status because of her Indian citizenship.

The spokesperson said: “Akshata Murty is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and parent’s home.

“India does not allow its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country simultaneously. So, according to British law, Ms Murty is treated as non-domiciled for UK tax purposes. She has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income.”

Doesn’t look good, does it?

The Independent article provides an analysis of what Ms Murthy could have saved, in comparison with what a UK citizen would have paid, on her Infosys income:

Dividends from Infosys calculated from Ms Murthy’s stake in the company, of 0.93 per cent – worth approximately £725 million based on recent market valuations – suggest the payments could have totalled around £11.6 million in the past year.

As a non-dom, Ms Murthy would not have had to pay tax on these dividend payments in the UK. That compares to an ordinary UK resident, who, paying tax on dividends at the so-called ‘additional rate’ (for all dividend payments over the personal allowance) would have to pay tax of 38.1 per cent on the payouts.

The special status could therefore have saved her a bill of around £4.4m in tax, although she may have incurred tax liabilities overseas.

There you have it.

Sunak seems to have enjoyed huge – indirect – tax breaks through his wife while inflicting the highest tax burden in more than 70 years on the rest of us.

If she’s only allowed to be Indian, is it time Ms Murthy slunk back there, taking her slimy husband with her?

Source: Revealed: Rishi Sunak’s millionaire wife avoids tax through non-dom status | The Independent

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Doormat Dave: Labour pen-pusher wants the Party to stand for NOTHING, to avoid offending anybody at all

Doormats: Keir Starmer (left) and his right-wing ACTING general secretary David Evans, want Labour members to have no opinions or policies, for fear of upsetting anybody at all.

Once upon a time, the Labour Party had a mission. It stood for something. Under Keir Starmer and David Evans, those days are gone.

These two muppets are demanding that party members suppress all their political opinions – under pain of suspension or expulsion, let’s not forget – in order to avoid offending literally anybody at all, in any way.

They seem to have lost their way – badly.

As a party of Opposition, it is Labour’s duty to cause offence – at least to the policies of the Conservative government that they have been elected to fight.

They can’t lay out the grounds of any opposition without potentially offending people who disagree on fundamental ideological grounds.

Ah, but there’s the rub.

Starmer and Evans don’t actually have an ideology. Their only interest is in gaining power for its own sake.

As I have stated before, they are like the weathercocks in Tony Benn’s famous speech about “signposts and weathercocks”. To paraphrase: some politicians are like signposts – they point in a certain direction and you always know what they stand for; others are like weathercocks – they blow with the wind, changing their minds with the weather in a vain attempt to pick up public support by trying to attach themselves to whatever is fashionable at the time.

That’s Starmer for you, and Evans. They go any way the wind blows. In the words of a famous song that features those words, nothing really matters to them.

I’ve recorded a short video blog about it which you’ll probably enjoy. Here it is:

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Russia report: If Russian influence over the UK is ‘the new normal’, shouldn’t someone be charged with treason?

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko. All perfectly innocent?

Now we can all see why Boris Johnson did not want the so-called ‘Russia Report’ released before the general election last year.

The report – released today (July 21) by Parliament’s new Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) – shows that successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

This has led, the report states, to the growth of an industry of “enablers” who are “de facto agents of the Russian state”. The report does not explicitly state that these enablers include Conservative government politicians, but its assertion that Russia had access to “the highest levels” of political figures certainly suggests that this is the case.

And the fact that Russia has influence “at the highest levels” seems to have made it almost impossible to organise a response.

The report refers to the defence of UK democratic processes as a “hot potato” over which no government organisation wanted to take the lead in conducting an assessment of Russian interference.

In its response to the report today, the Tory government has said it has seen no evidence of interference in (this is the example it gives) the Brexit referendum. It seems clear that there is a good reason for that: nobody was looking. The government has said it sees no reason to conduct a retrospective investigation into such interference, which looks like a tacit admission of guilt in the light of the report. Committee member Stewart Hosie said, “That is meaningless if they haven’t looked for it.”

The ISC states that “social media companies must take action and remove covert hostile state material. Government must ‘name and shame’ those who fail to act”. The latter demand seems unlikely to happen as it seems clear that the Tory government does not want to do anything.

One reason for that may be the fact that the Tories have been delighted to welcome Russian money and the oligarchs who owned it, “providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’.”

It is unlikely that Russia actually interfered in the mechanics of voting in general elections or the Brexit referendum; the UK’s paper-based voting system “makes actual interference with the mechanism difficult” – but “we should not be complacent about other forms of interference”.

The report states that Russian influence seems to have been exerted prominently in the social media, whose bosses had no interest in preventing it.

It states: “There have been widespread allegations that Russia sought to influence voters in the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU: studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories on RT and Sputnik, and the use of ‘bots’ and ‘trolls’, as evidence.

“The actual impact of such attempts on the result itself would be difficult – if not impossible – to prove. However what is clear is that the Government was slow to recognise the existence of the threat – only understanding it after the ‘hack and leak’ operation against the Democratic National Committee, when it should have been seen as early as 2014.

“As a result the Government did not take action to protect the UK’s process in 2016. The Committee has not been provided with any post-referendum assessment – in stark contrast to the US response to reports of interference in the 2016 presidential election. In our view there must be an analogous assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum.”

In their statement, the Tories have made it clear that they will not conduct a retrospective investigation: “The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of the threat posed by Hostile State Activity, including around potential interference in UK democratic processes.

“We keep such assessments under review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence, including during democratic events such as elections and referendums.

“Where new information emerges, the Government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence it develops or receives, including whether it is appropriate to make this public. Given this long standing approach, a retrospective assessment of the EU Referendum is not necessary.”

This is hardly encouraging, given that the ISC report makes it clear that the Tory government has deliberately avoided looking for Russian interference.

Labour has delivered the weak-ass response that we have come to expect from Keir Starmer’s sub-Tory party, courtesy of Lisa “I wouldn’t disclose plans to sell off the NHS” Nandy.

“The report is very clear that the Government has underestimated the response required to Russia and it is imperative we learn the lessons from the mistakes that have been made,” she said. “The Labour Party calls on the Government to study the conclusions of the report carefully and take the necessary steps to keep our country safe.”

Fat chance! And she knows it. The people of the UK needed a much more robust response, calling out Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his extremely strong ties with Russians – he plays tennis with them in return for donations to the Tory Party, remember – and demanding a full-strength investigation into connections between Conservative government members past and present and Russians in the UK – both private citizens and representatives of that country’s government.

I’ll say it again, for clarity:

What we need now is a comprehensive and independent investigation by law-enforcement agencies into connections between anybody who has been a member of a Conservative government over the past 10 years (including members of other parties who have allied with the Tories – the DUP and the Liberal Democrats) and Russians in the UK who have been here either as private citizens or as representatives of that countries government. Did – and do – these relationships pose a threat to the UK’s security and to its democracy?

And if so, should those who have created that threat be arrested and charged with treason?

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Terrified Tories are running from media scrutiny

If the people of Peterborough return a Conservative to Parliament after this display, I would be very surprised.

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Wrong again, Graun! People ARE avoiding the news – except major developments. And for a good reason…

Propaganda: It seems people are avoiding the mainstream news outlets because they are seen as purveyors of fake – or at least severely slanted – news.

Brexit isn’t the reason people are avoiding the news – but The Guardian only touches on the real reason, perhaps because it is too close to home.

People are turning away from mainstream news outlets because they are perceived to be pushing a particular agenda:

Britons also say they are losing trust in the news, with the authors attributing this to increased political polarisation: “Even the most trusted brands like the BBC are seen by many as pushing or suppressing agendas – especially over polarising issues like Brexit and climate change.”

Doesn’t that seem more plausible than Brexit fatigue, when

according to one BBC insider, the BBC News website attracted 28 million unique visitors in January on the day of parliament’s first meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit day, while 25 million checked the website the following day when it was covering the no-confidence vote in the prime minister?

Brexit certainly hasn’t harmed This Site’s audience. Vox Political‘s highest-ever visitor total was recorded on March 23 this year, when I reported on the ‘Revoke Brexit’ e-petition that became the most-signed petition on the government’s website: 93,008 views.

It’s certainly possible that some Britons are giving up on the news in order to avoid the blanket coverage of Brexit that has made it headline news practically every day since before the EU referendum.

But when

alleged Brexit fatigue among the British public has also been used by some news programmes to justify declining audiences,

it seems far more likely that the news media are trying to find an excuse that does not mention the possibility that they are pushing their own agenda.

Doesn’t it? Or is that paranoid conspiracy-theorising?

Source: Third of Britons say they avoid news out of Brexit frustration | Media | The Guardian

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Tax break for referendum campaign donors is nothing less than theft

Brexit-backing Arron Banks, seen here with Nigel Farage, donated £8.1m to his Leave.EU campaign group [Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images].

“This is theft. They buy control of our country, then get tax relief on their investment.”

Damn straight.

This Writer can’t help but agree with ‘Brexit Job Losses’ (@MrHickmott).

All you have to do is look at the list of beneficiaries from this proposed law change. None of them are short of a few pennies.

And how many are looking forward to cashing in on Brexit?

Brexit-backing MPs as well as counterparts from the remain campaign have backed a controversial measure to extend a tax break to referendum campaign donors, after several billionaire donors received large demands from HMRC.

The shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd, criticised the proposed amendment to the finance bill from prominent leave campaigners Charlie Elphicke, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith, but which has also been backed by Labour MPs and remain supporters Alison McGovern and Caroline Flint.

It would extend a tax exemption for political parties to referendum campaigns – backdating it to cover the EU referendum.

Last month it was revealed that several prominent leave campaigners who donated large sums to the Brexit campaigns during the 2016 referendum received substantial tax demands from HMRC.

HMRC said it had applied the law equally across all donors, but senior UK cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove expressed concerns about the demands.

Source: MPs on both sides back tax break for referendum campaign donors | Politics | The Guardian


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Top Tory election donors appear to be tax avoiders, money launderers and private health bosses

The Canary has provided a handy copy-and-keep list of the top Tory election donors, and it’s a real rogues’ gallery. Check out these creeps:

The Tories’ top donors included:

  • JCB Service – £1.5m. It’s owned by Anthony Bamford, who was not only named in the Panama Papers, but who operates JCB out of tax haven Bermuda.
  • John C Armitage – £1.1m. Armitage is the founder of Egerton Capital, a hedge fund that enables [xml] tax avoidance for investors.
  • John Griffin – £1.03m. Griffin and his private hire firm Addison Lee were caught up in a lobbying scandal in 2012.
  • Mark J. C. Bamford – £750,000. The younger brother of Anthony Bamford, owner of JBC Service, he was caught up in a row over a JCB subsidiary, JCB research, which, while only worth £27,000, was the biggest Tory donor in the run-up to the 2010 general election.
  • Andrew E Law – £525,000. Law is a hedge fund owner [paywall] whose firm Caxton Associates is registered in the US tax avoidance state of Delaware.
  • David J Rowland – £312,500. The Canary conducted a major investigation into Rowland in 2016, and described his offshore tax affairs as “mind blowing”.
  • Lord Michael Ashcroft – £500,000. Ashcroft has been involved in several tax avoidance scandals. He also co-authored the book at the centre of the David Cameron ‘Pig gate’ scandal.

Other Tory donors [pdf p3-5] during the election period included:

  • Sir Henry and Lady Keswick – £150,000. Keswick’s company Jardine Matheson was linked to tax avoidance via Luxembourg and has numerous subsidiaries in tax haven Bermuda.
  • Charles ‘Julian’ Cazalet – £10,000. Cazalet is a non-executive director of NHS private provider Deltex Medical Group.
  • Malcolm Healey – £100,000. Healey was fined by HMRC in 2015 for making £8.6m [pdf] by using a tax avoidance scheme.
  • Bruce Hardy McLain – £100,000. McLain’s private investment firm CVC Capital Partners is currently embroiled in a £5m bribery and tax avoidance scandal involving Formula One.
  • Ayman and Sawsan Asfari – £100,000. Ayman is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. He also runs oil company Petrofac, which avoids tax via Jersey.
  • Rainy City Investments – £100,000. Owned by Peter and Fred Done, who were fined £800,000 by the Serious Fraud Office over money laundering allegations.
  • Investors in Private Capital Ltd – £150,000. Co-owned by James ‘Jamie’ Reuben, family friend of George Osborne, it paid no UK corporation tax in 2014 [pdf p13], despite a turnover [pdf p17] of £35m.

Source: Here’s the list of top Tory election donors Theresa May should be ashamed of | The Canary


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If you want to avoid Snoopers’ Charter scrutiny, look out; most VPN services are terrible

[Image: @richard_littler/Twitter.]

[Image: @richard_littler/Twitter.]

Typical.

Only days after I write an article saying Virtual Private Networks are the best way to avoid scrutiny by the government under its newly-approved Snoopers’ Charter, someone chimes in to say that they’re rubbish.

I’d normally say that is a business opportunity for someone, but in this case it seems they would need to be based outside the UK, in order to avoid falling under the jurisdiction of the Snoopers’ Charter themselves.

I don’t have anything against foreign nationals creating a decent service and offering it to UK citizens; it’s just that it won’t directly benefit the UK’s economy.

Anyway, you’d best read the information for yourself: Most VPN Services are Terrible · GitHub. The gist is:

My TL;DR advice: Roll your own and use Algo or Streisand. For messaging & voice, use Signal. For increasing anonymity, use Tor Browser for desktop, and Onion Browser for mobile.

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