Tag Archives: Boots

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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Tax-avoiding Boots boss is ‘catastrophe’ for Britain – not Ed Miliband

—Stefano Pessina: When you consider all the tax he has managed to avoid paying, he's got a lot of reasons to smile.

—Stefano Pessina: When you consider all the tax he has managed to avoid paying, he’s got a lot of reasons to smile.

Why should any of us pay attention to Stefano Pessina? He reckons Ed Miliband’s plan for government would be “not helpful” – but isn’t it even less helpful that he’s the acting chief executive of a major tax-avoiding company whose head office is a post office box in a tax haven?

Mr Miliband’s campaigns against high levels of executive pay and “predatory” capitalists, his plans to restore the 50p top rate of income tax, his pledge of a “mansion tax” on homes worth more than £2 million and promise to freeze energy companies’ prices for 20 months have been described by Mr Pessina as “not helpful for business, not helpful for the country and in the end it probably won’t be helpful for them”.

Gosh. Labour’s business spokesman, Chukka Umunna put him right in his place with this response: “It is important that the voice of business is heard during this General Election campaign, not least on Europe.

“But the British people and British businesses will draw their own conclusions when those who don’t live here, don’t pay tax in this country and lead firms that reportedly avoid making a fair contribution in what they pay purport to know what is in Britain’s best interests” [all boldings and emphases mine].

Mr Pessina, you see, took over Boots (more accurately Alliance Boots) in 2007, alongside US private equity manager Kohlberg Kravis Read. Between 2010 and 2012, the company’s tax bill – to all of the countries in which it operates put together – totalled £156 million, against pre-tax profits of £1.8bn – an effective rate of just nine per cent (according to Richard Brooks in The Great Tax Robbery, p.140).

It seems to this writer that Mr Pessina is the one who is “not helpful” for the country.

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