George Osborne really thinks we’re all stupid, doesn’t he?
Today he got together with his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, to say co-operation between countries is needed to close loopholes that have allowed high-profile firms like Starbucks and Google to pay next to nothing in Corporation Tax.
They told a G20 meeting of finance ministers in Mexico to help identify possible gaps in tax laws.
Just wait one nit-picking moment, Mr 0!
I remember an article by the great George Monbiot (who happens to be almost a neighbour of mine) about the effects of a couple of minor adjustments to the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 – that meant companies in the UK pay nothing at all on money made by their foreign branches and may claim the expense of funding their foreign branches against tax paid in the UK.
The measures meant any UK company that did not outsource its staff or funnel its earnings through a tax haven would find itself at a competitive disadvantage.
So you see Starbucks and Google have been doing (more or less) exactly what these changes in UK tax law intended them to do – and Gideon’s pose with Schauble is just so much hot air and posturing.
Mr Monbiot went on to say the following: “Our political system protects and enriches a fantastically wealthy elite, much of whose money is, as a result of their interesting tax and transfer arrangements, in effect stolen from poorer countries, and poorer citizens of their own countries.
“Ours is a semi-criminal money-laundering economy, legitimised by the pomp of the lord mayor’s show and multiple layers of defence in government. Politically irrelevant, economically invisible, the rest of us inhabit the margins of the system.
“Governments ensure that we are thrown enough scraps to keep us quiet, while the ultra-rich get on with the serious business of looting the global economy and crushing attempts to hold them to account.”
Not only is Mr 0 shafting us (and by “us” I include anyone with a business that isn’t big enough to indulge in the shady practices listed above); he’s passing the buck onto Johnny Foreigner to put things right (in the certain knowledge that it isn’t going to happen).
Well, Gideon, that’s just too bad because I reckon I’ve caught you red-handed.