Jeremy Corbyn’s latest move – to give reassurance that Labour will campaign to remain in Europe and then, if elected in 2020, reverse from the inside any diminution of workers’ rights which Cameron may have secured – is a smart move when it is linked with pushing through the £50bn financial transactions tax on almost all EU bond, share and derivative transactions. But in terms of the wealthy making a fair contribution to paying down the budget deficit, which is Osborne’s excuse for prolonged austerity whose real aim is to shrink the State, there are many other options to serve that goal. Continue reading
Industrial scale tax evasion and avoidance is not only symptomatic of the insatiable greed of the hyper-rich and the over-mighty corporations, it also serves another purpose which is much less recognised. The touchstone of the neoliberal ideology is globalisation – let the markets be all-powerful and governments get out of the way. That is served by light-touch (i.e. minimalist) regulation, blind trust in free markets, and the unfettered mobility of capital. But it further demands that the state should be kept deprived of adequate funding so that its capacity for intervention is short-circuited. That is exactly what widespread tax evasion/avoidance achieves. A state starved of tax revenues – even HMRC admits it loses £35bn a year on tax scams, though Richard Murphy of Tax Justice Network argues it’s nearer £120bn a year – cannot deliver the goals of social democracy which a majority of the electorate desire. Increasingly the government falls prey to the markets even to raise its own revenues. Continue reading
Spain’s biggest companies have greatly increased their presence in tax havens, with the number of subsidiaries established in these tax-lite territories up 44% during 2013, the worst year in the country’s economic crisis.
The IBEX35 companies upped the number of branches in tax havens from 561 to 810 during that year, new research finds.
Financial flows to tax havens – from Delaware and Jersey in the US The Netherlands and Ireland, to Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – account for 24% of total Spanish foreign investment, through a transfer of capital between subsidiaries ( activity that amounts to about a quarter of overseas investments by Spanish companies. ) Continue reading
George Eaton in the New Statesman has done us a service by revisiting the informative audit of the 2010 election by the Tory pollster Lord Ashcroft, entitled Minority Verdict, which throws new relevant light on the likely outcome of the present election campaign. In 2010, despite Labour polling the second lowest total of electors since 1918 and Gordon Brown being the most unpopular prime minister in modern times, the Tories still failed to win, ending up with 305 seats, 21 seats short of an outright majority. The question of course is why in such auspicious circumstances (for them), they still dramatically failed. Their assumption was that they had been cheated of victory by all the leader’s newfangled modernisation stuff like Cameron’s bobsleighing in the Arctic or hugging a hoodie. But Ashcroft’s survey tells a very different tale. Continue reading
There could hardly be a more poignant vignette of Britain today than the hidden truths revealed by the HSBC Swiss bank. Five years after this colossal tax evasion and avoidance scam was known to the UK authorities, there has been 1 prosecution. At the same time, in just one of those 5 years (2013), no less than 1,046,398 sanctions (deprivation of all income for weeks or months on end) were imposed on unemployed persons claiming job seekers’ allowance, often for trivial or even incorrect reasons. Also in that year nearly 200,000 persons were prosecuted because they didn’t have a TV licence. The culture of rewards and punishments in Britain today is based unambiguously on the ideology of class power dominated as never before by a small clique with overwhelming control of wealth and power. Continue reading