Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Repugnance of George Osborne

"I regard tax evasion and – indeed – aggressive tax avoidance – as morally repugnant," Mr Osborne said. 

And so, today, in his latest national Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Gideon Osborne (whose personal fortune is valued at around £4 million) handed the very richest in society a huge tax cut - a 10% reduction from 50p in the pound to 45p on earnings above £150,000 per year - on the spurious grounds that because it was allegedly so high, it deterred our wealthy compatriots from paying their tax. So, by creating perhaps the biggest piece of tax avoidance in history, he has legitimised their non-payment - balancing the cost of doing so by freezing age-related tax allowances for pensioners - greedy old sods that they are (in George's universe, not mine dear reader!).

George is worried that the rich may desert us and go elsewhere. You might wonder where, exactly. Tax havens, George warns - except the British Government, more than any other in the world, could act to end the curse of these pirate enclaves where multinationals and the very richest individuals move their money to avoid contributing a fair share to the societies they live in - seven out of the fourteen non-sovereign tax havens  belong to the British Crown, but our neoliberal Government is doing precisely nothing about the exemptions legally enjoyed by these. This although the havens deprive the UK Treasury of somewhere between £2 billions and £12 billions in lost revenue every year. 

Yes, this is the logic of the new moral crusader in 11 Downing Street, hoisting high the flag of fiduciary purity on his crusade against the repugnant and immoral. Time for us all to pay our way. And if the billionaires don't magically cough up more tax on a lower tax bill (????), well, we'll just slash another £10 billion off the beleaguered welfare budget, ignoring the needs of an increasingly larger elderly population.

Yes, this is the logic of the moral crusader who preaches the virtues of contributing to the common purse while quietly "aggressively avoiding" a huge tax bill himself.

This is the George Osborne who has allegedly avoided paying at least £1.6 million in taxes himself  by means of a Trust Fund that will benefit him personally and family members - however aggressively or not he has done this, we will never know. That is a secret between him and his accountant.

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