I am an advocate of government doing things more efficiently and more effectively. Its common sense. I see no real issue with everyone paying their share of the cuts needed to bring public spending down. I also see no reason why people should not pay their fair share of taxation either.
I think I favour a world wide tax system that taxes you for activities in that country. So if you make £1 in UK PLC, then you should pay tax on that £1 to the UK government. If on the other hand you make £1 from the people of Belgium, i think its fair for you to pay tax on that to the people of Belgium.
So I was interested in a set of examples that have just arrived in my inbox from the folks over at UKUNCUT. Examples backed up by fact, that makes them so much more compelling.
The examples of Boots and HSBC PFI projects are strong, robust examples.
The government should be sorting out the country's finances by being fair. That means collecting tax and stopping avoidance. It means being fair in the distribution of cuts too. That combination has the possibility of leading to stronger economic growth, more jobs and less harsh cuts.
It also has the benefit of being progressive. The VAT hike we saw earlier this year was regressive because it hits poorer people harder. Collecting company taxation (at a proper level) is equitable and fair.
In the current climate of #hackgate we have the era of spin truly coming to an end, and I hope a new era of openness, transparency and accountability. That needs to stretch over to our wider politics, especially taxation and cuts. An example: when the government announced the 1p cut to fuel duty in March, they failed to mention that they had just put it up by 3p a litre because of the rise in VAT in January. Yes, a different tax, but to you and me it is still and always will be TAX.
Openness and accountability means that when decisions are made they are explained clearly and factually. The British people are not stupid, they can understand and appreciate the benefits of taxation (from defence to education to health, it all has to be paid for).
UKUNCUT and the details of their Croydon protests on 30th July
The UKUNCUT tax facts:
1) Topshop owner Philip Green paid no tax on earnings of £1.2 billion. The £285 million he avoided (by sending the money to his wife in Monaco) would pay for 20,000 NHS nurses.
http://www.taxresearch.org .uk/Blog/2006/06/19/sir-ph ilip-green-the-rewards-of- tax-avoidance/
2) City bankers paid themselves £7 billion in bonuses this year, despite having caused the economic crisis and they're still not lending to local businesses. That £7 billion could reverse all the cuts to Higher Education funding or pay for 490,000 nurses !! RBS alone paid out nealy £1 billion despite making a big loss:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/ business/2011/feb/24/rbs-b ankers-bonuses-despite-los s
3) Banks are also dodging tax as well as helping others to dodge taxes: Barclays alone dodged over £2.5 billion on profits of over £11 billion. That's 175,000 nurses !
http://www.guardian.co.uk/ business/2011/feb/18/barcl ays-bank-113m-corporation- tax
4) Boots paid only 3% tax on its profits after moving its HQ to a PO Box in Switzerland, despite making nearly all its profits in the UK.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/ business/2009/feb/09/tax-g ap-boots-chemists
5) Vodafone avoided most of a £6 billion tax bill after coming to a cosy agreement with HMRC. The £5 billion they dodged would pay for 350,000 nurses.
http://liberalconspiracy.o rg/2010/11/01/why-are-ther e-protests-against-vodafon e-a-simple-guide/
6) HSBC has made £38 million profit at UK taxpayers' expense from publicly subsidised PFI schemes, including the refurbishment of the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth. The profits were banked in the tax haven of Guernsey and HSBC paid less than 1% tax on them! Meanwhile the Queen Alexandra has made 700 staff redundant in the last year and a half. This is almost exactly the same as the number of nurses that the 28% tax HSBC didn't pay on the £38 million profit would have paid for:
http://www.publicservice.c o.uk/news_story.asp?id=160 57