Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Back in April, I wrote an article about how our esteemed Chancellor seemed unable to comprehend that rich people can afford expensive accountants and lawyers to get out of paying tax, so I'm rather baffled to hear that three months on Georgie and Dave are getting uptight about it yet again...
Let's put this in perspective. Jimmy Carr is, in my opinion, a seriously unfunny pissant of the first water. I remember his tasteless gag about Afghanistan being a good breeding ground for the 2012 paralympics. Not funny, Jimmy. Not funny at all!! However, having deliberately entered into an overseas tax haven agreement I am lost to understand why he found it necessary to apologise for it. After all, he did it deliberately and there's nothing illegal about it.
Now according to Dave, these sort of arrangements are morally indefensible. Well, maybe so, Dave but they are also totally legal. So the question really ought to be "When are you going to introduce legislation to make these arrangements illegal?" Don't blame Jimmy for doing nothing wrong when it's your fault.
And while we are on the subject, I note that you sidestepped questions about Philip Green's tax arrangements. You know, the one where his company redirects millions to his wife who lives in Monaco so that he pays no tax at all. Isn't that morally indefensible - or is it OK because he donates money to the Conservative Party?
According to Danny Alexander, if the rich paid their fair share, then he could knock 2p off the basic rate of income tax. Well, nice soundbite Danny, but more to the point if they paid their fair share we could use the money to reduce the crippling debt we inheritted from Gordon.
Nobody likes paying tax, but the fact is that all the stuff we take for granted like roads, street lights, rubbish collection, policing, schools, the health service and loads more has to be paid for somehow. And don't tell that you could pay for it as you use it, because it's completely impractical.
The tax system in the UK isn't perfect. Far from it. But it does at least try to collect it from people who can afford to pay it and the rates are a lot lower than in many, many other countries.
Successive governments have talked and talked about simplifying the system to make it simpler to administer and easier to police but talk is cheap.
So perhaps, Mr Cameron, you should stop banging on about legal avoidance being morally repugnant and get on with the job of closing the loopholes that allow it to happen in the first place...