Tax is back on the agenda after it was revealed that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, had benefitted from his father’s use of an offshore fund. That means that because the money was held overseas, they didn’t pay UK tax on the money or the interest they received.
Some small countries have very low corporate tax rates. They make their money from housing thousands of finance companies where the world’s super-rich hide away their cash, free from the eyes of the tax authorities. They have laws that guarantee confidentiality so we don’t know who is using their services, or how much money they have stashed away.
Places like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands or, closer to home, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man, offer such confidential and almost tax-free banking services.
But a leak of millions of documents from a law firm in Panama shows how the world’s super-rich get even super-richer, by using these tax havens. These include Russia’s Vladimir Putin – regular readers know how low is my opinion of him – China’s leadership, and the late father of our own Prime Minister.
Indeed, even David Cameron himself hid funds in an offshore account before cashing them in months before the 2010 General Election.
So why is this relevant to us in Chester?
Mainly because the government has slashed £57 million from our council’s budget, which means that CWaC have been forced to cut services and increase council tax. All because, we were told, there is not enough money.
And now we know why there is no money: because the super-rich are being allowed to get away without paying their fair share. Leaving the burden to the rest of us – ordinary folk in Chester who work hard, play by the rules, pay their taxes, and recognise that if we live in a modern society, there are costs.
Schools, hospitals, police, roads, our armed forces, support for new businesses, protection for the disabled and dignity for senior citizens in retirement. All worth paying for.
But it seems that these multi-millionaires think they are above paying tax. They think that tax is not for the likes of them. They are happy to take the benefits and security of a modern society, but somebody else can pay for it.
These are the real free loaders. The real scroungers. While the rest of us in Chester put up with government cuts to services, they salt their wealth away without any contribution to the country that helped them make it.
For these tax dodgers I have nothing but contempt.