January 16, 2018


The real costs of NHS contracting out -

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Magic Money Tree -

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Housing Wonderland by Ian Lewis -

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Will STPs finally wreck the NHS? -

Sunday, June 18, 2017

STPs – A new way to wreck the NHS -

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Magic Money Tree

Once upon a time there was a magic money tree and it paid for the NHS, council housing, schools, unemployment and sickness benefits, pensions, public transport, care homes etc. Every year towards the end of March the tree blossomed; it was the end of the tax year and companies and the rich paid their taxes to nourish the tree and keep it blooming. The tree no longer blooms; it looks pathetic, devoid of leaves, its branches hanging low, thin and brittle and dying. Older people look at the tree with a mixture of reverence and sadness and realised how lucky…

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Collecting Tax is about Political Will!

Politicians of all parties, from all countries, will tell you that there needs to be international agreement to deal with tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax havens. Yet there are more tax havens under UK jurisdiction than any other national jurisdiction, and we could start by putting our own house in order! However, this doesn’t need to begin with tax havens, but could begin with tax relief on interest paid, a system currently being abused by British, multinational and trans-national companies. Interest paid by a company on loans is tax deductible – this is a hangover from the introduction of…

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Luxembourg – A Tax Haven!!!!

Letter published in the Guardian 10th November 2014 Millions of ordinary European citizens have known for years that Luxembourg, one of the six founding members of the Common Market, is a premier-league tax haven (Luxembourg and Juncker under pressure over tax deals, 7 November). The 80 journalists in 26 countries leaking 28,000 tax papers have confirmed the enormous size of the wholesale tax avoidance by national, multinational and transnational companies. Whether this will produce any more than a short-lived shock-horror from the politicians is doubtful, especially if the media does not keep up the pressure. Radical Soapbox has highlighted companies…

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Vodafone’s Tax Credit of £17.4 billion

Collecting tax is about political will. The current British Government underlined its distaste for collecting tax from big business in 2012 when it altered the way multinationals’ tax is calculated. This is what George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, called being more ‘competitive’ and was the catalyst for Pfizer’s recent attempt to take over AstraZeneca. Osborne’s changes to the tax laws lower companies’ potential tax liability in two ways: (1.) The UK corporation tax rate is now considerably lower than many countries, including the US. (Pfizer calculated that by taking over AstraZeneca and moving their head office to the UK,…

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Collecting Tax is about Political Will – Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 of this feature looked at the manipulation of company borrowing, and the rate of interest, to aggressively minimise corporation tax. Corporation tax is paid on profits, and another way to minimise corporation tax is to have no profits in the UK – because there are no sales in the UK!!  Amazon does this by selling from Luxembourg and claiming that their UK based offices, warehouses and staff are not involved in selling, and Google achieves the same by claiming everything is sold from Ireland!! Taxing on-line retailers is hardly rocket science, as the on-line retailers have…

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Collecting Tax is about Political Will – Part 2

In part 1 of this feature, Boots, Heathrow Airport and Manchester United were given as examples of tax avoidance. These companies were purchased with debt, and the debt was loaded onto the balance sheet of the company so that tax relief could be claimed on the interest paid. This tax avoidance is, in reality, the taxpayer paying part of the purchase price for buying the company, but getting none of the profits!! However, loading the company that has been bought with debt, and then offsetting the interest on the debt against tax, is quite benign compared with artificially creating debt…

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The contradiction of aggressive tax avoidance

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.” Barack Obama Whether the Internet was invented “so that all companies could make money from” it, is debateable, but there is no doubt that this is what has happened. The Internet is a resource paid for by taxpayers and used by countless companies without them having to make any payment back to the taxpayers who funded its development. How many private companies would be so generous? Yet these same companies think they have no moral responsibility to…

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How Much Tax Does Google Pay Anywhere?

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google says that tax is a complicated matter for multinational companies. However, it is only complicated if there is aggressive tax avoidance, which is how Google and numerous other multinational companies operate. At a hearing of the House of Commons public accounts committee last year, it was established that Google does not sell in the UK as all sales are booked from Ireland, where corporation tax is only 12.5% as against 23% in the UK. It is not only UK sales that go through Ireland but sales from other countries, both in and outside…

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Why We Should All Boycott Amazon & Google!!

Amazon and Google think that an effective tax rate of less than 0.1% in the UK is fine because they are complying with all the UK tax regulations. In fact, they are practising what is termed ‘aggressive tax planning’, which means that highly-paid accountants – the usual Big 4 suspects – create schemes that are within the tax laws. This may be legally acceptable, but it is morally wrong. Previously ( http://bit.ly/ZmAFOf ), I have questioned whether there is the political will to collect tax on loans deliberately taken out by companies to make the interest tax deductible. In the case of…

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