Some of you will be aware that part of the thesis of my book The Prostitute State is that there are four pillars supporting the corruption of British democracy.
One of those pillars is the thieving tax havens, almost 50% of which are under some form of British jurisdiction e.g. Bermuda, Cayman and Channel islands.
There is an article in yesterday’s Guardian that states Tory MEPs were instructed by David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, to vote against a whole range of EU measures to crack down on endemic corporate tax theft.
But what the article fails to convey is that Gauke worked in corporate financial services as a solicitor in the financial services group Macfarlanes, a corporate law firm, prior to being an MP and more importantly his wife Rachel Gauke is a professional support lawyer specialising in corporate tax at legal research provider LexisNexis.
Where ‘mainstream’ political party funding comes from
Do not forget also that over 50% of Tory funding comes from financial services almost all of whom are linked to global tax havens.
New Labour and Lib Dem party major funding donors likewise nearly all came from tax haven sources during their years in power. It is a key element of another pillar of The Prostitute State i.e. the corruption of our political system.
This is how the rich 0.1% protect their tax haven status, by which they cream off the UK’s wealth offshore and leave us with massive Treasury deficits which have then to be paid for with massive austerity cuts to the poor.
Last July Google owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin were each worth about $32 billion dollars – a sum that has since risen to $37-38 billion. It is truly disgusting that our own UK government has been so corrupted by tax haven lobbyists that it seeks to stop the European Union from cracking down on British Bermuda where Google has stashed its ill-gotten tax-thieving pile of $30 billion in cash.
In 2014 the Sunday Mirror reported on the scale of tax dodging by the six of the world’s biggest companies:
“Six of the world’s biggest companies paid just 0.3 per cent of their UK earnings in corporation tax last year, a Sunday Mirror probe has found. We have examined the UK accounts of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Ebay and Starbucks and found the six firms have reported a total of £2.6billion of revenue in the last year.
“But many more billions of pounds of sales from the UK are recorded every year by sister companies – often located in tax havens like Luxembourg and Switzerland. Industry analysts estimate true UK sales of the six at £14.2 billion. Yet they paid £41.3 million in UK corporation tax – just 0.3 per cent.”
And instead of trying to clamp down, reported the UK’s only left wing mainstream tabloid, Osborne introduced new corporate tax reliefs that created a £9 billion Corporation tax “black hole”.
Osborne’s own tax-dodging cash cow
But we should hardly be surprised, since Osborne’s own ‘family firm’ Osborne & Little, in which he holds a 15% stake, is itself a remarkably effective tax-dodger. As reported by Private Eye, commenting on the latest accounts for the company:
“Osborne & Little reported a pre-tax profit of £722,000 on turnover of £34m and incurred a corporation tax charge of £179,000. But the accounts for the year to March 2015 show it ended up paying precisely zero ‘United Kingdom corporation tax’ as the company was able to claim for ‘timing differences’ from previous years that offset the £179,000 …
“In fact, Osborne & Little has not had to pay any UK corporation tax for the last SEVEN years as it has claimed variously for ‘capital allowances’, ‘adjustments in respect of prior years’ and historic losses – even as the company generated a total of over £200m in sales between April 2008 and March 2015.”
Don’t forget Britain’s own tax-dodging media-owning billionaires
And of course the fact that all of the five extremist media billionaires who own nearly all of the UK’s media are also off-shore tax haven thieves, means that the government can do the tax haven dodgers lobbying for them, without being properly exposed.
The Prostitute State is alive and well and protecting its tax havens … and the UK’s NHS, education, social services and local government pay the price.
It really is time for this corruption to be halted. It is these thieves that our legal system should be cracking down on – not the police beating up and arresting deceitfully the heroes in UK Uncut!!
Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA is the author of “The Prostitute State: How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought”.