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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 November 2006

Bosses' tax moans threaten cuts

THE CONFEDERATION of British Industry (CBI) represents big business interests. It claims that big business is paying too much tax! That will be news to many of their members who employ top accountancy firms to get around the tax laws so efficiently that the Treasury loses, at a conservative estimate, at least 10 billion a year to corporate tax avoidance.

A CBI survey, brought out just before their 'conference', said that an "expensive and complex" corporate tax regime was making firms consider moving operations abroad.

Corporation tax replaced income tax on companies' profits in the 1960s. Successive pro-market governments have reduced the headline tax rate from around 50% in 1979 through 35% in 1988 to 33% in the 1990s and now to its lowest-ever level - 30% under Blair and Brown.

But the CBI say that the UK rate has slipped from tenth lowest in the OECD 'leading developed nations' in 2000 to 18th in 2005. The CBI, like most capitalists, would like to see a smaller public sector, more privatisation and more services run on business lines and to a growing extent, they've got it.

The percentage of gross domestic product taken by the public sector has gone down from 48% under Thatcher in the 1980s to around 41% now. The CBI wants to encourage and accelerate this race to the bottom for workers' jobs and wages (and keep a few more millions for their wealthy members).

These fat-cat bosses want less public expenditure and for us to pay for a higher percentage of it. The CBI is threatening to call off its love affair with Blair if he doesn't give it what it wants. This is preparing the ground for more attacks on workers - we need to be prepared to resist them.

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