Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/478/2158
The Socialist 15 March 2007 |
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£billions for rich... Pennies for us!
Tony Blair - Bosses' puppet
BRITAIN IS now more unequal than at any time in living memory. If you are a low-paid worker on the minimum wage you're offered a pay rise way below the real inflation rate. It's the same 'offer' for many public-sector workers. If you are an out-of-work single parent, you're harassed by the government to get any job, no matter how low-paid. If you are one of the super-rich, however, this government will fawn on you.
There are now 946 billionaires in the world according to Forbes magazine, and their total wealth went up by 35% last year to an incredible $3.5 trillion. Britain is home to 54 billionaires. Many of them became filthy rich through takeovers, mergers and equity deals by speculating with vast sums of credit and paper money. Their greed costs many workers their jobs.
Having made their billions, these people try to pay as little as possible in taxation. And this government helps them. Britain's 54 billionaires last year had an estimated income of £126 billion. If they paid full tax at 40%, £50 billion would find its way into the tax coffers. In fact, accountancy firm Grant Thornton calculates, these super-rich parasites paid just £14.7 million tax - just 0.12%!
A professor at Essex university, Prem Sikka, points out that the poorest fifth of the population pay nearly ten per cent of their income in direct taxes, and another 28% in indirect taxation. Yet billionaires pay only an eighth of one per cent!
This is a government for the rich. While they moan about how much lone parents and disabled people cost the public purse, they keep quiet about the loss of between £97 billion and £150 billion of tax revenues from Britain's wealthy.
Blair's government has introduced many new ways for rich business people to avoid taxation. Many very profitable firms pay no or very little corporation tax. Likewise, five of the ten largest private equity groups paid no corporation tax in 2005-6.
The trade unions should take action to stop New Labour attacking the poorer sections of society. They should put pressure on billionaire-lovers Blair and Brown to plug these ludicrous tax loopholes and make the rich pay. And if you seriously want to stop Britain's wealth gap becoming a chasm, join the Socialist Party's battle to build a democratic and more egalitarian socialist society.