Tories reassure tax avoiders

    In what may not be the most shocking news, a frank admission has exposed the Con-Dem government’s reported ‘crackdown’ on tax avoidance as being nothing more than posturing.

    Last year David Maclean, a Tory peer – also known as Baron Blencathra – wrote to the government of the Cayman Islands (a Caribbean tax haven), to reassure it that the crackdown was a “purely political gesture” to ward off pressure from the G8 leading nations and European Union.

    The obscene amount of tax evaded and avoided by big business and the rich costs us billions of pounds each year. At the same time many millions in poverty are compelled to food banks, see their services and benefits slashed, and survive on low pay.

    But a government led by the Tory party – a party of and for the rich and big business – was never likely to be serious about cracking down on offshore tax havens, especially before an election when it requires millions in donations from donors, many of who are also tax avoiders.

    However, such a blunt and cynical admission from Maclean will infuriate people. The charity Oxfam estimates that a massive £12 trillion is being hidden in tax havens around the world and it believes that £4.7 trillion is hidden in UK tax havens.

    These huge sums dwarf the government’s current deficit and if collected and used, would not only condemn austerity to the past but could be invested to create what we need – for example a massive council house building programme, jobs, apprenticeships, a £10 per hour minimum wage and more besides.

    Cracking down on tax avoidance and clawing back the money owed but hidden abroad can only be done effectively by public ownership and democratic control of the banks, a demand only supported by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the May elections.

    Scott Jones