Britain is Fast Becoming a Tax Haven For the Rich

British chancellor George Osborne is shocked that some of the richest people in the UK are not paying enough income tax. Apparently some are paying as little as 10% on their earned income. Even though the last budget slashed the 50p tax rate and introduced a mansion tax, many people are openly boasting as to how they can get around the new regulations.

The Occupy movement has moved on, UK Uncut has had their sit-ins, and most of the general public are feeling the pain of the cuts. The government used to say that we were all in this together but the reality is, we are clearly not. If you know how to make money then you are able to buy the best quality financial services, including tax planning, to ensure that you keep most of your money. Now that seems to be totally fair and it is hard to argue against it.

The case becomes clearer when you consider the society which allows people to become obscenely rich without any regard for people who do not know how to make money. After the World War II, most countries in Europe had a post-war settlement which built national services including the NHS, education, welfare, utilities and the like. Since the booming years of the 80’s things have been turned on its head and we are now living under a system that disregards that social contract for a situation that the Wu-Tang Clan called "CREAM" – "cash rules everything around me."

So today if you know how to make money, you are viewed as a god with mythical powers. If you don’t know how to make money then you are viewed as a parasite, living off of the state and should jump on your bike to find some work. Most working people realize that actually there are few jobs available so we are encouraged to work as freelancers, become sole traders, or set up limited companies. Most of the old jobs are now contracted out to small companies as it is cheaper for everyone all around. No income tax, less corporation tax, national insurance contributions.

Britain used to offshore their tax havens in over 31 secret jurisdictions including the Caymens, British Virgin Islands, or Jersey but now the aim is to extend the City of London’s reach from the square mile. Frances Maude was reported to have said it would be a compliment to have Britain as a tax haven. The same MP caused the panic petrol buying last week in the country. The secretary of state for international development has invested his own money in companies registered offshore. Even the chancellor sets to benefit from arrangements of his father company being held in a trust to reduce the inheritance tax burden.

So can we really believe that the chancellor is shocked that people are not paying enough tax? He recently signed a deal with the Swiss authorities to access certain bank accounts held in their country from British citizen. The chancellor should be asking the Tory donors how much tax they are paying. Maybe the chancellor is only really shocked that there is so much public indignation towards rich people not paying their fair share. It is the people who should be really shocked and there is a perfect opportunity to lodge a protest vote in the upcoming mayoral elections on the 3rd of May.

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Jason Grant

Freelance journalist and media trainer who is interested in explaining the world of politics to people who have no interest.

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