Wednesday, 15 June 2016


The Panama papers that came out some time ago now revealed that all sorts of politicians and senior figures have money stashed in a Panama tax haven. Not that this is really a surprise to anyone, but it is interesting to have proof.

Of course, this was one legal firm in one tax haven, so it is fairly random who is caught in this particular revelation. And, I should point out, it is perfectly legal. Whether it is moral or not is a whole different question, and a far more difficult one to address.

There is another issue that has come out from this, which is, I think, a far more significant issue, which is that many of the worlds tax havens are British dependencies. Places like the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man are included, but the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are also dependencies. This means that we, the British, support and promote world Tax Havens - at a time when we are told that there is no money for the NHS, for Schools, for the disabled, we control places where trillions of pounds are stashed away to avoid paying tax.

Does that sound wrong to you? That one of the biggest industries that we as a country support across the world not only provides no money to the UK, but actively promotes a reduction in tax income to countries across the world (including the UK).

One day, we will look back at this and be shocked and ashamed. It is an international trade of shame that we will look on like slavery - that sounds rather dramatic, but the money invested in these places is deliberately being taken outside the laws of other countries, deliberately being put into places where it can be hidden.

This means that we, in the UK, support a business internationally that generates no income for us in the UK, and mainly serves to help people avoid supporting their own economies. We should stop it - the argument that if we didn't do it, others would is moot because we support the majority of the places that are doing it - we could challenge the entire international tax avoidance business. We could provide millions more into the treasuries across the world.

The problem, of course, is that most of those involved in legislative procedure have large amounts of money invested (hidden) in these places. And they have connection to others who have money invested there. So there is no real incentive to change things is there.

With the claims about how much we are spending on the EU (which are wrong), this money dwindles into insignificance compared to how much we, in the UK, are helping to hide from legitimate governments across the world. Our support for tax havens is a national disgrace.

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