Welfare fraud is a drop in the ocean compared to tax avoidance

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Had Gibbons claimed the benefits to which she was entitled she could have collected double her ‘fraudulent’ claims. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Courtesy of James Ball @ The Guardian:

Joanne Gibbons was sentenced to community service for claiming income support while holding down two paid jobs. Through accumulated payments of £66-a-week, the court heard, she collected £3,140 to which she wasn’t entitled.

Predictably, the Daily Mail is outraged. But here’s the strange twist: had Gibbons claimed the benefits to which she was actually entitled, she could have collected £130 a week through family tax credits and child benefit. In total, Gibbons’ fraudulent claims cost the taxpayer around £3,100 less than claiming what she was actually entitled to.

It’s the reaction to Gibbons’ claims which are particularly noteworthy. Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance – an organisation rarely troubled by wealthy people’s tax avoidance – tells the Mail:

“It beggars belief that somebody going to the lengths of making fraudulent claims would have actually received more in benefits had they been honest.

“It just goes to show that the current system is broken and doesn’t provide the right incentives for claimants to go back to work.”

This quote suggests Sinclair is perhaps even less numerate than the “benefits cheat” he’s deriding. Gibbons was entitled to £130 a week in legitimate benefits, while working on two low-income jobs. This total was higher than the £66 a week out-of-work benefit she was improperly claiming (though some of the £130 a week could be claimed in or out of work).

In what sense is a system which tops up low wages a disincentive to work? Sinclair appears lost in lazy rhetoric – an all-too-common failing when it comes to chastising the millions of families, most of whom with at least one adult in work, who rely on the benefit system. Continue reading

I set up Parasite Street to balance the benefits debate

The UK is full of Orwellian double speak, austerity is my favourite because there is none. Debt up, tax evasion and avoidance up, MPs pay up, quantitative easing, privatisation of anything that is not nailed down while the poorest and most vulnerable in our society are persecuted for being who they are. It will get to the point when the only thing which will sort this whole debacle out is heads on spikes. I look forward to that day, it is long over due. Courtesy of Stephen Reid @ The Independent:

Thousands of people have now signed a petition demanding that Channel 4 take Benefits Street off air for ‘creating a skewed image of a section of society and stirring up hatred’.

Yes, the show focuses on relatively minor parts of the benefits system (benefit fraud) whilst ignoring other, more widespread phenomena (in-work poverty).

But the show has started a national conversation, and this is one conversation we needn’t shy away from. You want to talk about systems that allow people to cheat the taxpayer? I say ‘bring it on’.

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Tax avoidance: a capital idea!

Courtesy of Private Eye:

“OFFSHORE investors avoiding millions in tax spent £7 billion on London’s lavish properties in last year sending market prices soaring.” So screamed a Daily Mail headline a year ago. What the newspaper didn’t report was that a chunk of the “offshore” purchases of prime London property were accounted for by its very own proprietor, Lord Rothermere.

Home for Rothermere, his wife Claudia and their five children is Ferne House, a neo-Palladian mansion in 224 acres of grounds in Wiltshire. But the family also has a London house on Addison Road, Holland Park, a ten-minute walk up Kensington High Street from the Mail’s Derry Street headquarters. This is no pokey pied-a-terre either. Property website Zoopla, part of Rothermere’s Daily Mail and General Trust plc group, values it at £21.75m.

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UK’s tax gap rises by £1bn to £35bn

When I hear the term austerity in the UK, it colloquially ‘boils my piss’ because it is not austerity for all, or at all in fact. Just for the poor, the weak, the disabled, teachers, nurses, health service, fire and rescue et al. The UK governments debt is rising, MPs award themselves handsome inflation busting raises plus expenses, allow corporations to avoid paying taxes through legislation and cosy relationships with HMRC, sell off public assets which were paid for by the taxpayer over many years, the list goes on. This is a wealth transfer from public to private purses under the guise of faux austerity. The UK is being gutted for private gain, the media no longer hold account the powers that be, the UK is in decline.

Revolution is not really spoken about in the UK but it should be, the actions of our politicians are treasonous, our monetary, legal and political system are beyond repair. It’s time to revolt and claim back our inalienable rights to freedom, happiness and liberty and install a system that works. It all starts with a choice…accept debt servitude for your family, friends, children, grandchildren and future generations to come or say NO. Continue reading

Revealed: £4.7bn corporation tax lost through evasion and avoidance as Royal Mail is sold for £650m less than it is worth

The UK government has been seized through greed, malfeasance and in design by corporate powers. Installing a faux austerity regime, blaming the weakest in soceity for its problems while helping the corporates to take billions from the British public. There is a choice for the British public to make, do we accept this kleptocracy and a life of debt servitude for our friends, family, children, grandchildren and future generations or do we say there is a better, more equitable way to do things but that road is harder to travel.

I refuse to be a slave or a master, I refuse to allow a small group of controlling evil sociopaths to laud over me, I refuse to allow future generations to be sold into debt slavery. I have made the choice, what about you? Courtesy of the Independent:

The Government is losing more than £1 in every £10 it tries to collect from companies to tax evasion and avoidance, official figures have revealed. A report from HM Revenue and Customs shows that the “tax gap” for businesses operating in Britain is around 13 per cent of total liabilities and costs the public purse £4.7bn a year.

The real loss is likely to be significantly higher, as HMRC does not count controversial “profit shifting” schemes – run by companies such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks – as tax avoidance. One expert tonight estimated the true figure could be as much as £12bn a year. The figures were published as ministers were accused of handing private investors a £700m “taxpayer subsidy” in the form of Royal Mail. Shares in the newly privatised company, which started trading today, closed 38 per cent higher than the Government’s offer price of 330p, valuing the firm at £3.3bn. Continue reading

The Masters have Spoken

In this article in the Guardian entitled Multinational CEOs tell David Cameron to rein in tax avoidance rhetoric the corporate masters have spoken…

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The bosses of some of Britain’s largest multinational corporations have urged David Cameron to stop moralising and rein in his rhetoric on tax avoidance ahead of a G8 summit next month.

Chief executives of companies such as Burberry, Tesco, Vodafone, BAE Systems, Prudential and GSK were keen to take a final opportunity to lobby the prime minister in advance of the meeting of political leaders in Northern Ireland.

Cameron has pledged to use Britain’s G8 presidency to tackle aggressive tax avoidance by multinationals, but is also keen to heed the counsel of his business advisory group, which he met with on Monday.

Also present was Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, despite the internet search firm coming under fierce attack from MPs last week because of its tax arrangements. The president of the Confederation of British Industry, Sir Roger Carr, who was at the meeting, was among those who have taken issue with Cameron’s attacks on the ethics of big business tax engineering.

During a speech earlier in the day at a London event organised by Oxford University’s Said Business School, Carr said: “It is only in recent times that tax has become an issue on the public agenda – Starbucks, Google, Amazon – businesses that the general public know and believe they understand; businesses with a brand that become a perfect political football, the facts difficult to digest; public passions easy to inflame.

These parasitic vermin want to avoid the moral debate because it cannot be considered morally right that a minority of people within the world reap the majority of the profit and avoid paying any contribution to society. They do this by buying off the politicians or ‘lobbying’ and get the rules enforced that they want. Money regretfully motivates and they are parasites on society not bringers of wealth deserving our respect.

The debate that they want to have is on profits, not on morality, but talking about profit is just a way of muddying the waters and is a diversion from the point in hand. Removing all corporate tax, import and export taxes, all laws, removing governments and letting corporations own people would be good for profit and that is what they are aiming for! The question is this, is profit the ultimate measure of what is “good” and therefore right for all society? Now that is the moral question and a question they cannot answer without naming their agenda.

Where is the dividing line between profit which benefits society and profit which harms it? My opinion is hoarding profit in tax havens, destroying local and national businesses through artificially cheap prices and lying through their back teeth is already well over that line.