Skip to main content

The rich are laughing all the way to the bank

UK Revenue and Customs loses billions in tax revenue each year due to tax avoidance and evasion. Meanwhile more than one in four of our children live in poverty,  that is  3.5 million children.  With an upward trend as a result of the coalition government's austerity policies this is expected to reach 4.7 million children by 2020. Millions of our children will go to sleep hungry whilst rich tax evaders feast themselves in some far away sun spot.

A lack of anti-avoidance tax law and cuts to public services are contributing to the UK's yawning tax gap.  The difference between the tax that should be paid in the UK if the tax system worked as parliament and HMRC intended, and the amount actually paid is a staggering  £119 bn.  I will repeat that:

£119 bn!

This is the figure produced by research commissioned by the Public and Commercial Services Union and published last year. Their research estimated  that in 2013 the UK lost £73.4bn to tax evasion. Evasion is when a person or company deliberately and unlawfully fails to declare income for tax purposes.  The official estimate is still a whacking £22.3 bn. 

£22.3 bn a year!

Whatever figure we chose to believe it is a shocking indictment.

During the last five years of austerity measures the government has pursued 'benefit cheats' with determination and in doing so it has cut benefits for the deserving working poorest in our community. The bedroom tax has been forcing families out of their homes.  The disabled have faced irresponsible assessments to determine their 'fitness to work'.  Meanwhile the rich have been laughing all the way to the bank - literally so as the HSBC scandal demonstrates.

It seems there is no moral compass. They show no distinction between what is 'lawful' and what is 'ethical'.

So what is the government doing to pursue the tax cheats?

Last year HMRC closed all of its 281 Face to Face Enquiry Centres, months after it had also announced the loss of 8,000 jobs this year.

There is a clear question to be put to the leaders of all main political parties in the coming general election: what are you going to do to ensure that the rich are paying the taxes that are due?


 

Read Ray'a Novel: It wasn't always late summer 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

Work Capability Assessments cause suffering for the mentally ill

People suffering from mental health problems are often the most vulnerable when seeking help. Mental health can have a major impact on work, housing, relationships and finances. The Work Capability Assessments (WCA) thus present a particular challenge to those suffering mental illness.  The mentally ill also are often the least able to present their case. Staff involved in assessments lack sufficient expertise or training to understand mental health issues and how they affect capability. Because of  concerns that Work Capability Assessments will have a particularly detrimental effect on the mentally ill,  an  e-petition  on the government web site calls on the Department of Work and Pensions to exclude people with complex mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorders. Problems with the WCA  have been highlighted in general by the fact that up to 78% of 'fit to work' decisions are  being overturned on appeal. It is all to the good that they