Socialist Worker

Forget Jimmy Carr: the real tax dodgers are the Tories

Issue No. 2309

David Cameron called comedian Jimmy Carr “morally wrong” for using Jersey to pay just one percent tax on his £3.3 million income.

Yet he couldn’t bring himself to criticise Take That tax cheat and queen serenader Gary Barlow. He doesn’t seem to want to criticise top Tory donor Michael Hintze either.

Hintze’s firm pays just £77,000 in corporation tax on profits in Britain—despite raking in £125million every year. His hedge fund empire CQS handles £5.5 billion worth of investments.

Hintze’s high-earning traders, while licensed to operate in Britain, are officially registered to the company’s off-shore operation in Jersey. So his traders don’t have to pay income tax either.

Hintze’s operations are ultimately controlled through a company in the Cayman Islands.

He is estimated to be personally worth £700 million and has donated at least £1.2 million to the Tory party and given a further £2.5 million in loans since 2005.

Among the list of Tories benefiting from Hintze is the chancellor George Osborne. Osborne, like many politicians, has described tax avoidance as “morally repugnant”.

He received £37,500 in donations from Hintze and £1,254 in services provided by Hintze’s company CQS. Pure coincidence?

Bad news for Eclipse fat cats

A tax tribunal has ruled that Eclipse 35, a film partnership, is an “aggressive” tax avoidance scheme. That’s bad news for the 289 fat cats who put money into it.

Investors borrowed £790 million from Barclays Bank to buy the film distribution rights to two Disney films—and offset the interest charged against income tax. Disney agreed to lease the rights back in return for an annual payment spread over 20 years.

Baljinder Boparan is an investor in Eclipse 35 and wife of Ranjit Boparan, the owner of the 2 Sisters food group. Workers at RF Brookes, a pie company owned by the firm, are striking this week to get decent redundancy pay out of tax-avoiding bosses.

MPs think they don’t get enough time off

Feeling overworked? Spare a thought for Britain’s MPs. A few years ago their long summer break was rudely interrupted when they were recalled to parliament.

The House of Commons Procedure Committee has found that many MPs thought this a dreadful waste of time and money.

It’s recommending a Commons vote on whether MPs should return to the days when they had a full 12 weeks off over summer.

By the end of the year, according to the parliamentary calendar, MPs will have been away from Westminster for 215 days. That’s 59 percent of the year.

One welcomes one’s 20 percent pay rise

The queen is heading for a 20 percent pay rise that will take her income to £36 million a year. Her income is linked to the value of her property, the Crown Estate, which pays its profits to the government.

It posted a record profit of over £240 million in the year up to March. Under new laws that come into effect next year, the queen will get 15 percent of the estate’s profits from two years ago.

So as millions watch their incomes fall, hers will rise by £6 million. Crown Estate boss Alison Nimmo reacted to the news by saying, “I’m sure everyone’s going to be happy.” I’m sure everyone isn’t.

Liz isn’t the only royal raking it in. Prince William inherited around £10 million from his dead mother’s estate last week just for turning 30. He can also take control of half a trust fund worth over £20 million.

Beecroft: ‘Not entirely based on anecdote’

The venture capitalist who recommended that the government make it easier for bosses to sack workers based his report on “conversations”. Adrian Beecroft bizarrely claimed that making it easier to sack people would cut unemployment.

He has now admitted that his views were based on “conversations with not a statistically valid sample of people”. However, Beecroft protested that it was “not based entirely” on anecdotal evidence.

Dorries and daughter

Another week, another MP embroiled in scandal. This week it’s Tory bigot Nadine Dorries. Dorries has been paying her daughter Philippa at least £35,000 a year to work as her office manager.

The practice of MPs employing family members was supposed to have been banned after the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Flag frenzy

The government seems worried we’re not feeling “British” enough. Its solution is to emblazon driving licences with union jacks—and possibly a royal coat of arms.

Currently licences have the European flag on them. Transport minister Mike Penning said the change was the government’s way of “flying the flag for Britain”.

A modest million

Don’t envy millionaires—their lifestyle isn’t what it used to be. First Direct bank claims that inflation means that £1 million can only buy “modest” things today.

They include a fancy home, holiday home, a small sea cruiser, Aston Martin, a cruise, a luxury watch and a “small diamond pendant”. Not much then.

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The Troublemaker
Tue 26 Jun 2012, 17:32 BST
Issue No. 2309
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