Socialist Worker

Troublemaker

Issue No. 2441

Dozen Tory donors investigated for tax scams

The Swiss arm of HSBC helped clients in more than 200 countries avoid taxes on accounts containing £78 billion.

Yet 1,100 wealthy tax cheats here were let off over the scandal. Only one person was prosecuted. In contrast people go to jail for not having a TV licence.

HM Revenue and Customs, which has had the information since 2010, said it looked at details on 6,000 individuals and firms. 

It challenged 1,000 and the cases were settled.

Cameron crony Lord Fink of Tax Avoidance in Switzerland proved how out of touch the elite are when he said everybody avoids tax.

The Tories have good reason to back tax avoidance.

For instance, more than 12 wealthy Tory donors have been caught up in alleged tax avoidance schemes being investigated by Revenue & Customs.

The multi-millionaires, who have donated nearly £10 million to the party, include two peers, one knight and some of the City’s wealthiest financiers.

High-profile Tory backers who have signed up to the schemes that have been probed include car dealer Lord Edmiston, worth £440 million.

He has donated more than £4 million either directly or via his IM Group. 

His register of interests at the House of Lords show he has invested more than £250,000 in a scheme that is accused of tax avoidance by HMRC.

Many of the donors involved have poured cash into the Ingenious group, which offers tax breaks in return for investing in film projects.

They include Tory peer Lord Sainsbury and hedge fund boss Neil Ostrer, who has donated £250,000 since 2010. 

Hedge fund boss Sir Paul Ruddock, who has gifted the party more than £800,000 has also ploughed money in. 

The Duchess of Bedford, who with her husband has donated £100,000 to the Tories, invested in two alleged tax avoidance schemes but is now “reviewing” her position.


Energy profits drop to just £60 a second

The owner of British Gas is expected to announce it raked in profits of £1.9 billion last year or £60 a second.

Energy fatcats have been waltzing off with huge profits while cutting customer bills by a measly 5 percent and delaying the change until the end of this month.

Centrica raked in an extra £50 million by putting off the reduction.

Centrica bosses will no doubt moan that profits are down from the £2.7 billion.

EDF Energy announced profits of £649 million last week.


Ukip - you either hate it, or you hate it

The most hated brand in Britain, according to an entirely reliable survey, is Ukip. The racists’ favourite holds number one position with almost one-third of the votes—30 percent in the survey of 1,500 people. 

Ukip came just ahead of the Conservatives, who are in second with 27 percent.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats took fifth and sixth with Marmite and Ryanair ahead of them and McDonald’s, Starbucks, Facebook and KFC completing the table. 

  • After only six weeks back, and on a three-day week, MPs went on another week’s holiday last week. There are only weeks to go to the election, so naturally MPs want to be in their constituencies.

Pay's up for the rich - but down for the rest

Britain's top bosses have enjoyed pay hikes of £700,000 each since the Tory-led coalition came to office.

But while the highest earners picked up a 26 percent rise, average earnings fell by 8.4 percent—leaving millions £2,500-a-year worse off.

Chiefs of the 100 biggest stock market-listed firms now average an income from pay and bonuses of £3.3 million a year. 

That is 123 times the average of £27,195.

While bosses have trousered an extra £696,236, the average pay of a supermarket checkout worker dropped by around £1,163—7.7 percent. And a lorry driver’s income slumped £2,300—8.1 percent.


More council cuts in poorer areas

England’s poorest areas have had their council budgets cut by far more than rich parts.

The ten most deprived areas, which include Liverpool, Mancheser and Hackney and Newham in east London, have an average spending reduction of 25.3 percent.

This compares with average cuts of 2.54 percent in the ten least deprived areas.

Spending in the poorest council areas has fallen an average of £337 per head since 2010 but by just £7.50 in the ten richest wards.


Learn to smile with the Lib Dems

Languishing in the polls, the Liberal Democrat spring conference next month was always going to have the atmosphere of a wake.

But worry not. The party that invented Cleggmania has 

organised a special “training session” for candidates and MPs on how to “keep smiling”.


Gove's Jag

Troublemaker does not begrudge Michael Gove his government £110,000 Jag.

Even though he uses it for trips of only 440 yards and even though he’s been demoted.

Though if he is going to say it is for official business he may want to remember to take the ministerial boxes of documents in the plush car.


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 17 Feb 2015, 15:56 GMT
Issue No. 2441
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