Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Paradise Papers reveal that the have-yachts still avoid tax

Issue No. 2579

Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is under fire over his taxes

Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is under fire over his taxes (Pic: Policy Exchange/Flickr)


Another glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous has come to light.

The Paradise Papers again expose the secret tax scams of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Apple and Nike.

Some 13.4 million files reveal the ways that the rich and powerful are protecting their wealth using a web of offshore accounts.

The documents show multinational companies going on tax haven shopping sprees in Africa and Asia using shell companies in Mauritius and Singapore to reduce taxes.

They shine a dim light on secretive deals and hidden companies connected to Glencore, the world’s largest commodity trader.

There are detailed accounts of the company’s plunder of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for mineral resources.

Most of the documents come from a company called Appleby. Its pitch is as a law firm for the rich and respectable.

The firm was founded in the 1890s by Major Reginald Appleby, a lawyer who detested paying tax.

It is no surprise the files come from British-controlled tax havens.

Laundering

In truth London is the money laundering capital of the world.

Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is accused of remaining a non-dom and channelling some £450 million through a tax haven in a bid to pay as little tax as possible.

One of the parasites named in the Paradise Papers is the queen, who has around £10 million of her private cash stashed in overseas accounts.

Those named in the documents haven’t done anything illegal. That is the problem.

This month will see a Tory budget. And while the government is in a mess one thing is certain—taxes on profits won’t go up.

Depending on how you do the sums, up to 15 percent of total global wealth is stored in tax havens—that’s £23 trillion, and a lot of yachts tax free.

The ultra-wealthy, banks and corporations’ hidden wealth amounts to 44 percent of world economic output.

That is £3,300 for every person on earth.


The lobbyists who are hospitable to the Tories

Every quarter the government publishes a list of who takes Theresa May’s special advisers (Spads) out for hospitality.

The latest list covers the election period.

Of 27 events the Spads were entertained by banks and ?nancial ?rms seven times. They included JP Morgan twice, plus the British Bankers Association, Schroder, Investec, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.

Then there were nine meals with big businesses and their lobby groups. These include lobbyists Tulchan Communications twice, the Engineering Employers Federation, EasyJet, Amazon and Facebook.

There were six hospitality events with the media including a “Bruno Marrs” (sic) ticket from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, and two lunches with right wing think tank Policy Exchange.


Universal credit creates a winter foodbank crisis

Food banks could struggle to meet demand this winter unless because of the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).

The Trussell Trust said it was on course to deliver a record number of food parcels from its 428 food banks during the current financial year.

The charity revealed it has distributed 586,907 emergency supplies in the six months to September.

That’s over 67,000 more than during the same period last year.

More than 200,000 supplies went to children.

On average during the past year, people needed around two food parcels each.

Food banks in areas where UC has been rolled out for at least six months have seen a 30 percent increase in demand compared to the year before.


More hot air on climate change

Some 25,000 politicians, lobbyists and hangers-on went to Germany this week for the latest United Nations talks failing to address climate change.

Thousands of people protested against the host nation’s increasing use of coal.

The conference was held 30 miles from open-cast mines that are Europe’s biggest source of carbon emissions.

The conference’s focus is on how governments are implementing the 2015 Paris agreement.

Paris didn’t commit them to making any substantial changes—yet they’re failing to live up even to that.

But at least most are doing better than US president Donald Trump, who has so far failed to pull out of the agreement.


Small win over tainted blood inquiry

The government announced plans last Friday for a full statutory inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal. But it failed to announce a chair.

Thousands of haemophiliacs and others were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C in the late 1970s and 1980s.

They had been given contaminated blood and blood products including Factor 8. Around 2,400 are thought to have died as a result. In a victory for campaigners, the Cabinet Office will oversee the investigation. Survivors had fought against any involvement by the Department of Health.

The Factor 8 Campaign group welcomed this. It added, “We find ourselves in despair that a chair has still not been appointed and that the inquiry is still not established.”


Priti Patel and her unusual holidays

Priti Patel may have done nothing wrong. It may have been coincidence that she bumped into an Israeli politician while on holiday. And it may have been good fortune that a prominent pro-Israeli lobbyist could join the meeting. This was “a private holiday which she paid for herself”. It is of course acceptable for the minister responsible for giving aid to Palestine to have secret unofficial meetings with senior Israeli politicians.


Safe cladding?

A fire broke out in the early hours of Saturday of last week at the US firm Arconic’s Exeter production plant.

Arconic produces the Reynobond PE panel which made up part of the cladding system used on Grenfell Tower. Reynobond panels are reportedly not at the affected branch.


Figure it out


The cops recorded some 80,393 hate crimes in 2016/17:

  • 62,685 or 78 percent were race hate crimes
  • 9,157 or 11 percent were sexual orientation hate crimes
  • 5,949 or 7 percent were religious hate crimes
  • 5,558 or 7 percent were disability hate crimes
  • 1,248 or 2 percent were transgender hate crimes

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