Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Jim Ratcliffe leaves a sinking ship to avoid paying more taxes

Issue No. 2617

Britains richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is off to Monaco

Britain's richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is off to Monaco (Pic: Foreign and Commonwealth Office )


Britain’s richest man and Troublemaker regular Sir Jim Ratcliffe is off to live in Monaco after spending two years here.

The tycoon with a fortune estimated at £21 billion, lived in Switzerland from 2010 to 2016. Now he is preparing to move to the Mediterranean principality in an attempt to lower his tax bill.

He moved his Ineos chemicals business to Switzerland in 2010 after falling out with the then Labour government.

He marked his return six years later by opening a new headquarters in Knightsbridge.

Invitations to a lavish opening party were emblazoned with the Union Jack.

He said at the time, “We are Brits, aren’t we? It’s where we started and it’s where our hearts lie” The tycoon has been assiduously courted by Tory ministers and was knighted in June.

According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Ineos made a profit last year of £5.15 billion.

Ineos is preparing to pay out a dividend to its shareholders. Ratcliffe owns 60 percent of the company and would receive the bulk of any payout.

The corporate structure of Ineos is opaque. Understanding where Ineos generates profits and pays taxes has always been difficult.

The petrochemical business publishes financial reports for Ineos Group Holdings SA, registered in Luxembourg, which declared a before-tax profit of around £2 billion last year, paying corporation tax of £269 million, 13 percent of reported earnings. The British rate is a rather low 19 percent.

The Luxembourg company is owned by Ineos Ltd, which is registered in the Isle of Man. However, not all assets are controlled by Ineos Group Holdings SA. There are several parts that report profits separately—27 organised in six groups. Even the smallest has a billion-euro turnover.

The amount of tax paid in Britain is unclear.


Homelessness will disappear, claim Tories

The Tories have promised to eradicate homelessness by 2027. They announced there’s £100 million available for the task.

If that were true, it would not be enough. As it is, it emerged there is actually no new money.

“Yes, some of this is reprioritised... reprioritised from within existing budgets,” said communities minister James Brokenshire on Monday.

Since the Tories came to office in 2010 homelessness has increased every year. Currently 4,500 people sleep rough every night.

And rough sleepers are only a fraction of the picture—Tory cuts have forced thousands into temporary accommodation.

Funding for women fleeing domestic violence will also come from the same pot.

This could mean women and children sharing accommodation with people with drug and alcohol problems.

“No one should ever have to sleep rough,” said Brokenshire, launching the plan. But his policies will ensure thousands do.


Revolving door to Amazon cloud job

Liam Maxwell was the first chief technology officer for Government Digital Services before starting as national technology adviser.

He is sadly leaving the civil service.

Happily he has got a senior job in public sector procurement at Amazon’s cloud computing arm. Maxwell helped to create the government’s “cloud-first” policy, which has benefited Amazon as a provider of public sector cloud contracts worth £50 million a year.

Latest accounts revealed that Amazon’s British warehousing subsidiary paid corporation tax of only £1.7 million last year, on revenues of nearly £2 billion.

A further £2.9 million of tax was deferred.

Amazon does not disclose the tax paid on three quarters of its total British revenues, which are channelled via Luxembourg.

Troublemaker wishes Maxwell well in his entirely appropriate new job.


Nurses lose their pay rises

Thousands of NHS workers have had their pay rise wiped out because they have had to pay more into their pension.

Pay rises took effect last month but some were paid less thanks to the way their pension contributions were set. A life insurance company, Royal London, said that nurses earning between £23,023 and £29,608 had been particularly affected.

It calculated that a nurse earning £26,500 could see their gross salary rise this year to £27,030, but their pension contribution would grow from 7.1 percent to 9.3 percent of their salary, from £1,881 to £2,514 a year.

As a result, after income tax and national insurance their net pay would fall from £19,895 to £19,754.


Cash to access government

The Tories are asking for cash for access at their party conference.

The advertisement for the event in Birmingham in September says, “Over 300 MPs, peers, MSPs and AMs wanting to learn more about your business.

“So why not tell them? You can put your business in front of the country’s politicians and media. And you can network with other businesses. Like Amazon and Google.”

A commercial pass costs £975. Businesses can sign up for a “Business Day” package for £2,750 and attend the business dinner for £400.


Cameron gets a second shed

When David Cameron paid £25,000 for a designer shed he faced ridicule. He has shrugged off the mockery, however, and bought a second shepherd’s hut.

The former prime minister purchased his first luxury outhouse, complete with sheep’s wool insulation, for his house in the Cotswolds last year.

A similar structure has emerged at his Cornwall holiday home.


Disgraced rail boss is still getting paid

The bungling boss of Network Rail will continue to be paid by the company despite stepping down.

Mark Carne presided over the introduction of new timetables in May which led to thousands of trains being cancelled or delayed.

He officially quits this week but remains on the payroll until next month.


Know your enemy

No. 443522

Councillor Mike Bird, Walsall Tory leader

  • Asked about Travellers he said, “They have no respect whatsoever for our community.”
  • He added, "It’s the rubbish they leave, the intimidation, the threats, the theft. They are parasites.”
  • He later apologised but denied saying “parasites”

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