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Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Lessons In Morality From Nu Labour
I see that Stephen Timms is making it very clear in all orifices of the media that in his, and the government's view, tax avoidance is immoral.
Using emotive words such as "rob" and "cheat" to describe tax avoiders, thus implying that tax avoidance is illegal, he signalled that Labour will now be going on the offensive over this issue.
Here are a few thoughts on the matter:
1 It is perfectly reasonable, sensible, moral and pragmatic to do your utmost to reduce your tax liability legally. Tax avoidance is a legal way to reduce tax liabilities (whether it be a complex scheme devised by lawyers/accountants, or simply using an ISA).
2 Tax avoidance is not an issue of morality.
3 During the years of plenty, Labour chose not to close the so called tax avoidance "loopholes" that they are now screaming about. Why did they sit on their hands then, if this is such an important issue?
3 This is merely a way for Labour to pass the blame, and take the heat off their own economic mismanagement, onto others for the fact that the country is now bankrupt.
During the years "of plenty" Brown had the chance to build up some reserves that could have eased the pain now. He chose instead to "spend, spend, spend", leaving nothing for the "rainy day". To try to blame tax avoiders for this failure in economic management is hypocritical.
4 MPs are not in a position to lecture the rest of the population on the subject of "morality", given their own "shortcomings" in this area (eg house flipping -Darling has flipped his four times in four years to make the most of his allowances, tax evasion, claiming the full cost of mortgage payments etc).
5 Labour is happy to consort and cavort with tax avoiders, eg it gave tax exile Philip Green a knighthood, surely he is an "immoral" person by their definition?
6 Many of the tax havens that Labour are so angst ridden over are actually still part of the rump of empire, as such we do have more than a little influence over them. Shouldn't they have tackled this issue many years ago, if it really is of such importance?
7 Tax avoiders have not bankrupted Britain. Brown's bankrupt Britain is entirely of his own making. No matter what extra tax Labour think they will be able to derive from their new found "moral crusade", it will be a drop in the ocean wrt balancing the books.
8 Lloyds the government funded bank offers tax avoidance advice to its clients.
Lessons in morality should not be delivered by hypocrites.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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