Budget Day: “Global tax system an ATM for rich and powerful”

26th October 2021 / United Kingdom
Budget Day: "Global tax system an ATM for rich and powerful"

By TruePublica: On the day of the budget in the UK, we will all be told what the government is prepared to do with our taxes. They take our money and they spend it. We are told that we cannot afford so many things, like a world-class education system and that additional taxes are required for an ailing health system.

We shouldn’t forget that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published the biggest offshore leak of tax havens since the Panama Papers in 2016 this same month. The Pandora Papers document 14 offshore professional service providers, and the way in which a mass of politicians, public officials and celebrities have utilised the offshore system to hide the true value of their wealth, and in many cases pay less tax than they owe.

Reacting to the leaks, Alex Cobham, chief executive at the Tax Justice Network, said:

“The Pandora Papers confirms our global tax system has been turned into an ATM for the rich and powerful, be they drug traffickers, pop idols or the very politicians we trusted with our taxes. We commend the ICIJ for their brave and invaluable work.

“Every year, the world loses $427 billion in tax to tax havens. We know how much we’re losing because the Panama Papers forced governments to adopt tax transparency but we don’t know who’s doing the tax abusing because our governments stopped short of full transparency. The biggest blockers to transparency are the US, which the Pandora Papers confirms is the world’s biggest peddler of financial secrecy, and the UK, the leader of the world’s biggest tax haven network. We need full transparency so we can hold tax abusers accountable, especially when our politicians are among them.

“A global tax system reprogrammed to prioritise the needs and wellbeing of people over the desires of the wealthiest can be our most powerful tool for tackling inequality, guaranteeing people’s human rights and protecting our democracies from the unchecked influence of the superrich. The first move towards a fairer global tax system is to take rule-setting out of the hands of a small club of rich OECD countries, where it has sat for decades, and into the daylight of inclusive democracy at the UN.”

This statement says it all. Those that can afford to pay the facilitators, such as banks, of offshore operations to shield money from due taxes are causing needless health and welfare strain on the most vulnerable in society and a worse outcome for us all.

And the man telling us on budget day about how much he will tax and spend on our behalf was an employee of a company prosecuted for serious conflict of interest crimes, stock and price manipulation, insider trading, fraud, money laundering and use of erm … tax-havens.

For years, this government has been telling us that they will tackle this problem and refuse to do so. This year the budget is estimated to add around £36billion to initial forecasts – equal to around a third of the sum of unpaid taxes in the UK each year.


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