What more to add to Johann Hari’s piece on the Tory donor, billionaire “Lord” Michael Ashcroft and his refusal to pay British taxes?
David Cameron and William Hague have covered up for him despite his “clear and unequivocal assurance” he would become a “permanent” resident in Britain ten years ago. Because of their obfuscation he has succeeded in avoiding paying £127 million in taxes. How many patients would that care for under the ailing NHS? How many children would that educate? How many immigrants — actually a net gain for the country — would that look after?
Of Cameron, Hari writes:
Made to pick between the national interests of the British people and the sectional interests of the super-rich, he choose the over-class – and we should assume he would do the same in Downing Street.
But of the bigger underlying tax scandal, he points out:
… under both Labour and Conservative governments, this revolting behaviour is perfectly legal. The bottom 99 per cent of us pay our taxes on time and in full – while the richest have been allowed to get away with this insult. Ashcroft is not alone. The invaluable Tax Justice Network has calculated that rich individuals “avoid” £13bn a year and rich corporations £12bn. (Indeed, a third of Britain’s top 700 companies haven’t paid any tax at all.) That’s enough to double the education budget – or to pay off Britain’s entire deficit in seven years without a single dent in public spending. … Tax exiles want all the benefits of an advanced society, without paying for it to keep going. There’s a technical definition for this in the natural sciences: a parasite. … We are constantly being told by a chorus of conservatives that the financial crisis caused by their market fundamentalism can only be solved by slashing back spending. But this is unnecessary if only the overclass start to pay their taxes.
A hung Parliament in 2010? Yes, they should be.
Anna’s food blog here: