TAX: TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS MEANS


I’ve recently been doing some research for an article on tax. Here’s a little set of statistics you will not have been anywhere near sad enough to work out….so just be thankful that I have.

Most of us (over 90%) are paying far too much tax for all the wrong reasons. It is the exceptions that are fascinating.

What Gordon and Alistair don’t want you to work out is that financial services represent 62% of our GDP….and all service industries, 85%. The thing they also don’t want you to work out is that the purveyors of all these services employ around 600,000 people – or just over 2% of the total workforce.

Among that 600,000 are non-doms estimated to avoid some 7% of all tax paid to the Exchequer.
So in return for lucrative access to the world’s biggest financial centre and a £900 billion bailout when they messed up through self-centred greed, the banks paid almost nothing in taxes.

The bailout we paid for came to just over two million pounds for each and every UK banking employee. And during that time, the banking system continued to pay out billions in bonuses…as it is still doing.

Now let’s move beyond banking.

Last year, out of the top 1000 companies, not one organisation paid over £10 million in tax. Thirty per cent use tax avoidance schemes to pay nothing at all. Of the FTSE 100 companies asked by the Guardian to give details of their tax returns, 97 declined. As large employers, they are exempt from that requirement.

Big Business generates 48.7% of Britain’s GDP, and foots just 10.3% of the tax bill. We the ordinary voters cough up 73% in income tax, NIC and VAT. The SME (small business sector) pitches in with 18%. And they are right now being starved of funds by…..Big Business withholding invoice payment.

As Lou Reed wrote, ‘Somewhere there’s a guy laughin’ ’til he wets his pants’.

Our tax system is grossly, obscenely unfair. It should be based on overall contribution to the culture – and penalise those who are a drain on it. Instead, it rewards the tax accountants and their fat, protectionist clients.