Britain’s economic strategies have been dogged for many years by an elusive concept called “competitiveness”. Back in January Philip Hammond even tried to use it as threat in the Brexit negotiations. “If Britain were to leave the European Union without an agreement on market access,” he said, “we could be forced to change our economic model... to regain competitiveness.” Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn last week pledged to repudiate the model. Some European leaders know that, with its loose regulations, and its network of semi-British offshore jurisdictions such as the Caymans or Jersey, Britain already is a tax haven. But they also knew Hammond’s threat was hollow – because sending Britain further offshore would damage the UK most of all. The word “competitiveness” sounds moderate, but in reality it is a code word for corporate tax-cutting and financial deregulation, routinely used by every tax haven in the world to … [Read more...] about Britain can’t prosper as a tax haven. It has to stop these hollow threats
David Cameron thinks that Nigeria is "fantastically corrupt". Certainly it has a reputation. But the Panama Papers have shifted the focus of corruption far up the supply chain, to the people who make corruption possible – and those people are often rather closer to home. The UK, to its credit, has been at the forefront of the movement to make the world more financially transparent. The 2009 G20 Summit, hosted by Gordon Brown in London, created the first blacklist of tax havens that were holding out against sharing information on bank accounts with other countries’ tax authorities. Under David Cameron’s leadership, the UK also became the first country in the world to require companies to be fully transparent about the people who own and control them. This is the key step towards stopping people squirreling money away behind fake companies they secretly own, out of the reach of the taxman and other authorities. … [Read more...] about Forget Nigeria – David Cameron needs to tackle the tax havens in Britain’s own backyard
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence party, has admitted setting up a trust fund in an offshore tax haven which could have enabled him to cut his tax bill. Farage, who previously condemned tax avoiders in a speech to the European parliament, said that he paid a tax adviser to set up the Farage Family Educational Trust 1654 on the Isle of Man. The MEP, whose party has attracted growing support over the last year, said he had not personally benefited from the account, and added he had ended up making a loss from the venture. The disclosure came days after David Cameron backed a deal at the G8 summit to crack down on corporate tax evasion. Farage told the Daily Mirror: "My financial advisers recommended I did it, to have a trust really for inheritance purposes and I took the advice and I set it up. "It was a mistake. I was a completely unsuitable person for it. I am not blaming them, it was my fault. "It's a vehicle that you chuck things in through your life that you don't need … [Read more...] about Nigel Farage admits setting up tax haven trust fund was a mistake
Labour’s plan to tax incomes over £80,000 more heavily is a “massive tax hike for the middle classes” that will “take Britain back to the misery of the 1970s”, according to rightwing newspapers. But are British households that heavily taxed? A comparison of personal tax rates across Europe, Australia and the US by Guardian Money reveals how average earners in Britain on salaries of £25,000, or “middle-class” individuals on £40,000, enjoy among the lowest personal tax rates of the advanced countries, while high earners on £100,000 see less of their income taken in tax than almost anywhere else in Europe. Our survey found that someone earning £100,000 in the UK in effect loses about 34.3% of their pay to HM Revenue & Customs once personal allowances, income tax and national insurance are taken into account. The one-third reduction is roughly the same as the US, Australia and Spain, but a long way behind the 38% in … [Read more...] about Tax on test: do Britons pay more than most?
Foreigners suspected of using London's property market to launder ill-gotten gains will be forced to declare where they got their money from, under new government proposals to fight global corruption. In a bid to end Britain's reputation as a haven for dirty money, any overseas politician or public servant who makes notably lavish purchases in the UK could be forced by police to explain the source of their income. The measures, known as "unexplained wealth orders", will form part of the agenda on Thursday as David Cameron hosts an international anti-corruption summit in London. It comes in the wake of the publication of a second tranche of the so-called Panama Papers, which have highlighted concerns that offshore tax havens have been used to launder hundreds of millions of pounds through London's booming property market. According to the anti-corruption group Transparency International, some 36,000 homes in London 33 boroughs are currently registered as being owned by … [Read more...] about Corrupt foreigners who launder money through luxury London homes face crackdown