The Green Party are saying what is blindingly obvious to all of us. The UK is at the centre of the global network of tax havens that facilitate tax avoidance and crime, as revealed by the leak of The Panama Papers.
Although the media have so far tried to spin it as a problem for Russia, Putin, a few other dictators and criminals, it’s clear there is a massive problem in Western Democracies. And embarrassingly for us, the UK is leading the way. Don’t be fooled by the smokescreens, it’s the UK.
Molly Scott Cato MEP, and Green Party economics and finance speaker, said, “If we are to restore our national pride we must see steps taken immediately to deal with the nefarious relationships between apparently respectable companies based in The City and their dubious associates in the Crown dependencies and overseas territories.”
She said it was clear “that it is the UK that is at the centre of the global network of tax havens that facilitates tax avoidance and crime.”
She concluded that it shows how hollow “the Chancellor’s claim to be cracking down on tax avoidance” really is.
The Chancellor has allowed tax havens continue to operate on an industrial scale, and in complete secrecy, until these leaks have given us a glimpse of what is going on. The Chancellor cannot claim ignorance. Even the Prime Minister’s father is named in the press.
As long as the secrecy held, as long as the people didn’t really know what was going on, everything was fine. But now the cat is out of the bag.
With more than half of the companies in the papers registered in UK dependencies, or in the UK itself, we should not be fooled into thinking this is a problem of corrupt foreign regimes. It is a problem that goes to the heart of the UK.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett said, “This is a British problem, a British crisis. The theft of billions from their people by corrupt political leaders and officials is being facilitated, even promoted, by British institutions and professional companies, and that must stop”.
She went on, “At the heart of this web is the City of London, the last rotten borough in British democracy. The abolition of its Corporation, with all of the special privileges that give it power within our government, is an essential step in ending this rot that’s causing immense economic damage and human suffering around the world”.
We need decisive action from the Government to bring this sordid activity to an end. A 21st century democracy which gives its wealthy elite exclusive access to secret, unregulated means to avoid tax, must be challenged.
Whilst ordinary citizens have their tax taken at source (PAYE), the rich are free to decide how much tax they pay, when they pay it and who they pay it to.
What is happening in simple terms is this:
If Westminster fails on this, it is not fit to Govern. There are no excuses.
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