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Panama Papers: Tory Fat Cat Dominic Grieve: "save the banksters in offshore tax havens"

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 6 April 2016

I am not sure that this shows how "in touch" Mr David Cameron's Tories are with the zeitgeist but his former Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP does not want a hasty reaction to the Panama Papers because he thinks we must protect the, now threatened, species that is the offshore bankster.

Like many on the right, I find the idea that multi millionaires, like David Cameron's late father can pay sod all tax becuase they use offshore shell companies while folks like you and I pay the full whack a bit distasteful. It is sordid and patently unfair that "taxes are for little people". Conservatism should be about meritocracy and opportunity for all not just helping a small financial elite get even richer.

Of course one way to get the small super rich spivs back onshore is to lower UK tax rates and I am a big supporter of that.

But equally it does seem just wrong that crown colonies are allowing the uber rich to pay sweet FA and -as the Panama Papers make clear - to allow other rich folk to engage in money laundering. The former is distatsteful, the latter illegal.

Could we clamp down on what goes on in crown colonies like the BVI, Jersey and the Isle of Man? Yes we could. We could, for instance say to the Isle of Man "do exactly what we want or we will levy a £2000 surcharge on every passenger leaving the UK by ferry or plane to your little rock and by the way our friends in Eire will do the same" I am pretty sure the Manxies would cave at once.

Vast amounts of UK assets are owned by BVI & isle of Man companies. In theory if profits are made in the UK they should be taxed in the UK but in practice the offshore owner will stiff the UK company with "management" fees so that UK taxable profits are bugger all and tax free tax haven profits are everything. The way around this? A supertax of 100% of revenue per annum on any entity operating in the UK based in a tax haven might encourage some rapid redomiciling back onshore.

But Mr Grieve urges us not to be hasty in a radio 4 interview today arguing that if we take actions such as this the financial services industry in places like the BVI, Bermuda and the Isle of Man would be crushed. The poor little bankssters and accountants earning six figure tax free salaries in the sun would have to get new jobs. Poor little things. Perhaps they might have to become banksters on six figure salaries in places where folks pay tax? Such hardship for the poor little things.

The reality is that most of the banksters in the tax havens are what are termed in the Isle of Man "stop-overs". They stop-over for a while. The inbred natives of places like the Isle of Man or the BVI might just be able to count up to 11 by using all the toes on their hairy feet but they are not smart enough to work in the tax fiddling game. If the offshore industries are wiped out, the natives in these far flung little islands will just go back to what they did perfectly well before, things like farming, fishing, incest and sexually molesting domestic animals.

Would I rather the UK Government had a little bit more money to piss away, oops I meant reduce the deficit, while forcing a few banktsers to move to places where they had to pay tax or do I wish to join Dominic Grieve MP's campaign to save the offshore financier?

Hmmmm. Sorry Mr Grieve and Call Me Dave but I'm just not buying into your latest strand of one nation conservatism.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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