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Monday, 19 May 2014

'Immoral’ tax avoiders are only obeying EU law

Margaret Hodge MP

'Immoral’ tax avoiders are only obeying EU law

As Christopher Brooker wrote: 'It’s not on,” said Mrs Margaret Hodge, stamping her little foot. 

What aroused her ire as chairman of the public accounts committee was the news that Amazon last year paid the Treasury a pitiful £9.7 million in corporation tax on its UK earnings of £4.7billion. But last November she was branding such tax avoidance as “immoral”, referring not just to Amazon but also to Starbucks, Google, Apple, Next, Vodafone, Pizza Express, the foreign-owned companies that sell us water and electricity, and all the countless other firms that manage to pay only minimal amounts of tax on the hundreds of billions of pounds they make from their UK customers.

What Mrs Hodge and all the other politicians and commentators who ritually wax righteous about this wholesale tax avoidance never seem to mention is Chapter 4 of the Treaty on European Union. Articles 63 to 66 of this treaty spell out very clearly that “all restrictions on the movement of capital between Member States and between Member States and third countries shall be prohibited”; and it is this that makes it perfectly legal for companies to move their earnings to whichever country their tax liability will be lowest, whether elsewhere in the EU, Jersey, the Cayman Islands or wherever.

No one knows this better than Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, which, in 2007, lost a historic test case on the matter in the European Court of Justice.

So why are Mrs Hodge and co so unwilling ever to admit that, under EU law, there is nothing we can do about a racket which, according to one estimate, could be costing Britain as much as £120billion a year in lost tax revenue? 

I think we all know the answer to that, don't we?

But please note that the sums involved are more than the deficit and therefore alone would end the need for this government's Austerity programme of Cuts - which are mostly falling in England.


  1. The Austerity programme of Cuts is aimed at dismantling all defences against predatory global capitalism. The deficit is a useful excuse. Beware the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) between the EU and the USA.

    1. I think they are doing similar around the Pacific which will mean that big American corporations can act independently of national governments.

  2. In UKIP's most recent newsletter they pointed the finger at the Labour millionaires. I am wondering if your question in your penultimate paragraph refers to the fact the Margaret Oppenheimer, as she was born in Egypt, is in possession of part of the massive Oppenheimer fortune and we wonder if she is taking advantage of the above-mentioned EU ruling. This is the same lady who triumphed in the Battle of Barking and ethnically cleared the Cockneys. By the way, I think that UKIP mentioned that Tony Blair earned £1m in 20 minutes. This would not surprise me. As for Tony, has the report on the Chilcot Enquiry into the Iraq War been quietly shelved for four years to protect him. I suspect so, although I doubt if he would be found guilty of anything anyhow. They all close ranks to protect one another and the truth never sees the light of day.

    So the 100 richest people in Britain, amongst whom only the Duke of Westminster is probably the only indigene, have doubled their fortunes in five years to a total of £519b. The Queen probably no longer features. The richest are the Hinduja Brothers, helped by Peter Mandleson to get passports. You will probably find that the Hindujas have been rewarding him handsomely ever since.

    And now ex-Goldmann Sachs employee, Mark Carney, tells us that the current housing bubble that the bankers, including him, have engineered, will harm the econmy, so we need to build more houses - to provide more developers' money for Dave Cameron's party. There will be nothing left of our beautiful country, nothing at all. But then it won't be ours anyhow, it will have been handed over to anybody who chooses to flood in here for more money, either in terms of wages, or to launder their corrupt fortunes in the London property market. Did you know there is now talk of negative interest rates so that we have to pay the banks to use our money to make more?

    Still, if you thought that political corruption - in which England is now mired - is unique to this country; then bear in mind that those Arch-democrats and backers of the Kiev putsch, Joe Biden and John Kerry have both got plumb jobs for family members in the leading Ukrainian oil company. Funny that?! The Kennedys did not need more money so they tried to help their country. Remember John Kennedy saying, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
    It seems that the Kerrys and the Bidens are just after what their country can do for them. The same is true here, of course. Still, at least the Germans are waking up and seem to still have a democracy that we have lost as they boo Merkel for entertaining the new Putsch leader from Kiev. Ex-chancellor Schmidt at the age of 95 is saying things about relations with Russia that you never hear from our bought politicos who all toe the Washington kleptocratic line and are without doubt handsomely rewarded for it. Either that or like most of the political decision makers here over the last 60 years they have something that they want to keep hidden from the public and so can be leant on.

  3. My sentiments exactly. I wish that I could match your eloquence.