Friday, 8 April 2016

Question Time - a lesson in why we don't need to worry about tax or inequality.

Well, I came off watching Question Time much relieved. The Tory explained that the tax take from the mega-rich is really huge (top 1% pay 28% of the tax-take) , the Tories are doing fantastically well at closing loop-holes in tax avoidance (£2 billion) and Cameron's Dad did nothing wrong (people used Blairmore as a go-to place to invest and what could be wrong with that?)

Sadly, the Labour geezer, Chris Bryant didn't really get to grips with this. The whole point is that we don't know how good or bad this government or any government is at getting taxes off the super-rich which are due. That's why they're secret. All we know is that it's what they do and do it in vast quantities. What the Tory did quite successfully for a popular audience is make it look as if taking taxes off them is going quite well -  but that's just a politicians' trick of giving you stats without the key things to compare them with. So, to be crude, the 28% tax haul could on the one hand be a remarkably successful take of what's due or it could be pretty bloody feeble. Meanwhile, the stat only referred to income tax take and not to corporation tax or any others e.g. inheritance tax. So, it could well be swings and roundabouts going on - reasonable take on declared income, absolute crap on corporation and inheritance???

The closing loop-holes thing, again, is only significant if we know the number and size of loop-holes. What percentage of the loop-holes are we talking about?
Blairmore is interesting in that it itself didn't pay tax - according to Michael Crick, the journalist, who has looked back at how they presented themselves. This is clearly true and carefully not mentioned in the programme. However, that still leaves the question as to why, if you had a few million to invest, you would go to a company which was based in a tax-avoiding place. Isn't there just the possibility that Blairmore might know how to handle your investment in 'tax-efficient' ways, just as it knows how to handle its own? Or is that conspiracy theory getting the better of me?

Anyway, according to the Tory, all's well on the good ship Megabucks, and we should all settle down.