offshore tax havens
To avoid paying your tax is to shirk your responsibilities as a citizen and to deprive the country of vital assets that can help improve the life chances of those within it. Taxation helps to bind people through a shared sense of purpose and commonality.
The new UK Prime Minister Theresa May set out her stall early, promising on the steps of Downing Street that her tax policy would "prioritise not the wealthy, but you" and pledging that "we have decided to do more to stop aggressive tax avoidance and to fight corruption". It all sounds very promising, but success will depend on how she puts her words into action. Ahead of her speech to Conservative Party Conference we look at what she can do...
Isn't it time we accepted that not all high-net-worth individuals are crooks? That not all wealthy people bother about hiding their money? That actually, the vast majority of high-net-worth individuals are much more concerned about philanthropy than having a trust in Bermuda? Isn't it time that we accept that we, the envious, have created a witch hunt and wealth deserves some privacy too?
These tax havens are often used for money laundering the gains of other criminal activities. Tax evasion and wider criminal activity all too often go hand in hand. But whilst it may be getting harder to hide wealth, the jolting truth from the latest revelations is that it is evidently still not hard enough.
While the world tolerates tax havens, they are frequently the lowest cost way of conducting business and so they continue to grow. They have reached the point where any tax or fund adviser in London who did not recommend them to their wealthy clients would soon be out of business as the competition would have a better product.
What sort of system have we created that relentlessly siphons wealth from the poor to the richest 1%, and in the process deprives humanity of the resources that could bring happiness, contentment and joy to billions of people? When, oh when, will world leaders take concrete steps to remedy this injustice and unfairness?
A recently launched report, Moving Money: International Financial Flows, Taxes, and Money Laundering, has provided a powerful answer to the critics of offshore financial centres, and demonstrated the value of having an open global financial market in helping to boost global trade and economic growth.
When Antony Jenkins took the helm at Barclays he promised to clean up a bank that had been badly scarred by a seemingly relentless stream of scandals. To re-enforce the point he sent an email to his 140,000 staff saying that he wanted to bring new ethical standards to Barclays. Those who didn't want to sign up to them were told they should leave.
George Osborne unveiled a sinister new poster. With very creepy eyes. The Chancellor stood in front of the poster to give
Chris Coltrane, 31, a stand-up comedian and UK Uncut member, told me why he came to the protest. "The Daily Express is entitled to its own opinions but the Daily Express is not entitled to its own facts," he said.