Kevin Meagher wonders what will happen the next time George Osborne meets the “morally repugnant” tax dodgers James Caan, Lord Ashcroft and Sir Philip Green.
Does George Osborne think James Caan, Lord Ashcroft and Sir Philip Green are “morally repugnant”?
In his budget speech yesterday, the chancellor was clear what he thought about rich people not paying their fair share of tax:
“I regard tax evasion and – indeed – aggressive tax avoidance – as morally repugnant.”
“James Caan,BBC: ‘Govt’s support for exporters ‘creates jobs’ and ‘gives businesses a chance to breathe again’ #Budget2012”
“James Caan on BBC: “I think it’s a good budget, I think it’s very encouraging.” #Budget2012”
Is this the same James Caan who benefits from having non-domicile tax status – precisely the same tax avoiding arrangement the chancellor thinks is “morally repugnant?”
The same Caan who fellow Dragon Duncan Bannatyne once decried for putting home grown entrepreneurs at an “unfair advantage” by moving his money offshore?
Is this the same Caan whose London-based private equity business Hamilton Bradshaw is owned by a Cayman Islands company?
The chancellor, it seems, has a selective memory.
Has he also forgotten his party has been bankrolled by nom-dom Lord Ashcroft for the past decade and a half?
Or that the government’s own ‘efficiency adviser’ – Top Shop boss Sir Philip Green – squirrelled his vast wealth offshore in 2005 by paying a £1.2 billion dividend to his wife, who lives in Monaco, thus saving an estimated £285million in taxes?
• Osborne, Mitchell and Hammond accused of tax avoidance 18 Oct 2010
The chancellor’s soaring rhetoric about tax avoidance is a worthy sentiment but as content-free as a non-dom’s tax return.