Budget 2012: Does Osborne think Caan, Ashcroft and Green are “morally repugnant”?

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.

Mr Osborne thinks these men are “morally repugnant” - the feeling’s mutual, we guess...

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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.”

Yet just hours after the budget the Conservative Party press office tweeted two comments from former Dragons’ Den star James Caan in support of the budget:

“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?


See also:

Osborne, Mitchell and Hammond accused of tax avoidance 18 Oct 2010

Another week, another Tory tax exile – only this time the Daily Mail sinks him 20 Aug 2010

More pressure on Clegg as we reveal real cost of Green’s £285m tax avoidance 19 Aug 2010

Sign the petition to demand Cameron’s pal Aschroft pays back the £127 million he avoided 2 Mar 2010

Questions mount for Tories over The Aschcroft Supremacy 2 Mar 2010

Facebook group on Lord Ashcroft’s tax status piles on the pressure 16 Feb 2010

Cameron’s MEPs vote against reforms to clamp down on tax dodgers 11 Feb 2010


The chancellor’s soaring rhetoric about tax avoidance is a worthy sentiment but as content-free as a non-dom’s tax return.


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  • Anonymous


    No mention of Labour’s Mayoral Candidate, Ken Livingstone and his tax arrangements, plus illegal funding of his campaign?

    Tut tut tut. …

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  • Blarg1987

    I agree it should be raised however from a manner of cost effectiveness is it better to target the peanuts in value or the cherries, most people would say the latter then we should target people further down the list.

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  • Anonymous

    No mention of your personally admitted tax evasion, or your Feral 1%? TUT TUT!

  • Lord Blagger

    So what the total of cuts, and tax raising that needs to be made?

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  • Selohesra

    Us feral 1% pay over a quarter of the income tax (it would be even more if Livinstone didnt go in for tax avoidance) -so best not to drive us overseas as if that happens who is going to susidise your medication?

  • Jeffman

    I’d be more than happy for any of you lot who didn’t want to pay the 50% (or 45%, as it is now) to fuck off overseas and not come back. Parasitic scum like you aren’t welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Lets see. To be a parasite you have to sponge of other people. Consume their goods.

    In the case of the rich, the government and the people dependent on the government for their cash are, by your definition the parasites.

    So what about Boots? They took your advice and fucked off to Switzerland, as did Google and lots of other companies. No doubt you will complain because they took your advice.

    Well, if you don’t like the route the UK is going why don’t you f-off to the socialist nirvana of North Korea. I’m sure you will be welcome.

    As for newsbot, if he is Mr Average, he’s on 100K according to his past posts, and he’s looking at buggering off overseas.

    Meanwhile not a peep about Ken’s tax avoidance/evasion and illegal payments to his staff

  • Anonymous

    And? You pay less tax than the middle class, as a percentage basis thanks to paying just 28% on most of your income. Your policies have caused this crisis, and are to blame for the ongoing disintegration of the economy.

    And thanks for admitting tax evasion. Only the guilty harp on about other’s sins. Feel free to “leave”…as in Sweden, where there really IS a 50% tax rate. Oh wait, people don’t.

    So, it’s an empty threat from an empty head.

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  • Anonymous

    No, not going anywhere atm.
    And 100K? I flipping wish! You’re making stuff up again.

    Keep pretending that companies are leaving because of anything but your economic death spiral you love so much.

    AND keep trying to deflect attention from your self-admitted tax evasion by bleating about others. Same Feral 1%. (What? NOT LABOUR)

  • Anonymous

    You’re the one who said people in your industry earn 100K.

    No wonder you wanted to go to Germany to avoid the taxes in the UK. :-)

  • Anonymous

    That death spiral. You’ve made a spelling mistake. It should read debt spiral.

    What you don’t realize is that I think its a disaster. The people you purport to want to help (hard when your a tax exile), are the ones that will be hurt the most.

    Which part of ‘the money is gone’ don’t you get?

  • Anonymous

    No, I didn’t. Stop trying to use me as political platform, it’s pathetic. German Taxes are considerably higher.

  • Anonymous

    What part of “stop lying” don’t you get? Lie, cheat, steal, it’s all you know how to do.

    The people you are trying to murder are Humans. H-U-M-A-N-S. The money’s there, you refuse to pay your share. Capital has increasing taken over from wages, but it’s taxed far less. Time to change that.

    There should be one tax rate for income, regardless if it’s from wages or capital gains.

    You’ll cry, moan, whinge and prefer to see millions starve and freeze first of course.

  • Anonymous

    I commit no tax evasion. I pay in full – unlike Ken Livingstone.

    A case of Ken telling others what to do, and not being prepared to do it himself.

  • Anonymous

    I pay in full. Unlike Ken Livingstone – tax evader.

  • Anonymous

    I chose to believe your earlier comment, as unguarded and honest.

  • Anonymous

    And which comment would that be? Try posting a link

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile what about Ken’s tax evasion. You don’t seem to want to talk about it.

    Perhaps its because you’re so busy trying to run away from paying your share of Labours (and others) debts.

  • Anonymous

    You expect me to help you? *checks* No, not April 1st.

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  • LOL

    I have personally worked with James Caan and can confirm the above is true.
    Severe tax avoidance, not to mention the tax evasion that has been going on for over a decade is ridiculous. Add up all these years and see how many millions you can guess. But then again they are all in it together, entrepreneurs, Chief executives, politicians, celebrities…you name it.

  • LB

    It’s going to be billions.

    The problem is that the state owes trillions for pensions.