Osborne commits to ending tax avoidance, but I need convincing that he means it


Richard Murphy is a chartered accountant and economist.

George Osborne has written in the Guardian saying he is committed to ending tax abuse by multinational companies. I welcome that; I just wish I was convinced by it, but I am not, as yet.

george-osborneI’ll ignore the politics in the piece; they diminish it and that is unfortunate. Much of what he says implies that the problem in the UK has largely been solved, by the general anti-abuse rule for example.

I can assure him that as I am pretty intimately acquainted with that right now his confidence is wholly misplaced.

The result is that he focuses on developing countries. Now I have no problem with that; they have been the focus of much of what I have done for a decade.

The trouble is he appears to ignore the demands of most of us who have been doing so.

There is a modest commitment to country by country reporting in the extractive industries. But the EU is already delivering that right now so that’s not new.

And there is a commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, but that’s existed for a decade now.

And there is a commitment to technical assistance to developing countries – but that’s been happening for several years now.

In fact there is not a single new idea or proposal in this article. And that is worrying. How on earth can multinational company tax abuse anywhere be eliminated without serious change?

Where is the indication of how transfer pricing is to be transformed or replaced?

How will there be real transparency for Africa without full country by country reporting and not just for the extractive industries?

Why is there no commitment on tax havens and yet that is where developing country money flows?

And where is the demand for beneficial ownership and accounts for all companies and trusts to be put on public record worldwide so that we can truly know what is happening in these entities, tax it and make economic decisions using it?

George Osborne has made a welcome move. But it needs substance and as yet it has not got it.

So the question is will he now consult with those who know something about this issue? I hope so.

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  • LB

    It’s addressing the wrong problem.

    UK tax is too high, hence people and companies have moved else where.

    UK tax levels are too high because the state’s in so much debt and they are desperate to try and get any money in, no matter what the damage.

    The debts so high because they have fiddled the pensions off the books, contrary to GAAP and FRS17. It’s a simple fraud.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes yes, keep arguing for a tax cut for your 1%. Keep trying to make the debt worse and cause more damage. Keep arguing that you should be able to loot pensions, fraudster, rather than pay tax.

    Fraud, fraud, fraud, your mantra!

  • Newsbot9

    Try shutting down the laundry-list of UK-owned tax havens activities.

  • LB

    5,300 bn hidden off the books.

    Now the OBR says, its less than 50% chance of the state pensions being paid.

    The state pensions are a Ponzi, and ponzi’s are frauds.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes yes, you’re a major fraudster, you boast about it. And keep arguing that paying out of current revenue is a “Ponzi”.

    Keep on misinterpreting a response to justify your attempted theft. Thief, it’s all you are or ever can be.

  • LB

    Pensions should be paid out of current tax.

    However, there isn’t enough income in the UK to pay for the future pensions as they fall due. That’s why the OBR says there is less than a 50% chance they will be paid.

    Since a 26K a year worker has lost 430,000 pounds in the Ponzi, you need to look to the people running the Ponzi for the fraudsters, as well as those who were ‘winners’ and got their money out first.

  • Newsbot9

    Except, of course, there is – unless you crash the economy, your aim. And no, you’re deliberately using a response to lie, deliberately trying to have the poor pay your bills again, socialist.

    Keep using your fraudulent figures, which assume no fees, unrealistic returns, that JSA etc. is cancelled…you’re trying to claim everyone else is your type of fraudster, and to hammer the poor and their wages again. And yes, you need to go to jail for your fraud, and have you assets confiscated. Your 4.3 trillion fraud, which you boast about, will do nicely.

  • LB

    Again, you can’t tell the difference between a deliberate aim, such as running

    a Pension’s ponzi, and a statement about the inevitable result.

    The Ponzi will cause the crash, resulting in the poor and pensioners being destitute.

    So the level of fees charged by the state results in a loss of 430,000 pounds.

    JSA at 6 months a year, over 40 years, comes to 74,000, assuming 1 unemployed person per worker. So how many workers per JSA claimant?

    The fraud is the state. As I keep pointing out to you, its not me running the NI system, its Labour wonks like you, and Tory wonks, and Lib Dem idiots taking people’s money and giving it away, instead of investing it.

  • LB

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_292911.pdf

    JSA claimant count. 4.8% of the number of workers.

    So the 74K drops to 3,552 pounds out of the 430,000 loss.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes yes, keep using fake figures. I’m sure you think that you can have insurance for 3.5k for your entire working lifespan – or rather, you can’t, fraud.

  • Newsbot9

    I can tell that the “inevitable” result is your fraud, no more and no less. That you are a Ponzi scammer means you are a ponzi scammer, no more and no less. You are trying to turn the state pension into a ponzi, by not paying it.

    You keep using fraudulent figures, based on simple-minded assumptions. And you keep on claiming that you are the state and your fraud is the states. You can’t get your mind around the concept of there being people other than your 1% and Labourites either.

    Keep bemoaning not enough investment in your pockets, 1% scammer.

  • LB

    74K for a working life on JSA. 6 months off, 6 months on.

    However, since there are over 20 workers for each JSA claimant, that works out at the 3.5K per 26K worker, off their 430,000 loss.

    Or are you saying that the rules for JSA are different?

  • Newsbot9

    Keep on assigning zero-cost schemes, and basing them on a multiple which is both unrealistic and at a time when you’re engaging in a sustained campaign against jobs. And keep saying that there’s a “loss” based on services given, fraudster.