Clarke: Won’t defend bonuses but will do nothing to curtail them

Shadow Business Secretary unenthusiastic about 50 per cent tax on bankers’ bonuses, implying it would be unenforcable and therefore not worth doing.

Ken Clarke gave bankers the green light to avoid paying the super tax today, effectively throwing his hands up in the air and saying he’d do nothing to enforce it.

Speaking on 5ive Live Breakfast (2:08:35-2:17:13), he even went as far as to give advice to companies and individuals on how to evade the new 50 per cent tax on bonuses, broken by the BBC’s Business Editor Robert Peston this morning.

The Shadow Business Secretary said:

“You don’t have to be an accountant to work out the very many ways in which that tax can be avoided.

“I mean, the non doms won’t pay it ’cos you’ll pay them abroad, you start paying people in ways that are other than bonus by giving them a period of higher pay, I mean, the people in the revenue, when the Ministers came in and said that ‘we know people are very angry about big bonuses, can you tax the bonuses of particular people?’ would probably have begun by saying ‘this is ridiculous Minister, you can’t possibly target a tax like that, particularly on such sophisticated financial people.

“Well, no doubt they’ve had a go, if they’ve succeeded, good luck to them, I’m not gonna defend bankers’ bonuses, I think the way in which some of the banks that have been bailed out with public money are paying bonuses is quite ridiculous, they’re quite insensitive to public rage, but, I mean, if they’ve wasted hours of their lives in the Treasury trying to devise a tax to make a headline, I wish they’d devoted a few more hours to the dire state of the public finances.”

Several points leap out, among them the line that non doms won’t pay it, raising once again the spectre of Zac Goldsmith and the millions in tax he’s avoided paying over the years, the line about bankers being paid more to make up for the loss – which would be taxed at 50 per cent anyway – and his fawning attitude towards “such sophisticated financial people” as work in the City, that the State needn’t bother even trying to clamp down on their evasion.

Once again, as with their inheritance tax policies, it appears to be a case under the Tories of austerity for the many, largesse for the few.

Listen to the interview below and download it here:

UPDATE 1:05

The Chancellor has just told the House he will be introducing new anti-avoidance measures, and hopes to collect up to half-a-billion pounds from the 50 per cent tax on bonuses of more than £25,000 – to be paid directly by employers.

UPDATE 3:55

Vince Cable has just appeared on Sky News to parrot Ken Clarke’s regressive, do nothing attitude; it’s almost as if they’re reading from the same script.

11 Responses to “Clarke: Won’t defend bonuses but will do nothing to curtail them”

  1. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Ken Clarke: He won’t defend bonuses but will do nothing to curtail them: http://is.gd/5gMBj <— #PBR09

  2. Gaz

    “Zac Goldsmith and the millions in tax he’s avoided paying over the years”

    Not true – he saved almost nothing by being a non-dom. Did you know that, Shamik?

  3. Shamik Das

    So why’d he do it in the first place? And why won’t he pay back every single penny he avoided by being a non dom if it is “almost nothing” as you claim?

  4. Gaz

    Perhaps you could answer my original question before asking two of your own, Shamik. Did you know the facts when you claimed that Goldsmith had avoided millions in tax?

    For your information, this what Zac Goldsmith has said: “I had non-dom status because of my father, but being non-dom has made very little difference to how much tax I have paid. I have always been tax resident in the UK, and the vast majority of my income comes to the UK, where I pay the full rate of tax on it.”

  5. Shamik Das

    Let’s just take his word for it then…

  6. Gaz

    He has a letter from PriceWaterhouse affirming his statement.

    Perhaps you think a leading accountancy practice (and HMRC) would collude in a lie to serve Goldsmith’s PR needs.

    To be clear, are you calling him a liar? Or are you trying to back away from a lie of your own?

  7. Brucey Banner

    Gaz you got no chance of a strait answer from Shamik – the guy is a vain git who cant admit that dishohnest people like him not answering questions will cost Labour the election.He is an example of the problem Labour have – spends to long in front of a mirror instead of campagning for Labour. Forget the questions man, he wont answer them. email Will Straw instead. He seems to tell the truth on this blog. Just calling it the way it is Shamster.We both know it m8.

  8. Shamik Das

    Care to put your name, your real name to your insults and accusations Brucey Banner and/or Gaz?

  9. Brucey Banner

    Why don’t you answer the question about Goldsmith Shamik? You published this article.

  10. Paul Evans

    Have a look? Clarke: Won’t defend bonuses but will do nothing to curtail them http://url4.eu/u7Hv

  11. Shamik Das

    You want evidence? Here’s the evidence:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/13/zac-goldsmith-tax

    Whenever either of you anonymous tory mouthpieces are willing to apologise, you know where to find me…

Leave a Reply