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.

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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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