Wednesday, 9 February 2011

We're all in this together (part the 97th)

The Guardian has a very nice story today about how the Tory Party is funded. Essentially, they get their money from the City of London: 51% of their money to be precise.

A cynic might ask: how can they Tory Party be expected to be firm with the banks and hedge funds when the party gets most of its money from banks and hedge funds...?

A cynic would have a point, as the reaction to yesterday's piffling £0.8bn levy showed. "The banks are livid", reports the BBC. Aye, that'll be right. Lividly laughing up their sleeves, more like.

On a related issue: the relationship of the Tory Government with big business and how big business refuses to be taxed, there was an interesting exchanges at Treasury Questions yesterday. From Tory MP David Davis;
There is a lot of public disquiet about alleged enormous sweetheart deals done with major public companies-Vodafone and others-in the last five years. Three or four months ago, I tabled a question asking how many of these deals had been done, costing more than £100 million at a time. The answer I received was that the information requested was "not readily available" and could be provided "only at disproportionate cost". I received a similar blocking answer this morning. When is the Minister going to tell the House what HMRC has been up to? 
To which the Minister replied;
"The National Audit Office has investigated and examined that as a matter of course. There is no question of sweetheart deals. The reality is that HMRC is seeking to recover as much tax as is due. That is what it has done in a number of cases. I am not going to comment on individual cases. That is a matter of confidentiality; I do not get to see the details. None the less, I think wild allegations have been made against HMRC, for which there is little or no evidence."
So. There are no sweetheart deals and anyway it's all secret and confidential so even if there were, I wouldn't tell you. Very open government....

Let's paint the picture:

CompanyX tries to dodge £3bn of tax liabilities. The revenue calls them in....

"Ah", says CompanyX, "We're admitting nothing of course, but we've made it very difficult for you to find out how we did it. On the other hand, we don't want a prolonged investigation or bad publicity, so let's agree we'll pay £0.5bn?... No?... £0.8bn then. That ok? ... Good. Of course this all has to be secret, or next time we'll just hide the money completely and you'll be baffled. Nice doing business with you...".

Meanwhile, all over the country care centres, charitable institutions and libraries close.

And the Conservatives mantra in these impoverished times? "We're all in this together"...  It's enough to make you weep.

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