The super rich avoid taxing time

PUBLISHED: 09:36 16 February 2007 | UPDATED: 19:56 01 June 2010

ACCOUNTANCY firm Grant Thornton has calculated the scale of tax avoidance by the super-rich and concluded that Britain s 54 billionaires pay tax on a tiny fraction of their wealth. In 2005/2006 the UK s billionaires paid income tax totalling just under £1

ACCOUNTANCY firm Grant Thornton has calculated the scale of tax avoidance by the super-rich and concluded that Britain's 54 billionaires pay tax on a tiny fraction of their wealth.

In 2005/2006 the UK's billionaires paid income tax totalling just under £15 million on their £126 billion combined fortunes. Only a mere handful pay capital gains tax.

In addition to the UK becoming an onshore tax haven, the Blair government has fought to retain so-called loopholes that allow offshore tax havens to be exploited by the super-rich.

Forty-two of the 54 billionaires utilise havens like the Channel Islands, Switzerland and the Turk and Caicos Islands in the West Indies.

Billionaires with British roots benefit from a further loophole whereby they become non-residents. Such laws allow them to move abroad, often to a tax haven like Monaco or Zurich, but return to the UK for a maximum of 90 days a year.

Tax avoidance by the super-rich will soon lead to the British Treasury breaking its rule that public debt should remain beneath 40 per cent of GDP. Labour's policy towards the super-rich is effectively bankrupting the UK.

The figures on tax avoidance explode the notion of 'trickle down economics' that growing wealth at one end of society automatically benefits those at the other end.

This was promoted initially by the Conservatives and has been taken up by Blair's Labour Government.

Much of 'wealth creation' today is little more than the legalised plunder of working people for the benefit of a privileged elite.

JOHN SMITHEE

Kingsley Avenue

Wisbech

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