Saturday, December 8, 2012

Starbucks Solidarity

st pauls

The unwashed hordes who support UK Uncut will be harassing low-paid workers in Starbucks today. It seems like only yesterday that the Occupy crowd were queuing up outside the St Paul’s branch for a fair trade skinny decaf. If you are doing a bit of Christmas shopping today maybe pop in and show some solidarity with the workers…

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MILT: Mums I’d Like To Tax

It’s taken some time but it seems the Labour kickback machine is getting into gear. The dividing lines are being drawn over the whether or not Labour back the Welfare Uprating Bill that will apparently be published this side of Christmas. In the meantime a nice row is brewing over the so called “Mummy Tax”. After granny and pasties, hidden hits are de rigueur these days. A friend of Ed Balls tells Guido this morning:

“Osborne effectively branding mums, taking time out from work to be with their new baby, as work-shy benefit scroungers is a big political mistake.”

Guido is not sure how a reduction in hand-outs is a “tax”, but the issue is certainly potent. Mumsnet will be unbearable today…

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hodge the Dodge: Satire is Dead

Question-dodging Margaret Hodge had some nerve asking the PM about tax avoidance today, and when she got her phone out to tweet afterwards the irony knew no bounds:

Never mind the fact that she still hasn’t answered Guido’s repeated questions about her own tax arrangements. Come on Margaret, what was that about failing to answer questions? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Broke Guardian Selling the Rest of the Auto Trader Silver

Somehow Sky beat the Media Guardian to the story in their own backyard – GMG are selling their remaining 50% stake in Auto Trader for up to £600m. Things must be getting really bad…

Of course it was the sale of the first chunk of the car classifieds goldmine that employed the finest tax avoidance techniques known to the Cayman Islands. Guido will be watching this sale closely…

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guardian’s Offshore Secrets:
Guardian Media Group Cayman Islands Company Still Active

In 2011 Guido produced a video highlighting Guardian Media Group’s financial hypocrisies, provoking a rambling article from editor Alan Rusbridger and another self-justifying piece in the paper blaming the decision to place hundreds of millions in assets offshore on their investment partners Apax.

Rusbridger argued essentially that it is a tough world for his newspaper so they can’t be pure in their business practices. A transparently self-serving argument. It remains the case that despite the Guardian’s high-mindedness it has tax dodging in its DNA. The original trust structure was set up by CP Scott to avoid inheritance taxes. That was wound up in 2008 to exploit a loophole enabling them to pay zero capital gains tax on £307 million in profits. But they haven’t stopped there.

Guido checked with the Cayman’s company registrar yesterday to see if a certain controversial tax-exempt corporation was still operating. In 2008 The Guardian claimed GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, a GMG-owned company, would be transferred into their investment partner Apax’s offshore structures, normally when this happens there is a name change. The name is unchanged to this day, strongly suggesting the ownership is unchanged. In the spirit of their Offshore Secrets investigation into tax havens, sham companies and nominee directors, perhaps it is time the Guardian explained why

  • If GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited holds no assets, why have its owners continued to pay registration fees since 2007 so it can remain an active company?
  • If it does hold assets what is the total present value of GMG and associated companies’ assets held via the Cayman Islands or other offshore tax havens?
  • Does GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited have “sham” nominee directors, if so, who are they?

There may well be an innocent explanation, these are the sort of questions they ask of others…

Further reading on the Guardian‘s tax hypocrisy:

David Miliband’s £15,000-a-Day Month

The latest instalment in Guido’s How Much Does David Miliband Earn? series reveals that the jet-setting former Foreign Secretary trousered an average of £15,000-a-day for his outside work last month. Miliband made £25,000 for his two-day job at Sunderland football club, £12,000 for 24-hours’ work advising Oxford Analytica and £23,000 for just one day at VantagePoint Clean Tech. He also enjoyed a £6,000 all-expenses paid trip to Washington. £60,000 for four days work. And he didn’t even have to go to the jungle…

Thursday, November 22, 2012

IPSA Boss Says Piggy MPs Deserve Our Trust Again

A laughable interview on the Today programme this morning by Sir Ian Kennedy, the head of IPSA and the man in charge of a review of MPs’ pay. Kennedy says it is time to trust MPs again on expenses:

“Two and a half years ago Parliament was mired in controversy about expenses scandal and looks what’s happened in those two and a half years: an independent body has been created, we’ve addressed business costs, we’ve addressed expenses, we’ve got a good system in place which works. What we’ve got to do is say, look, 2009 is not back with us. MPs are not in a situation where they’re not to be trusted and that there’s no system in place. Quite the opposite, there’s a new system and it’s quite unfair to say that MPs are not to be trusted.”

He must have forgotten all about Stephen Dorrell, Denis MacShane, Margaret Moran, Linda Riordan, Meg Munn, Andy Burnham, Chris BryantHelen Grant, Bill Cash, John Whittingdale, Peter Luff, Jessica Lee, David Amess, Kevin Barron and Don Foster. And that’s just during the last month…

Living on Borrowed Time

Part time Tory MP Tim Yeo’s latest musings on the state of the economy read more like something out of the Ed Balls textbook of treasury tragedy. Despite yesterday’s worrying borrowing figures, the conflicted MP ludicrously says we should borrow more money:

“If borrowing is for long term infrastructure assets it should be considered, providing a direct economic benefit can be demonstrated. I do not approve of borrowing due to a failure to cut current spending quickly enough. But where the economic benefit is evident borrowing is acceptable.”

Maybe he’s hoping that economic benefit he mentions might apply to one of his own copious outside interests…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rothschilds Donate £10,000 to Labour

The Rothschilds, offshore banking and a large political donation – all we need are a Russian oligarch and a yacht and it’s 2010 all over again. Yesterday’s Electoral Commission figures reveal that the Labour Party have accepted a £10,000 donation from Rothschild Private Banking, a wealth management service that specialises in discreet “wealth structuring” and “expert guidance on efficient tax and succession planning”. Are they predators or producers?

Its parent company is based, naturally, in Switzerland. Tax avoidance really is a terrible thing, isn’t it Ed?

Stephen Dorrell’s Secret Rent Deal

Former Tory Health Secretary turned troughing piggy Stephen Dorrell should be drafting his resignation this morning after the Telegraph revealed that he sold his old flat to friends, did not declare the controversial deal that netted him £70,000, and then rented it back off of them. All to break the spirit of the new expenses rules.

Dorrell openly admits that he contrived this tenancy to maximise his benefits under IPSA rules, he told the Telegraph

“…I bought it on an interest only mortgage, because that was the rule at the time, and that ended. So I arranged for a third party to buy it. We had an independent assessment of the rent and it is rented at arms length.”

If he was claiming welfare benefits instead of MPs’ benefits he could be prosecuted for fraudulently “contriving a tenancy”…

In an added twist, there is also a huge undeclared conflict of interest in the fact that the friends are involved in care homes – an area being investigated by the Select Committee Dorrell chairs. The only job he should be doing is Stewarding the Chilton Hundreds…


Seen Elsewhere

Yes Scotland’s Geo-Targeting Advertising Fail | MessageSpace
#IndyRef Twitter Map | Trendsmap
Westminster Has Patronised Scots | Scottish Sun
What Happens in the Event of a Recount? | Breitbart
Yes Side Emphatically Won Campaign | Speccie
Joyce Thacker on Sick Leave | Doncaster Free Press
Claire Perry Slams ‘Goodies’ for Scots | Sun
Westminster Truce Shatters | Times
Boris: Prime Minister By Monday | James Ford
Tories Say Don’t Bribe the Scots | Times
Dave Can’t Stay if Scots Go | Laura Perrins


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


The Prime Minister feels the pressure:

“I have to say that after the events I have been facing over the last few days, assassination would be a welcome release.”



It was only a tiny tiny collision.


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,465 other followers