Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mehdi’s Corporate Paymaster Censors Critics

In a change from side-boob and upskirt shots, Mehdi Hasan is frothing about ‘corporate welfare’ (geddit) over at the Huffington Post. He’s attacking the media for being complicit with large companies and banks:

“They are aided by their friends, allies and outriders in the right-wing media echo chamber, who have never had to endure the indignity of turning to payday lenders or food banks in order to survive.”

Which is odd given that Mehdi is aiding his corporate paymasters by censoring comments about the tax status of the Huffington Post’s parent company directly below his rant. Guido has been trying to leave the following comment all day:

“AOL turned over £56,801,000 last year yet manage to pay only £9,000 in corporation tax. How so? Could it be because HuffPo is losing money or that its UK owner, AOL Limited, repatriates profits to escape paying its dues in the UK to the Luxembourg-registered AOL Europe Société à responsabilité limitée. If Mehdi cared about the millions in corporate profits being exported by multinational corporations he wouldn’t work for one of the worst exemplars”

Sadly that inconvenient truth does not fit Mehdi’s agenda.

Monday, January 27, 2014

IFS Demolish Balls Plan

Balls couldn’t resist a love-in with the Institute for Fiscal Studies back when they were criticising the government in 2012, crowing that:
“The IFS is right to cast doubt over the so-called ‘findings’ of the review of the 50p top rate published by the Chancellor. They say that it is uncertain that the cost of cutting the 50p rate is as low as Ministers claim and that it is too early to judge the true effect.”  

Well for some reason he doesn’t seem to want to listen now that they’ve demolished his 50p tax rate plan this afternoon. In a withering assessment, the IFS concludes:

“The best available estimate of what reversing the cut would raise is therefore about £100 million too… at the moment, the best evidence we have still suggests that raising the top rate of tax would raise little revenue and make, at best, a marginal contribution to reducing the budget deficit an incoming government would face after the next election.”

 What was that about always listening to the IFS?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guardian Sells Autotrader Stake for $1 Billion
Moment of Tax Truth for Guardianistas

In 2011 this blog ran a Guy News investigation into the Guardian’s offshore tax dodge in the Caymans. We followed it up in 2012 and Guido personally asked Alan Rusbridger and GMG plc’s CEO to explain the continuing holding of assets offshore. No reply was forthcoming. In 2012 we checked to see if GMG was still using GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, the controversial tax-exempt corporation which it set-up in 2007.

Subsequently 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 was unchanged. At the very least Apax/Guardian will have saved themselves $5 the million in stamp duty which would otherwise be due to HMRC by doing the transaction offshore:

No pronouncement from Polly Toynbee as yet. Guido is consulting beancounters on further tax implications of the deal…

Further reading on the Guardian‘s tax hypocrisy:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mo Runs from Osborne

After his double gold Olympic glory, Mo Farah said: “I don’t know anything but England. When I run for my country I’m proud.” Ed Miliband called him “a hero for our country”, the Prime Minister wanted to give him a knighthood. Boris did the Mo-Bot…

Awkward then that Mo has applied to become a tax exile in Portland, Oregon, US – to reduce his bill. And who can blame him. Similarly, marathon champ Paula Radcliffe – after Gordon Brown raised the top rate of tax – moved to Monaco. As Guido pointed out in the Sun yesterday, the usual suspects  condemn such behaviour by the rich but, when it comes to these Olympic heroes, are silent…

Monday, January 6, 2014

Osborne Promises Another £12 Billion Benefits Salami Slice

Talking the talk, Osborne has claimed “government is going to have to be permanently smaller and so is our welfare system”. Finally, if he is to be believed, the Tories will be “permanently cutting people’s taxes by permanently cutting spending”. He’s making the right noise at least, but when?

The Chancellor has pledged a further £12 billion of cuts to benefits from 2015 to 2017, yet the overall bill is £174.3 billion. Barely a dent. From the gloomy tones of the speech it’s not looking likely that tax cuts will come this side of an election either. This looks like playing politics rather than any genuine commitment to walking the walk.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bah, L’Humbug!
Hollande’s 75% Tax Rate Approved by French Courts

Francois Hollande’s Christmas present to the French people is a 75% tax rate. The hike was ruled unconstitutional a year ago but the French courts have u-turned and now, despite huge protests from business leaders and the country’s star footballers going on strike, those earning over €1 million will pay a top income tax rate of 75% to their socialist government. Another nail in the coffin of the Hollande plan that Miliband endorsed. Expect a queue of Ferraris on the French-Swiss border tonight…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wonk Movements: All Change at TPA

Big wonk movements last night, with Matt Sinclair leaving his position as chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance to jump ship to Europe Economics. He is replaced by the TPA’s current political director, Jonathan Isaby who has gone from hack, to wonk, to boss in under five years. Research director John O’Connell is promoted to Director. Fact: Isaby owns every single Now That’s What I Call Music album ever released.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

True Terrible Impact of Bedroom ‘Tax’ Revealed

Labour are forever telling us that the bedroom ‘tax’ is a vindictive and pernicious policy that will cause misery for thousands across the country. Well today the devastating consequences have come to light. Worcester News has the story of one victim, Lisa Taylor, a mother in Warndon. Her sob story of having to dip into savings makes for grim reading:

“Since the bedroom tax was brought in she can no longer afford to buy her son a PlayStation 4 for Christmas.

The horror.

H/T @moodyslayeruk

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Un-Free, Anti-Enterprise Group

The “Free Enterprise Group” is made up Tory MPs who are usually relatively sensible and allegedly right-wing, so Guido cannot understand why they keep coming up with such bonkers ideas. First they wanted to tax the old even more, now they want to put VAT on food and kids’ clothes. The idea is that the 20% rate is lowered to 15% but exemptions are abolished, so it would apply to all purchases. The Mirror has rightly given them a deserved two page kicking, calculating that: “A weekly grocery bill of £54.80 would go up by £8.22, an outing for £251.10 worth of under 14s clothes would jump £37.66 and a fuel bill of £1,267 would rise £127.” 

Guido cannot help but wonder what kind of supposed free enterprise group wants to extend the reach of VAT, introducing a blanket tax on every transaction. Cutting the rate is all well and good, but how can these self-proclaimed right-wingers possibly sell to voters the idea that their grocery bills, energy and kids’ clothes costs should all go up? As group member crazy Kwasi Kwarteng admits: “This is controversial.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

That Permanent Austerity in Full

The usual bedwetters are lining up this morning to proclaim that Cameron signalled never-ending austerity last night. They’re moaning about ideology etcetera.

Have a look at what Dave actually said:

“We have a plan – and we are carefully implementing that plan. Already we have cut the deficit by a third. And we are sticking to the task. But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending. It also means something more profound.

It means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.

It can be done. Consider these facts. There are 40 per cent fewer people working in the Department for Education – but over 3,000 more free schools and academies, with more children doing tougher subjects than ever before. There are 23,000 fewer administrative roles in the NHS – but 5,000 more doctors, with shorter waiting times. So you can have a leaner, more efficient, more affordable state that actually delivers better results for the taxpayer.”

Guido will believe the “leaner, more efficient, more affordable state” when he sees it, but it is hardly an unreasonable aim? What do the left have against being careful with taxpayers’ money? If you are opposed to efficiency, then you are the ideological one…


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