Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hodge the Dodge: Named and Shamed

hodgeTax dodgers need to be “named and shamed” by HMRC says the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Margaret Hodge. “We’ve got to simplify our tax system and I think naming and shaming not just of the sort-of Jimmy Carrs, but of these providers, these whizz kids, so that we know who they are, is powerful“. Her Committee reports that there is a  “game of cat and mouse and HMRC is losing”.

Well some fat cats put their shareholdings in family trusts to avoid inheritance taxes. Fat cats like Margaret Hodge…

The company share register for Stemcor shows that Hodge holds several million pounds worth of shareholdings in trusts, including for members of her family. Her family’s firm Stemcor confirmed that she has “shares held in trust or in her children’s names”. As Polly Toynbee helpfully explained, this is a clever way of minimising future inheritance tax liability:

“The big sell is trusts, special ones devised for this company’s clients, guaranteed to protect almost all your wealth from inheritance tax. They are right, it can be done easily. Put all moveables and all cash and investments into a discretionary trust, and it passes to your heirs without tax as soon as you die, not even waiting for probate. It counts as a gift so the beneficiaries need pay no tax either.”

Guido has challenged Hodge repeatedly over the last few months to explain the purpose of placing her Stemcor shareholdings in a trust other than to reduce the future inheritance tax liability of her relatives. She has yet to reply – what a shame…

See also: Hodge the Dodge Hypocrisy in Full

Thursday, February 14, 2013

When Ed Defended Gordon’s 10p Tax Disaster

What a difference a few years makes. Here is Ed Miliband in 2008, defending Gordon Brown’s abolition of the 10p tax rate:

“When you make a big set of changes in the tax system, some people do lose out. That is a matter of regret. Of course it is. But overall these changes make the tax system fairer.”

In 2008 he agreed it was fair, now Ed and Ed are landing their old boss in it. “Gordon Brown was wrong”…

Miliband Bounced Into Speech Policy U-Turn
“We would put right a mistake made by Gordon Brown”

The PM pulled the win back at a yesterday’s PMQs by running with Guido’s leaked email from Labour insiders who had been told there would be no policy announcement in today’s speech. Fast forward 24 hours and they’ve pulled one out of the hat. After the PM hinted that the 10p tax band would return, Miliband will shortly announce that Labour will reintroduce the rate scrapped by Gordon, funded by the LibDem policy of  a mansion tax on houses over £2 million. Funny that…

What we do know is as of Tuesday the Labour line was that there was no policy:

“Ed Miliband is going to make a ‘major’ speech on the economy on Thursday. It won’t have any new policies in it, but the plan is for Labour to release two or three big economic policies over the next couple of months.”

That was briefed out to supporters attending the speech, and now magically there is one. One that was suggested by a backbench Tory MP and does not look very well costed:

https://twitter.com/PickardJE/status/302009465518030849

Did the Eds work this one out on the back of their Valentine’s Day card envelopes?

UPDATE: Quoting a “key advisor” as late as yesterday evening, the line to Labour supporting sites was still that there would be no major policy announcement in today’s speech:

“But I fear most people will ignore it. This is partly because it will not contain major policy announcements to fight an election on. Their reasoning for this is simple: the election is still two years away and no one can predict the state of the economy then. Without knowing that, it is difficult to set budgets and make spending plans.”

With language like “we are taking a shot at the paradigm of the past”, there is no prize for guessing who that “key advisor” was…

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WATCH: Broken Tory Promises

An absolutely damning assessment of Dave and George’s broken promises from the Taxpayers’ Alliance this morning. “No plans to increase VAT”, VAT increased to 20%. “The next Conservative government will increase the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million”, inheritance tax limit frozen. What ever happened to the Conservatives?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tories Turn On Osborne

George Osborne is under fire from all sides this morning. He can expect more of the same until the Budget on March 20, it is going to be a very long six weeks for the Chancellor.  

One usually loyal Tory MP raged to Guido yesterday about the new social care plans paid for by breaking the inheritance tax promise: “This is a ridiculous, socialist idea. God know what they are doing… We haven’t even begun to address to the problems facing our economy and we’re going to create another NHS – and this from a Conservative government.”

Lord Forsyth, once sympathetic to the Chancellor, describes yesterday’s Tory death tax as “very disappointing”, accusing him of breaking promises and admitting “it’s hard to see how this squares with the Prime Minister’s declared intention to support the striving classes”. David Davis goes further, seeing the move as “dismaying” and noting the irony of him abandoning his flagship policy for a Gordon Brown stealth tax. Douglas Carswell’s continuing comparisons of Osborne and the Prime Mentalist still hurt.

The commentariat is just as damning. Stephen Glover of the Mail attacks it as “a betrayal of Tory values that shatters the hopes of ordinary families”, Peter Hoskin at ConHome notes that he is becoming  “a locus of Tory discontent”. It isn’t just the death tax, Jeremy Warner says no one knows what is going on with the economy, Rachel Sylvester warns Osborne is in real need of a trump card.

It is worth remembering the Afriyie plotters hinted they would go for Osborne first…

George Os-browne pic via @carlamillar1

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tory Death Tax
RIP: “The Most Basic Human Instinct of All”

Here is what the then Shadow Chancellor told the Tory party conference autumn 2007; George Osborne’s views on inheritance tax in his own words:

“Thanks to Gordon Brown, this unfair tax falls increasingly on the aspirations of ordinary people. These are people who have worked all their lives. People who have saved money all their lives. People who have already paid taxes once on their income. People whose only crime in the eyes of the taxman is that instead of spending their savings on themselves, they want to pass something on to their families. People who feel the most basic human instinct of all: they aspire to a better life for their children and their grandchildren.”

For the Tories of 2007 “the most basic human instinct of all” was providing for one’s children, reflected in a pledge to increase the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. Their poll rating leapt up seven points on the announcement. Today, rather than cut spending to pay for social care reform, the government has announced that the inheritance tax limit will be frozen at £325,000 until at least 2019. A death tax on middle-class property-owners that will cost traditional Tory voters tens of thousands of pounds when they die. What a R.I.P Off…

Friday, February 1, 2013

Labour’s Taxing Line

Hardly a week ever goes by without Labour failing to label a reform to welfare handouts as “a tax”. This week everyone has fallen in line behind the phrase “bedroom tax”:

With Andrew Dilnot clearing up the debt and deficit confusion earlier, in the interests of accuracy and Guido’s sanity, he’s sending these confused souls back to school. Here is the dictionary definition of a ‘tax’:

“a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.”

The so-called “bedroom tax” will see tenants in social housing who are deemed to be under-occupying their homes lose part of their housing benefit. See the difference?

The “bedroom tax” is not a tax at all, but actually a welfare transfer. If you are under-occupying your social housing you do not have to pay the state any money, you will simply receive a smaller handout from the taxpayer. But then Owen, and Kevin and Ian and Ed and Rachel all knew this already. 

The same applies to the nanny ‘tax’, the mummy ‘tax’, and all the other fake ‘taxes’ Labour types are inventing, a long with that imaginary “cheque” Cameron “wrote” to all those millionaires. This sort of misinformation is exactly why people hate politicians. They know what they are doing: being deliberately stupid to scare voters…

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flashback: Hodge the Dodge Hypocrisy in Full

Margaret Hodge is currently interrogating the ‘Big 4′ professional services firms at the Public Accounts Committee. The tax avoidance witch hunt moral arbiter says she has evidence that PriceWaterhouseCooper are using a “tax efficient operating model”, where they have set up AOL-style structures in tax havens like Luxembourg. Guido feels it is only fair to remind readers of Hodge the Dodge’s double standards.

All this hasn’t stopped her writing holier-than-thou letters to lefty magazines though…

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Term Tories II

Way back in August 2011 Guido wrote an article - One Term Tories - predicting that if the economy didn’t get going the Tories would not win in 2015. This was before it was fashionable, before Ed Miliband’s “One Nation” speech when he was still considered a joke by the Tories and well before the bookies made Labour favourites to be the largest party.  The article was re-tweeted furiously by the likes of Peter Hain and other Labourites who pretend not to read this blog.

Last night’s vote embedded Labour’s electoral advantage, psephologist Anthony Wells says the current constituency boundaries give the Tories a 7% to 11% electoral handicap depending on how the LibDems perform. Is Cameron doomed?

If the answer the electorate give to Ronald Reagan’s Are you better off than you were four years ago?” question is “No”, they probably are not going to be the largest party in 2015. This fact should concentrate minds in Downing Street more than any other issue, not Europe, gay marriage, HS2, Heathrow runways or any of the other side issues. Getting the economy growing is all that matters.

The government is going down a Keynesian path accelerating capital infrastructure projects – most of which will be shovel-ready in time to hand an incoming Labour government a growth boost. Ed Balls, the IMF, the editor of City A.M. Allister Heath and Guido all agree that an immediate stimulus would come from tax cuts. The Treasury resists the idea because it will widen the deficit. Well they are going to miss the deficit target anyway, you might as well miss it for the right reasons.

We can argue about what kind of tax cuts are best, Ed Balls and the IMF say a temporary VAT cut. Guido favours income tax rate cuts and threshold hikes, Allister Heath wants job creating cuts in business taxes. The Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed this week that the Coalition has raised 299 taxes. A flat-lining economy needs the government to get off its back and stimulate the economy, now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MPs to Debate “Great Gordon Brown Repeal Bill”

How good it was of the Prime Mentalist to turn up yesterday. Here is one he will no doubt want to skip however: the Great Gordon Brown Repeal bill is to be debated in Parliament next week. The proposal to reverse Labour’s scrapping of the 10p tax rate will be discussed by MPs at 2:30pm next Tuesday. Guido hears Gordon will be receiving a formal invitation…


Seen Elsewhere

BBC: It Was Guido Wot Won It | MediaGuido
Nick Robinson’s Britain First Selfie | Metro
Dyson: Leave German Dominated EU, Join EFTA |
How UKIP Won Rochester | Seb Payne
Labour’s Islington Problem | Harry Phibbs
Ed Lost More Than a By-Election | Labour Uncut
Labour the Biggest Losers in Rochester | Speccie
Thornberry a Gift to Farage | Nick Wood
Is Left Finally Turning Against EU? | Dan Hannan
Labour Votes Going Green | Guardian
UKIP Winning Class War | Tim Stanley


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Ralph Miliband on the English…

“The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world.”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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