“Our political system protects and enriches a fantastically-wealthy elite, much of whose money is, as a result of their interesting tax and transfer arrangements, effectively stolen from poorer countries and poorer citizens of their own countries. Ours is a semi-criminal money-laundering economy, legitimised by the pomp of the Lord Mayor’s show and multiple layers of defence in government.” George Monbiot
Since the Conservative government came to power I have been trying to understand the reasons for their actions that I disagree with so much. I have wanted to find a balanced view of what is happening, and tried to convince myself that they really think that what they are doing is for our benefit. I have been assured by my own MP that he thinks that despite the changes to benefits and the cuts to public services, the vulnerable are protected. I wanted to believe that the government thought they were fixing the economy, even if I disagreed with their methods.
I was a fool. The government are lying to us and they know exactly what they are doing.
The headline you will probably have seen today is Government to increase bank levy to £2.5bn and if you read the article you will see that the banks are “livid” about it. It looks like the government is actually doing something about the injustice in our tax system. In fact, it will raise just £800m extra in taxes.
The problem is, that £800m gain will be completely wiped out by what George Monbiot has called “the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory.”
David Cameron told us that while he would like to cut tax, the country is in so much debt that we just can’t. Despite this, he and his government plan to quietly adjust the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 to scrap the requirement for large companies to pay tax in the UK on money earned abroad but not taxed at our levels. We will become one of only two countries in the world that does not charge tax on money that has passed through tax havens. The changes to the law will apply strictly to vast multinational corporations such as banks, oil companies and worldwide communications companies. The quantities of money involved will make even the £6bn of tax that Vodafone wriggled out of look like a pittance compared to to what our economy will lose now. This isn’t just about money either. These changes will make it pay to send jobs abroad too, and many more people will join our unemployed on the scrapheap.
Whose idea was all of this? The government consulted committees about changes to corporate tax law. Here’s some businesses that had representatives on those committees: Vodafone, Tesco, BP, British American Tobacco, HSBC, Santander, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, Schroders, RBS and Barclays.
We did not vote for the changes. This was not in any election manifesto. This was not in any party policy documents. As far as I know, it was not discussed at any party conference. The changes here amount to nothing less than vandalism and theft.
Our government is giving money back to the super rich at the same time as selling off our health service, privatising our education system, removing vital income from the sick and the disabled, cutting care services, killing libraries, even getting rid of public toilets, and much, much more. They are not your government. They exist to serve the filthy rich. Most of the cabinet ARE filthy rich, and they are treating you with contempt.
If you are not angry about this, you should be. If you are not already prepared to stand up and protest, start now. If you are not telling the government that we don’t want this, you deserve what the government is going to do to you. Find an action group. Start your own group if you can’t find one locally. The TUC are organising a massive demonstration on the 26th of March and we should support it. If you can’t physically join a protest, campaign on line. Join a campaign, get involved and say no!