Let’s put this in context. Apparently, one in ten UK taxpayers has an offshore account.
I have always argued the scale of offshore abuse is significant. But this exceeds any estimate that I might have made.
The data has been advised by foreign governments. I suspect it is true.
Let me be clear: some will be accounts that are not in tax havens e.g. those held by those letting properties in France, for example. But all might involve evasion. And that is just as important as those that are tax haven based.
Well, yes, but we should all recall what happened over those Swiss accounts. Spudda and the like told us all that there were billions, billions I tell ‘ee, to be got from scouring the vaults of the Gnomes for tax evading accounts.
So much so that Osborne pencilled in those billions that he’d get from the agreement he made that the vaults be scoured.
As it turned out near all of the accounts were either of British citizens who weren’t resident for tax purposes, or were and were declared. Total receipts were not, you’ll be amazed to hear, those billions.
Then those Panama Papers. David Cameron had offshore! Which was all declared and tax paid. And the Liechtenstein Facility had one and only one named user. Lady Margaret, Dame Hodge, Spuddy’s fellow campaigner on tax evasion.
There just ain’t the money out there evading tax Ritchie says there is. On the very simple basis that as, by and large we don’t find ourselves oppressed by British law then we generally, being unoppressed, obey British law.
All of which would change if we changed British law to be oppressive of course.