How shocking at The Guardian

Barclays Bank has been forced to admit it paid just £113m in UK corporation tax in 2009 – a year when it rang up a record £11.6bn of profits.

The admission stunned politicians and tax campaigners. It was revealed on the eve of a day of protests planned against the high street banks by activists from UK Uncut, a group set up five months ago to oppose government cuts and corporate tax avoidance.

The Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who lobbied Barclays\’ chief executive, Bob Diamond, to reveal the tax paid by the bank, described the figure – just 1% of its 2009 profits – as \”shocking\”.

The current rate of corporation tax in the UK is 28%, although global banks such as Barclays – which has hundreds of overseas subsidiaries, including many in tax havens – do not generate all of their profits in their domestic market.

Max Lawson, of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, said: \”This is proof that banks live in a parallel universe to the rest of us, paying billions in bonuses and unhampered by the inconvenience of paying tax.

\”If banks paid their fair share we could avoid the worst of the cuts and help those hit hardest by the financial crisis they did nothing to cause.\”

UK Uncut, which has also campaigned against Vodafone, Boots and Top Shop, intends to take its first national day of action against the banks on Saturday with protesters expected to bring more than 30 high street branches of Barclays to a standstill.

Oops, sorry, wrong quote. This is the one we want:

The events and magazines company Top Right Group ran up a corporation tax bill of just £200,000 despite making a pre-tax profit of £186.2m last year.

Top Right, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners, landed a huge one-off windfall of £166.1m after selling its motoring research arm, CAP. Its chief financial officer, Mandy Gradden, told The Independent the profits on the sale were \”exempt from tax under the substantial shareholding exemption which is available to every company in the UK\”.

And we all remember that the major determinant of Barclay\’s low tax bill was the use of the substantial shareholders exemption, don\’t we?

Hypocritical tosspots.

13 thoughts on “How shocking at The Guardian”

  1. Hi Tim
    “If banks paid their fair share we could avoid the worst of the cuts and help those hit hardest by the financial crisis they did nothing to cause.”
    This tax and immediately think of ways to spend the taxes received. Why not tax profits at the appropriate level and use the receipts to run down the deficit – only spend the receipts when the deficit is paid off. Spending tax receipts leaves the deficit as a risky burden.
    Gavin

  2. ““This is proof that banks live in a parallel universe to the rest of us, paying billions in bonuses and unhampered by the inconvenience of paying tax.”

    What utter drivel, banks pay tax, they pay NI, they pay business rates, they pay VAT, they pay other taxes, they even pay corporation tax, they just don’t pay that last one to to the UK government, they pay it to another government, one with a lower rate.

    The clue is somewhere in there.

    As well as the Guardian, it’ll be nice to know how much Mr Umunna pays in tax, is it the same as “the rest of us”, he’s not short of a few bob I hear.

  3. “UK Uncut, which has also campaigned against Vodafone, Boots and Top Shop, intends to take its first national day of action against the banks on Saturday”
    There is only one way to deal with these people. If you’re going to Barclays on Saturday, Take a baseball bat. The law is a consensual deal. The authorities promise to ensure you can go about your affairs unimpeded. In return you obey the law. If the authorities aren’t going to put the boot behind UKUncut, the deal’s bust.

  4. It’s is you being hypocritical Worstall.You are all for tax evasion or tax avoidance or tax planning or whatever euphemism you choose to call it when it is practised by some huge multinational out of reach of democratically elected governments ,but not if it is practised by a smaller and fair-minded newspaper (which, incidentally, you read and base stories on much more than the arsewipe Mail and Express. If you boycotted the Guardian ,you’d have nothing to write about).

  5. DBC Reed

    You are forgetting the gifts that keep on giving: Mr R. Murphy; The Department of Energy and Warble Gloaming, and myriad other sources. Its just that some make it so much easier for our host.

    But, just to be accurate, Tim is in favour of The Organgrind planning its taxes (but not committing fraud). He just wants them to be consistent and not ‘hypocritical tosspots’. His words. I would never say something like that.

  6. @B
    To be consistent TW would have to disapprove of the Guardian’s tax dodging arrangements AND the similar scams of much bigger ,generally multinational corporations (which he always supports without reservation).
    It could be argued that, in a corrupt economic system, tax fiddling or planning (!) is one small weapon by which the Guardian (and Margaret Hodge?) preserve their existence in milieux dominated by the big cartels and outright international monopolies. Even fiddlers deserve a level playing field. Equal rights to fiddle!

  7. @DBC

    I’m assuming the Guardian isn’t fiddling.

    We seem to be back to the poor left who we all know are intrinsically better than all the rest. They only do it to survive so it’s alright. I do exactly the same and I am an inmmoral, capitalist, tax-dodging, weapons grade something or other.

    Personally, if The Guardian and Hodge have worked within the law, I’m fine with that. But it is a bit rich to have them accusing others in their very same situation. Seem from a distance, Hodge’s position is absolutely untenable.

    The Organgrind, Bodge and Useless Uncut operate from innuendo, mock outrage and a total lack of understanding of taxes. It’s visceral and inaccurate. But hey, I live elsewhere.

    I like Google’s position. ‘we pay what you mandate; you want more or less? Change the rules and we will abide by them.’

    It will be interesting how the Duchy thing goes down. Will we have the satisfaction of getting corporation tax and lose out on the personal income tax at 50%. Bit like the Bankers bonuses. The tax take is greater, but in the name of equalitee…

    My taxes are in Spain so I can’t get too worked up about it and I’ll let you lot work it out. But I’ll laugh my socks off if……

  8. It is quite clear that Tim is not disapproving of The Guardian’s tax arrangements, but at its hypocrisy.

  9. DBC Reed – TW is obviously pointing out the hypocrisy of the Guardian, not criticising their entirely legal tax planning.

    This is obvious, and you are a fool. But we know that already.

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