I do so enjoy Mr Richer

Anyway, back to the story. I wanted to talk to Richard about an idea in the very last paragraph of The Great Tax Robbery: his suggestion that we needed to “monitor systematically multinationals’ tax payments and actions (or inactions) against tax avoidance: TaxWatch perhaps”. I agreed passionately.

And so Mr. Richer did indeed start the funding for TaxWatch.

The same Mr Richer who sold his company – entirely and wholly legally – without incurring a tax bill for himself nor, I think I’m right in saying, even creating an asset which would then be subject to inheritance tax. Although I may well have misunderstood that last.

It tracks all forms of tax abuse and works very hard on what to do about it, and has started a national discussion on what tax avoidance actually is (HM Revenue & Customs’ definition is “bending the rules of the tax system to try to gain a tax advantage that parliament never intended”, which most of us don’t seem to realise).

TaxWatch being run by Richard Brooks, the Private Eye guy who entirely made up the idea that Vodafone faced a £6 billion tax bill, that there was some “deal” which led to a much lower bill actually being paid. When Vodafone was, in fact, simply obeying the European Union’s laws on the taxation of subsidiaries.

But then one man’s entirely legal and moral obeying of the tax laws shades into tax avoidance when done by someone else, doesn’t it?

5 thoughts on “I do so enjoy Mr Richer”

  1. I don’t understand people like Richer.

    Maybe he’s getting his retaliation in first ahead of a possible revolution of the proles when multimillionaires could end up swinging from lampposts?

    Pay your own tax, fine.

    Keep your eye on corporations and their clever tax avoidance schemes if you want, fine.

    But assuming that the point of this is to leave poor people with more money in their pockets, I continue to find it incredible that none of them even raise the faint possibility that the real problem is government spending too much money.

    This is despite our having a government which is (for example) pressing ahead with spending £120 billion to get Brummies to London 15 minutes quicker, and has just printed and wasted half a trillion on Covid measures which will not only did not do anything to stop Covid but will actually cost hundreds of billions more into the future, for decades.

    Collecting a few hundred million, or even a few billion, in dodgily avoided tax is pissing in the wind in this context.

    But of course a record of pointing out the vast amount of waste engendered by Whitehall and Westminster is less likely to deter the angry proles with their hempen nooses if (when) things really do finally go tits up than a record of demanding that the rich pay more tax.

  2. “This is despite our having a government which is (for example) pressing ahead with spending £120 billion to get Brummies to London 15 minutes quicker, and has just printed and wasted half a trillion on Covid measures which will not only did not do anything to stop Covid but will actually cost hundreds of billions more into the future, for decades.

    Collecting a few hundred million, or even a few billion, in dodgily avoided tax is pissing in the wind in this context.”

    The problem is that much of the public never connects things. You can hear them all complaining about the cost of diversity co-ordinators, the cost of eco bollocks, the cost of high speed rail. They complain about bad services, that they’re paying tons of money for. But few of them seem to put all of it together and realise just how shit government is.

  3. I always assumed the point of HS2 was never about improving things for Brummies.

    It was always about allowing Londoners to commute to work without having to actually, you know, live there.

  4. I assumed the point of HS2 was to tick some EU box…?

    We have the same things at a lower scale here. We have (apparently) to have a certain amount of pavements suitable for the visually impaired. That they go from nowhere to nowhere doesn’t seem to matter.

    See also: Cycle lanes that go nowhere or cycle lanes that have no drop-curbs at junctions so cyclists use the main road instead…

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