Friday, 1 February 2008

Super-rich tax avoidance costs us £1,000 a year

I'm sure most people saw the TUC report today on tax avoidance. If not you can download it here and and the first bit from the release is below:

[T]he public purse loses £13 billion a year through tax avoidance by the wealthy and £12 billion a year through tax avoidance by corporations. Altogether this adds up to £25 billion - or around £1,000 a year for everyone at work in the UK.

I noticed an interesting comment about the background to the report in this piece about it in the FT:

The TUC believes it is tapping into a growing mood of resentment about the super-rich. The view, prevalent in the 1990s, that targeting the wealthy would be seen as a politically unpopular attack on people’s aspirations, is fading.

I think this is spot on. Because of the darkening economic picture people are fearful, and don't like seeing that some groups in society still coining it in whilst they are being told to keep they pay increases below inflation. In addition the disclosure that the richest people in the UK often pay a lower rate of tax than most of us is really starting to seep into the popular consciousness.

It will be interesting to see how this unease plays out politically given that the main parties still don't seem to think that rich-bashing is a shrewd strategy.

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