Friday, 8 May 2009

Is Maximising MP Expenses Just Tax Avoidance?

We hear a lot of rhetoric from Brown and Darling about how they are going to clampdown on MPs' Expenses and the policy on that looks as shambolic as most things, but at least they have been consistent in their mantra of plugging tax loopholes to stop people avoiding paying the tax they owe.

It strikes me that MPs 'maximising' their expenses is a direct form of tax avoidance. Clever accountants tell you lots of little nooks and crannies on how to avoid paying tax on sums by claiming this and that and here we have the same. Labour Leader Designate, Harriet Harman, has come out and said that all the new allegations, including ones about Brown, Darling, Blears, Straw and others, are all within the rules but it isn't the point. Tax avoiders will tell you exactly the same. At one end of the scale, Philip Green would 'legitimately' say by taking a single dividend of £1.2bn and paying zero tax, he was within the law.

I think Labour are running out places to go on this. This is small time hoodlum stuff compared to the likes of the mega rich but it all starts somewhere. Heaven knows (probably quite literally) what Tony Blair was up to as he now earns his £ millions piously, after using blind trust funds to buy not one but two flats for his boy to go to University but I guess whoever has nicked all this sensitive data and his hawking it around the top newspapers may only have current data.

One thing is for sure, this method of drip feeding the information to papers like the Telegraph is a 'death by a thousand cuts' for the Government. They should never have put their snouts so far in the trough and shouted:

'I'm alright, Jack!'

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