Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're Allowing the Big Names to Dodge Their Taxes; COLUMNIST

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're Allowing the Big Names to Dodge Their Taxes; COLUMNIST

Article excerpt

Byline: Angus Long

WITH just a week to go, the general election campaign is now well and truly back on track and we are now getting parties of all colours and persuasions telling us that they will save whatever public services we deem closest to our hearts.

Things like the NHS, education, welfare and jobs. Yes, every political hopeful will promise the earth to deliver them. Trouble is, we still have a massive deficit and a fledgling economy, so grandiose promises are rather pointless and I wish the parties would stop making them and just be honest about the limited powers they have at their disposal.

Taxes are, of course, an intransigent element of modern society; we need them to fund vital public services. It stands to reason then, if we want things like state-funded healthcare and education we need to raise taxes to pay for them.

Given that any government spending is reliant on private sector wealth, perhaps the only thing really worth listening to is what they will, or can do, about the economy; because we will need a strong economy to fund the growing demand upon the public sector.

However, it is essential to distinguish the difference between raising tax revenue and raising tax rates. This is important, as increasing the former is all about delicately managing the latter - something the current Labour party leadership, in particular, appears to forget.

While it is often easy to whip up support with talk about taxing fatcats, bankers and the wealthy, there is a real danger that the wealth creators and entrepreneurs could simply leave the UK. In a global economy it's not so difficult to do that now.

Talk of a tax blitz and threats could see companies relocate operations to more commercially astute locations and an increase in job losses by use of more computers, robots and Smart-Apps.

Most financial experts now accept that in a 21st century, global economy, hard left, socialist ideals cannot be imposed by a government upon the nation; they can only be inspired by the benevolent acts of a compassionate people.

That's why it always makes me smile, when I hear or read comments from people denouncing the likes of Amazon, Google or Starbucks for structuring their businesses to avoid paying tax on their British sales. While naming and shaming is all well and good, it's largely ineffective while we increasingly continue buying from their online shops, search on their platform and drink their coffee.

If a company structures its operations to minimise its taxes, exploits its staff and takes money out of the local economy - they will continue to do that, despite the protestations of politicians and newspaper columnists, so long as consumers are still happy to buy their products and use their services. However, they might think twice if consumer spending were to reduce in protest. …

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