Having damaged our economy the politicians ramp up their cash grab extortion racket

First we had that doyenne of rank hypocrisy, Margaret Hodge, given a free ride on BBC Radio 4 Today to label companies looking to minimise their tax liabilities as ‘immoral’. She’s a fine one to talk.

Now we have Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, signalling the government’s plan to demand more than their legal share of tax money with menaces. The Lib Dem minister, who says he has been boycotting Starbucks over its low tax bill, is now promising to “get under the skin” of those who do not pay their fair share.  The  Cosa Nostra are positively benign in comparison to this lot.

Alexander said on the Today programme that “public pressure” is an important tool in getting companies to change their behaviour.  He went on to say there is evidence people are already taking their custom away from companies that do pay little or no UK tax, such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google.  That is exactly what the government’s money with menaces campaign has been striving to achieve and it’s having the desired effect.

We are witnessing an extortion racket in action aided and abetted by the media, where the envy and resentment of less well off people who are trapped in PAYE is a well being tapped to help bring about what the government wants, despite the fact the government is not legally entitled to any extra money.   The consequences of not sacrificing exemptions and deductions and handing over additional money is that the state, and its establishment lackies, will do what Hodge and Alexander are already doing and work to destroy the reputation of those businesses by encouraging consumers through example to boycott them.  And this from a government that describes itself as pro-business, in a c0untry it describes as open for business.

‘We know no spectacle so ridiculous,’ wrote Thomas Macaulay some 175 years ago, ‘as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.’  The government and parts of the media have successfully whipped up one such huge scale fit and are running a racket to pressure companies to voluntarily pay more in tax than they are legally obligated to.  It’s an outrageous campaign that too many people are too blind to see for what it is.

The result that all too few people are considering is that prices will rise to offset the increased cost of doing business in this country.  Many of the very people who are clamouring loudest for ‘fairness’ and more taxation will unwittingly be disproportionately affected by this because the higher costs will ultimately be footed by the consumer.  Who will they demonise then?

The government won’t care for it will have more money to squander on non essential spending like the hundreds of billions that have been pissed up the wall for no public benefit before it.  Perhaps people would do well to remember that a government big enough to give you what you want is a government big enough to take from you all you have.

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10 Responses to “Having damaged our economy the politicians ramp up their cash grab extortion racket”


  1. 1 Jim 03/12/2012 at 2:20 pm

    Starbucks is very open to a public boycott as its a discretionary spending retailer with a physical presence, and plenty of UK competition. So I’m not surprised they’ve caved in, because they could lose considerable sales revenue if the ‘not paying tax’ mud sticks to them for too long. Look what happened to Ratners – a perfectly viable business destroyed by the public staying away in droves after bad publicity.

    Amazon, Google and Ebay are different kettles of fish – they exist on cyberspace, have no real competitors, provide a real competitive service at low cost (zero for Google). As much as people huff and puff, when it comes down to buying the Christmas presents online, when Amazon are cheapest and will delivery it for free too, you know who will get the mouse click. These companies will be able to stick two fingers up at HMRC, because they are behind cast iron EU law, and are invulnerable to customer boycotts because their service is so in demand by so many people.

  2. 2 Dave 03/12/2012 at 2:20 pm

    I went on Danny Alexander MP
    Chief Secretary to the Treasurys website

    http://www.dannyalexander.org.uk/

    Pressed the butoon on left
    “Make a Donation”

    and paid 9 [nine] pence into his account using PayPal.

    I urge everyone to send tuppence to Danny.

    Thank you for your charity.

  3. 3 permex 03/12/2012 at 2:30 pm

    As a country we have always been a society of envy, jealous of & angry at those who are successful in business though they, and only they, provide the jobs so necessary to survival.
    The public is more dumbed down and ignorant of facts than ever since the Dark Ages
    Unfortunately, it is only this public which must rise up in revolt against the PTB………..As it is completely unable to discern between the good guys & the bad, such a revolt would mostly be counter productive with more shackles added.
    God help us because clearly we cannot do it ourselves.

  4. 4 Andy Baxter 03/12/2012 at 3:10 pm

    ” “public pressure” is an important tool in getting companies to change their behaviour ” its also an important tool in getting Governments to change their behaviour also: but only if enough of us say “NO”

    “Perhaps people would do well to remember that a government big enough to give you what you want is a government big enough to take from you all you have.” true words from Thomas Jefferson

    that’s also why Harrogate needs to motor on and become embedded in popular consciousness as an alternative and a means to deter and prevent such.

  5. 5 EForster 03/12/2012 at 4:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. But I imagine hardly a single MP realises that all company production costs, profits, dividends, business taxes, payroll taxes, are paid with VAT on top of them, entirely out of ‘after tax’ spending money received from their ultimate customers at the end of the supply chain: individual consumers. The consumer sees only the VAT and not the whole list of hidden taxes that are also included in retail prices.

    Real income is money that can be spent and it is that money which contributes the tax when it is spent. The more we spend the more tax we pay, whilst so-called taxpayers are merely unwitting intermediaries in the process of passing consumers’ tax money forward to HMRC. Whether we are rich or poor, we contribute at the same rate; not quite the redistributive socialist scheme that we all thought.

    Our complex tax system is simply a charade, in that voters have no real perspective on what they earn or the tax that they pay. And this fact is obscured: that taxation is so heavy that half of our spending is diverted to spending determined by politicians and bureaucrats, not necessarily efficiently or to our advantage.

  6. 6 Bill 03/12/2012 at 4:35 pm

    All Starbucks has to do is say goodbye.
    No matter what their tax affairs are they are NOT ILLEGAL under the statute law of the United Kingdom but they employ thousands who pay income tax, who pay VAT who pay fuel taxes plus VAT etc, etc.
    They also rent a lot of property so they pay business rates, and probably VAT on rental.
    True VAT is an in and out thing but still.

    Walk away Starbucks. Don’t threaten, don’t prevaricate simply close the UK arm of the business down.

  7. 7 Jim 03/12/2012 at 7:32 pm

    Bill is right. If Starbucks had some balls (and sense really) instead of caving in to the mob, they’d call a big press conference (saying they were going to announce a new amount of tax they would be paying) and when the entire media is there tell them the new amount of tax would be zero, as all the coffee shops were closing after Christmas, and everyone would be out of a job come Jan 1st. And walk out of the room.

    The public attitude would change immediately. Those currently whipping up the mob would suddenly be faced with reality – continue excoriating Starbucks, and lose 10K jobs and God knows how much tax revenue from VAT, business rates, income tax, NI etc, or eat humble pie and ask them to reconsider.

    The alternative (for Starbucks) is like paying Danegeld. You keep paying and the Dane keeps coming back for more. They either stamp on this now, once and for all, or they will be the whipping boy for politicians and liberal do-gooders for ever more.

  8. 8 Old Codger 03/12/2012 at 9:19 pm

    “Who will they demonise then?”

    Those same companies. We have already seen it.

    Energy companies are forced to subsidize useless windmills and solar cells that pollute China, also pay to insulate homes like mine, yet the government castigates them for increasing their prices.

    I do find it alarming that politicians who have demonstrated most methods of avoiding tax, some of which are not available to us lesser mortals, and who have devised a way round the stopping of the mortgage interest rate expense fiddle (rent each others houses and claim that on expenses instead) first criticise high worth individuals and businesses and now threaten them for quite legally avoiding tax.

  9. 9 Bertie Dugger 04/12/2012 at 8:21 am

    If government/politicians/activists think they can get away with pressurising companies to pay more tax than they are legally obliged to where will it end?

    Will they start start lobbying against those businesses that have moved factories abroad or offshored service functions on the grounds that HMRC is being denied the Income Tax and National Insurance on the wages paid to staff in those far-flung locations? And what about the VAT on the goods and services that UK employees would have been paying if those wages had been paid here?

  10. 10 The Man With Many Chins 04/12/2012 at 8:34 am

    Right, off to spend a bit more money at Amazon. Anything to support a company that keeps money out of the hands of those wasteful fuckers in Westminster.


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