The Guardian’s rank hypocrisy on tax avoidance

Following two major articles on the ‘front page’ of the Guardian’s website – ‘Barclays bank forced to admit it paid just £113m in corporation tax in 2009’ [link] and ‘How the Guardian was gagged from revealing Barclays tax secrets’ [link] – the 2.74% Guardian has also published an editorial titled ‘Corporate tax avoidance: Impoverishing the public’, which you can read here.

Many may feel angered that Barclays managed to use tax avoidance measures (perfectly legal, as opposed to tax evasion which is not) to pay only £113m Corporation Tax to the UK Exchequer.  But that is the way the system is set up and it is worth remembering that even with such a miniscule effective tax rate on their earnings (a mere 1%) Barclays provides employment for thousands of people and loans to businesses and individuals.  So despite their focus on generating returns for shareholders, Barclays still provides something to the UK.

But the focus of this post is not to condemn Barclays for their actions, plenty of other people will do that perfectly adequately. After all, who in all honesty would not use legal means to reduce their tax liability if they could?  Even the sanctimonious champagne socialists who own the Guardian do the same. The socialist scribes at their little organ, with its 2.74% share of the national newspaper market, churn out stuff like this:

It is a simple equation, and may not be an easy one for Whitehall to implement. But the Guardian’s Tax Gap series meticulously documented squillions of pounds in avoidance, establishing beyond doubt that the seepage of revenue was on a scale that constituted a pressing public concern. Fixing the leaks may not save every last swimming pool, but it could make a big difference. Barclays is an iconic case for making the point, seeing as bankers’ determination to minimise their contribution to public funds is matched by the lavishness of the benefits they have enjoyed at public expense.

but their employer is no better. Let the Tweets of blogger Guido Fawkes explain all (no doubt more on this will follow on his Twitter feed):

Ah, you might say. The Guardian is a newspaper and therefore not being underwritten with the guarantees provided to the banking sector with our money, it does not benefit from public funds.  Wrong.

The Guardian is bolstered by its stranglehold on public sector job adverts for government, local authorities and its incestuous partner at the BBC. It also earns money from its education propaganda tool Learn Premium (more to come on that at a later date), which sold to schools seeks to indoctrinate our school children with leftist texts and media.  Our tax pounds are poured into the Guardian to pay for these ads and tools, so the paper benefits financially at our expense.

Having lavished our tax pounds on this newspaper – just as we have with the banking sector – we find exactly the same corporate tax avoidance games being played.  The Guardian’s hypocrisy on this subject stinks.

  • Where does their ‘Tax Gap’ series mention Guardian Media Group’s own behaviour?
  • Where are the stories from their own journalists about GMG’s tax avoidance?
  • Where is their righteous indignation at the behaviour of their owners?

Alan Rusbridger’s silence and that of his journalists on the Guardian owners’ own behaviour, is deafening.  Hypocrites.

15 Responses to “The Guardian’s rank hypocrisy on tax avoidance”

  1. 1 Dave H 19/02/2011 at 12:24 pm

    To me it’s simple:

    tax evasion = you did something wrong
    tax avoidance = the government did something wrong

    If they don’t like people using loopholes and procedures in tax law then it’s their own fault for not sorting the problem.

    If it wasn’t so complicated then there wouldn’t be all these hidden loopholes, most of us would be able to understand how it works and a bunch of tax accountants would be out of work.

  2. 2 Cassandra King 19/02/2011 at 12:54 pm

    Stunning hypocrisy from the worlds leading hypocrites, they must have balls of steel to able to attack others for doing exactly the same thing.

    I am sure if you asked these hypocrites some direct questions about this they would look at you as if you had gone mad.

  3. 3 Katabasis 19/02/2011 at 1:16 pm

    Ukuncut also seem to be missing in action on stories such as this too.

  4. 4 Geoff, Worcester, England 19/02/2011 at 1:25 pm

    Typical Lefties. Although you’ll find hypocrisy and cynicism across the political spectrum, there is no doubt that the Left is the market leader.

  5. 5 Barry 19/02/2011 at 1:37 pm

    Why does the Guardian have such a obsession for Barclays? Though Barclays did find private finance they also made use of the Bank of England liquidity schemes and whatnot IIRC so an element of state support is there. Other state supported banks are doing the same legal juggling of profits and losses that the law allows but seemingly it does not cause an eruption of ire at Guardian HQ.

    It’s also completely misplaced. The ‘problem’ the Guardian reports (whilst also exploiting) is a matter for the Government and Parliament not Barclays. Barclays just do the minimum the law requires.

    From the third link (‘Corporate tax avoidance: Impoverishing the public’) you could almost end up thinking there is only Barclays doing this. *All* companies do it – state supported or otherwise – unless they have a crap accountant. They would be utterly stupid not to.

  6. 6 Cassandra King 19/02/2011 at 8:23 pm

    I am looking forward to a BBC investigation into the guardian tax evasion and use of fake charitable status, a big story of great importance to the taxpayer.

    When pigs fly!

    I can just see Stephen Sackur doing a ‘hardtalk’ grilling the guilty and Gavin Essler asking the hard questions on ‘dateline Londonistan’.

  7. 7 London Calling 19/02/2011 at 9:06 pm

    Given the way Government squanders our taxes (Foreign aid to India, anyone?) it is a sacred duty not to fund their profligacy by one penny more than legally necessary.

    Imagine Oxford Street “chuggers” in tabards bearing the inscription “Inland Revenue” inviting voluntary credit card donation to the “Department of Overseas Development” to fund aid to India – a country with more millionaires than the UK..

    They would get not a farthing, but they get away with it with our taxes under Cameron Government. He truly is a sh- (lost for words!)

  8. 8 Accountants in london 09/02/2013 at 1:22 pm

    Accountants help you prepare your taxable accounts for HMRC, help you calculate how much tax you need to pay and can certify that their calculations are correct.

  9. 9 Phil 21/05/2013 at 2:37 pm

    I find it fascinating that ”autonomous minds” (a rehash of the same swivel-eyed libertarian loon twaddle) concerns itself with ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom from the state’ and yet reposts from Guido Fawkes, a blogger who boated of his time funding arms to the Contras which slaughtered tens of thousands of the poorest people in Central America when they agitated for change. Y’know the Contras which were backed by the CIA and the tiny number of wealthy families which had trampled over the freedoms of the people in that region since the Conquistadors.

    YOUR hypocrisy makes me want to vomit.

    No doubt this blog is kept by some angry old baby boomer whose testosterone is on the slide and who imagines himself as some kind of ‘freedom fighter’ when the reality is he is a sociopathically selfish human being who took all the benefits of the post-war welfare state and yet seeks to deny them to the future generations.

    Has it ever occurred to you that when you critique ‘state-backed banks’ you really are tripping yourselves up? Those banks said, ‘don’t regulate us, we know what we’re doing’. When they blew up, they held a gun to the politicians’ heads and said ‘we’ll crash the system’. THAT’s Libertarian deregulation for you. That’s the ‘free market’. No amount of bleating about ‘letting capitalism do its work’ is going to change the fact that the super-rich are libertarian when they want to be and statist when they need. You serve THEIR interests.

  10. 10 Autonomous Mind 21/05/2013 at 5:48 pm

    Time for your medication, Phil.

    It never ceases to amaze me that when some people are so determined to launch ad hominem attacks on others in support of their own ideology they are incapable of understanding the difference between regulation and ownership, and between free market economics and crony corporatism.

    But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a delusional rant by a net consumer who expects producers to subsidise him and spits venom at anyone who challenges government abuse of public money in propping up their political allies (remember Northern Rock?).

    I think nurse is ready for you now.

  1. 1 The Guardian Finally Disappears up its Own Arsehole | Shouting at Cows Trackback on 21/09/2011 at 11:02 am
  2. 2 ‘Fessing up: George Monbiot in Receipt of the Proceeds of Tax Dodging. « Vir Cantium Trackback on 29/09/2011 at 2:56 pm
  3. 3 The British tax system hate it or hate it - Anonymong Trackback on 31/10/2012 at 7:37 pm
  4. 4 UK Uncut’s taxing truth Trackback on 17/12/2012 at 9:50 pm
  5. 5 Guardian columnist Martin Kettle compares our free press to union barons and the NRA. Has he gone nuts? – Telegraph Blogs Trackback on 02/05/2013 at 12:12 pm
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