The latest one is Barclays. Their UK tax bill has come to £113million, 2.4% of their global profit. I'm assuming that Barclays have a responsibility to pay tax at whatever rate is prescribed in each territory that they operate. It seems strange to me that people are demanding that Barclays hand over more money in the UK, despite the fact that they've probably had to do the same in Australia, Canada, Spain, Mauritania and the Federated States of Micronesia. I have no doubt that Barclays employ a small army of people to minimise their tax burden, but then that's the system. Without wanting to get into a discussion yet again about the old avoidance vs evasion argument, I will simply say that if a person or an organisation finds a legal way to minimise their tax bill, it is naive at best to expect them to voluntarily hand over more.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the Treasury Select Committee, who requested the detail, described it as "shocking".
Mr Umunna said revelation showed that the bank was not paying its fair share towards a deficit they had helped create, despite having benefited from the government's rescue of the financial system.
Whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that Barclays has taken not one penny of public money. So, if Barclays have helped create this defecit, then how? Evidence, please, you vacuous, vain little man because I remember your party stood on the sideline cheering them on, how everything was roses, we would have jam today, tomorrow and for every day after that. You incited this behaviour. Now, all of a sudden it is their fault.
Although Barclays was not directly rescued by the UK government - unlike Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland - it has been able to borrow extremely cheaply because of the Bank of England's decision to slash interest rates, and because markets perceived that the government would not allow any big bank to fail.
So Barclays and other banks should pay more because of the Bank of England's independent decision to keep interest rates low? Really? How does that work then? And markets perceived that HMG wouldn't let a big bank fail.
Aye, there's the rub.
You see, the mind boggling amount of our cash that has been poured into the banks has been poured into them by the politicians. It was their decision. They could have stood back and said 'your business, your mess', but they chose not to. They could have pointed out to the shareholders that it is their responsibility to ensure that the business they own is properly run, but they chose not to. They could have allowed the banks to go to the wall, like Woolworths, MFI and Zavvi, but they chose not to. What the politicians have done is the equivalent of a parent going down to the local car dealership and buying a top of the range car to replace the one wrecked by their teenage son, and then blaming the son for the fact that the family is going to be living off beans on toast for the next two years.
Even then, Northern Rock has been doing a pretty decent job of paying back the cash that was poured into it. So, the payout that we were forced to make by our politicians is being returned. It may be that the investment gets returned with a profit. So, where's the issue?
The issue is this, the bail out of the banks is symptomatic of Labour's poor governance. For thirteen years they spent at eyewatering levels. They took our money and wasted billions upon billions of it. It isn't often I'll agree with David Cameron, but when he says that Labour are in defecit denial, he's quite right. But that denial conveniently stops when an 'evil' bank, that has taken none of our money, manages to minimise the amount it hands over.
Why the hell should they hand it over? This idea that extorting money from people, under threat of going to prison, to spend on stuff that we don't want, don't need and can't afford, and then taxing the people that our money is handed to, so they can perform the whole cycle over again will somehow save the economy is rubbish. Every penny that government spends comes from our pockets, and every time it is recycled the amount diminishes, not increases. Every pound that passes through government (local or national) hands is clipped, trimmed and reduced. Government is expensive, inefficient and self-serving. Government can no more stimulate the economy than it can change the direction of the wind. The best thing the government can do to the economy is leave it the hell alone. Government produces nothing, it sells nothing, it leeches.
Government has a disastrous track record in delivery, that being, it doesn't. Never has, never will, on anything. If government delivered on its promises, and those promises were acceptable to the electorate, then elections really would be a futile exercise because there'd never be a change. We'd all be so delighted with our politicians that we'd be crazy to kick them out. The fact that our history shows 'promises-elected-failure- kicked out', time and time again shows that government is utterly incapable of doing anything truly constructive.
They are obsessed with change, normally changing us so we fit in with their ideals. They simply cannot leave us alone. We have to change. It is always us. Never them. They engineer society then realise they need re-electing, they spin, they deceive, they lie, they steal, they make bad legislation, they interfere in things they don't understand, they make things worse. Just because someone won an election doesn't mean they actually know anything. They just had the nicest suits, the best TV adverts, the prettiest posters. That or the failure of their opponents was so complete that they would have won regardless.
People whine and complain that Barclays not handing over more tax than they are obliged to is unfair. No. What is unfair is that our money is taken from us and used to prop up a business (not Barclays) that has been poorly run. What is unfair is that our money is taken from us and spent on roller disco instructors. What is unfair is that our money is taken from us and given to people who do not wish to work. What is unfair is that our money is taken from us and given to an organisation that has not had its accounts signed off for 16 years, an organisation that costs us £323 million a day (according to the TPA's figures).
Turn your attention to the politicians who extort your money, steal it for themselves, waste it on mad schemes and hand it to unaccountable, arrogant bodies. The banks are a smokescreen, and you're swallowing it hook, line and sinker.