Sunday, 16 June 2013

Water and tax

What a consumer rip-off water privatisation has turned out to be, as Christopher Booker relates -

"Ofwat [said] that the industry’s 'excessive profits' and tax-avoidance schemes, with water charges rising by up to 11 per cent a year, were 'morally questionable in a vital public service'. Then came the annual report of Thames, our largest water company, showing that, on profits of £550 million, it had paid no corporation tax at all, while giving its chief executive more than £1 million. Thames insists that its tax is only deferred, not avoided, because it invested £1billion on capital projects, although its critics point out that this did not include mending leaks, for which it has a notoriously poor record. This is far from untypical of an industry now averaging profits of 30 per cent a year, and much of which in recent years has been bought up by an array of mysterious private owners registered in overseas tax havens."

Tax havens? But I thought our tax-fiddling Chancellor said he would sort out these dens of iniquity -

"The prime minister has hailed an agreement by the UK's Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies to sign up to a tax evasion clampdown....but [the] proposed register of companies, revealing the true owners, may not work....it does not include trusts and the UK business community may object. Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man were all represented at a meeting at No 10......the register.....may never be made accessible to the public as many had hoped. The government has said initially it would be available only to authorities such as HM Revenue and Customs, but a consultation would be held on making it public."

Of course, all the government-controlled Privy Council has to do is to impose anti-tax fiddling laws on these colonies and that would be the end of the matter.  But that's about as likely as HM Revenue and Customs (government-controlled, again) ceasing to let corporate giants off paying tax in return for the usual favours

1 comment:

Keep it clean.....