PANAMA is a long way away. But the effects of tax havens are closer than you think.
Conservative party leader David Cameron has had an embarrassing week when revelations about the investment company set up by his late father have come to light. First it was a private matter, then I have no offshore funds, then I do not benefit from any offshore fund, and then there are no offshore funds I will benefit from in the future and no, my father didn’t just set up the fund in Panama because it was a tax haven. Pull the other one! And then, oops, I forgot to mention that I did buy some shares, and sold them in 2010 when I realised that as Prime Minister it could be embarrassing if someone found out, and no I didn’t need to pay Capital Gains Tax on the profit.
The NHS and our schools, colleges and universities are crying out for investment. The waiting times in A&E are getting longer, cancer referral waiting time targets are being missed, and our children are not getting as good an education as they should.
And why is this? Well, partly because some rich people are not content with their lot, and want to deliberately avoid paying tax, and want to deprive those of us who do pay their taxes of the services we, and they, all need.
Once again Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is more interested in a photo opportunity than tackling the more important issues. Can she please come out openly and say that what David Cameron did was wrong and that everyone, rich and poor, should pay their proper taxes?
Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
It seems that some critics of “entirely legal tax avoidance arrangements” are making unjustified moral judgments. (The Scotsman, 8 April).
Surely in free market global finance capitalism tax avoidance is an essential part of the system? Economically sensitive people assiduously avoid paying taxes, imposed by central and local government, whenever legally possible.
These kinds of tax avoidance usually come with the government’s seal of approval. What is saved can be tucked away in tax avoidance schemes like ISA and Premium Bonds.
And wasn’t it the nationalists’ independence tax policy to cut corporation tax 3 per cent below the UK’s? Arguably, this is a “tax avoidance” scheme encouraging global corporations to relocate to an independent Scotland.
Old Chapel Walk, Inverurie
I cannot be the only one to feel dismay at the total ignorance exhibited by those critics of what the investment actually comprised and how it is of a type frequently used by the large insurance companies and respected fund managers, with whom the funds of ordinary investors and pension contributors are invested.
What is particularly worrying is the lack of financial and technical knowledge exhibited by Stewart Hosie, who is apparently the SNP’s Westminster finance spokesman and Mr Tom Watson,the patron saint of random scattergun accusations.
The Pavlovian faux outrage exhibited by these gentlemen and others is staggering.
Essex Road, Edinburgh