Following the Jimmy Carr hoo ha last week treasury minister Danny Alexander took to our screens to lay into tax avoiders labelling them as “morally repugnant”. Lest there is any confusion this is the same Danny Alexander who cheated the Treasury out of a very significant wedge by “flipping” his house during the expenses scandal. The minister registered a London property as his second home in 2005 but declared it his main residence to the taxman. He then claimed over £37,000 of taxpayers’ money doing up property over the following two years. In 2007 he flogged it for £300,000, using a tax loophole to avoid paying the then 40% capital gains tax.
What’s baffling, beyond the obvious hypocrisy, is the contempt for peoples intelligence. Mate, you’re in the public eye. Your tax loop hole jiggery pokery is there spread all over The Google for people to see, like here. I’m almost in admiration of the sheer front involved in pointing to someone’s tax foibles whilst having your own T Rex sized tax skeleton so plainly on view.
Can I suggest that all politicians now stop talking about tax dodging unless you are prepared to seize the current tax regime and do something radical with it, like introduce a fair and transparent flat tax instead of using taxation to bribe various sections of the electorate when it suits you. There are very few people out there who can open up their accounting affairs and not find some sort of fiddle, a meal here, a taxi receipt there, or a flipped central London flat with home improvements funded by Joe Public, so probably best leave it alone or grow some balls and make the changes that clearly need to be made. If you show courage the electorate will reward you, why don’t our pygmy political elite get this?