The super-rich are preparing to immediately leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister, fearing they will lose billions of pounds if the Labour leader does “go after” the wealthy elite with new taxes, possible capital controls and a clampdown on private schools.
Lawyers and accountants for the UK’s richest families said they had been deluged with calls from millionaire and billionaire clients asking for help and advice on moving countries, shifting their fortunes offshore and making early gifts to their children to avoid the Labour leader’s threat to tax all inheritances above £125,000.
The advisers said a Corbyn-led government was viewed as a far greater threat to the wealth and quality of life of the richest 1% than a hard Brexit.
When multinational businesses can cut their tax bills despite soaring profits, that’s a sign of an ill-designed and out of date tax code. The Chancellor is right to take corrective measures.
However, there are two parts of the Amazon tax story which are concerning.
The first is Hammond’s stated willingness to press ahead with a levy on web giants even before he can secure international agreement – it would be bad for the buying public and the Government both if precipitate action were to make the UK an unattractive place to invest.
The second is that one of the arguments being adduced in favour of the new tax is to “create a level playing field” with ailing bricks-and-mortar retailers.
I notice that you were touting yourself as a champion of tax transparency (again) at a student EU rally in Exeter yesterday. Listening to you, you sounded like the messianic chief of the global war on tax evasion, although you did manage to prevent the press from asking you a single question.
The things you force your mouth to do I am surprised it doesn’t go on strike.
I also note that you hid with your pro-EU battle bus in a gated compound preventing the press from any access during a photo op, so not a day for any awkward tax questions from them then.
The treasury sent a note regarding an EU commission on countermeasures against tax havens to MEPs which said, “the commission might coordinate member state blacklists and a range of…
Singer revealed he bases some business ventures in the Netherlands
Tax rates in the European country far lower than in his native Ireland
Bono said ‘smart people’ were ‘just be sensible’ about ‘the way we’re taxed’
Sunday Times Rich List ranked U2 as the country’s third richest musicians
He has carefully crafted an image of himself as a moral crusader, fighting for the world’s poor against those who don’t ‘return
wealth to the people’.
But now even Bono has admitted he does his best to reduce his tax bill – and suggested that those who don’t are ‘stupid in business’.
The U2 frontman, 55, has revealed he bases some business ventures in the Netherlands, where tax rates are far lower than in his native Ireland.
This was defended by the group’s guitarist The Edge – real name David Evans, 53 – who said the group often perform abroad so have no need to base their finances in the country.
However, campaigners last night branded Bono ‘hypocritical in light of his anti-poverty posturing’ and accused him of using his campaigning for his own benefit.
Asked about his tax affairs, father-of-four Bono, real name Paul Hewson, said: ‘The smart people that we have working for us are trying to just be sensible about the way we’re taxed. And we pay a fortune in tax, just so people know. We pay a fortune in tax and we’re happy to pay a fortune in tax – people should.
‘Because you’re good at philanthropy, I think, and because I’m an activist, people think you should be stupid in business. I don’t run with that.’ Speaking alongside his bandmate, The Edge told Sky News: ‘So much of our business is outside of Ireland, it’s ridiculous to make a big deal about the fact we operate outside of Ireland. Everything we do is outside of Ireland.’
But Leonie Nimmo, director of campaign Fair Tax Mark, said: ‘Bono’s attitude is particularly hypocritical in light of his anti-poverty posturing. Poor countries lose far more money from tax avoidance than they get in aid every year.
‘If huge amounts of money were not funnelled out of the global South through tax avoidance there wouldn’t be such a need for big fundraising events. But without Live Aid, where would Bono be now?’ The latest Sunday Times Rich List ranked U2 as the country’s third richest musicians, with a collective fortune of £431million. This is up £3million from the previous year’s list, showing the group’s continued earning power.
Bono has previously criticised rich companies in Africa which he said ‘aren’t returning the wealth to the people in any kind of fair measure.’
He added: ‘You can’t have it both ways. You can’t give alms to the poor on one hand and have your hands on their throat on the other.’
It was first reported that U2 had moved some of their business ventures out of their previous Dublin base in 2006.
At the time, Joan Burton, Irish Labour’s then finance spokesman, said: ‘Having listened to Bono on the necessity for the Irish government to give more money to Ireland Aid, of which I approve, I am surprised that U2 are not prepared to contribute to the Exchequer on a fair basis along with the bulk of Irish taxpayers.’
U2 are not the first celebrities to come under scrutiny for their tax affairs. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has been criticised for having an offshore tax base, while both Jimmy Carr and Gary Barlow have drawn public anger over their involvement in tax avoidance schemes.
Bono was speaking in Vancouver, Canada yesterday ahead of the band’s first tour in four years.
U2’s last tour, which ended in 2011, saw them play to three million fans and made an estimated £445million.
The latest run of shows sees Bono take to the stage again after his serious bicycle accident in New York last year. He was badly injured, with a broken arm, shoulder and finger and fractured bones in his face.