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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 May 2010

Tory government says rich must pay less

CAMERON'S GOVERNMENT wants to cut public services drastically and make most people pay more through rising taxes (direct and indirect) to slash the deficit.

But they plan exemptions. Chancellor (and multi-millionaire) George Osborne wants next month's budget to help the rich with a 'five-year plan' of cutting corporation tax on the profits of limited companies.

The current corporation tax rate is 28p in the pound. Osborne thinks that his proposed corporation tax cut from 28% to an eventual 20% will encourage a private-sector led economic recovery.

But the last few corporation tax cuts have led to economic misery for most as the profit system brought deep recession.

Corporation taxpayers have done very nicely. From paying 52% under Thatcher in 1982, cuts by Tory and Labour governments have almost halved the costs for company owners.

That's if they pay it - many big business people can pay but won't pay.

A survey for civil service and tax workers' union PCS suggests that 'legal', though dubious, tax avoidance costs the tax authorities 25 billion a year.

Unpaid tax bills cost another 28 billion while illegal tax evasion - illegal non-declaration of income or fraudulent claims for tax relief - could lose 70 billion annually! The total loss is at least 15% of all that should be paid.

Big business, particularly firms involved in international speculation (who precipitated the current financial crisis) gain most from these scams.

Small businesses unable to afford an army of accountants may lose out. Workers will certainly pay more tax, with indirect taxes likely to increase, but capitalists will be immune from paying for their system's failures.

Britain's 100 richest individuals have a combined personal wealth of over 250 billion. Just over a third of this, 90 billion, could end Britain's so-called 'structural deficit'. The best way to reduce the public debt is through socialist measures such as bringing the top companies into democratic public ownership.

Then, instead of companies creaming off fat profits and paying little tax, the surpluses generated by these companies can be used entirely for developing the public sector, including workers' jobs and services.

Roger Shrives

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 26 May 2010:

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Con-Dem cuts - 'only the beginning'


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