Why the Panama papers are so toxic

PanamaAssuming that the papers ultimately show that the men and women who have used Panama as a tax haven have done nothing illegal, the question is surely why have so many people who set the tax rules for residents of the UK, chosen to use Panama or other tax havens themselves. The much derided, hackneyed phrase “we are all in this together” implies that there is some level of equality in society, yet no one really believes that the pain felt by the super rich or even the moderately rich equates to the pain felt by those on benefits or the ‘national living wage’. However the need to remove ones wealth to a place of zero taxation, even if that is just to achieve a greater investment return than is available in the UK, or to hide the true size of ones wealth even if temporarily is surely an indication that the on-shore arrangements currently in place are not adequate. Whilst I can understand why some very rich people might consider such an approach, I cannot understand why those who set our laws and have created our current tax regime would need to succumb to such opportunities. There will be the inevitable discussions on Newsnight about how such behaviour is not illegal (perhaps) and to draw a distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, but surely being an MP (even a retired one) or a member of the House of Lords means that you get to set the tax and investment arrangements for all of us, which should mean that you are honour bound to live within the rules you have helped to set. Do as I do, not just what I say is essential in a well regulated democracy! Arguably, although Ian Cameron has done things that his son would rightly be castigated for, this is simply one wealthy person doing what other wealthy people have done and others are doing. However if people on publicly funded pensions and therefore living off deferred income from the state, or in receipt of daily expense allowances from the state because they set our laws and determine our taxes are then taking some of their personal wealth off-shore because their law making has led to a situation which means they feel the need to do so, then something is very wrong. Ian Cameron was never involved in setting laws for the UK, but the as yet unnamed ex MPs and Peers have. Their position is surely untenable?


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Economics, Justice Issues, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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