Tuesday 18 September 2012

Michael Meacher, Tax Avoidance Bill

Mr Meacher seems to be fighting an uphill battle to get his General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill the time of day in Parliament.  He was restricted to just 11 minutes to introduce the bill because of Tories deliberately delaying previous business.  It's par for the course for the Tories, but some Lib Dems fare little better -- in particular my local MP, Stephen Williams.  While numerous Labourites have backed the bill it doesn't seem to have gotten much traction with the front benches.

Tax avoiders have many friends in very high places.  Still, I think it's very interesting how this issue has gained so much ground in just a few years.  It wasn't even remotely on the agenda in 2008 but now even the right-wing papers routinely criticise the practice.

It's also an interesting fissure between the neoliberalism present in all three parties (to a greater or lesser extent) that wishes to hack back the state and see tax avoidance as justified because it does just that and the state-based nationalism of the general public who find tax avoidance abhorrent.  It's given politicians some serious headaches on both sides of the Atlantic, having to reassure their backers that they won't expect them to play by the same rules as everyone else while duping the public into believing that the contrary is true.