Prime Minister David Cameron has recently announced that a new plan to make further cuts to benefits for working poor will be introduced. The cuts are estimated at £3 billion a year. It seems as though Mr Cameron wants to protect wealthier pensioners and their care. There is no scheme, as of now, that protects pensioners facing fuel poverty or working families who do not have enough money to properly feed their children. It is these groups who need the benefit money most. Tax should be increased for wealthier individuals within society, those who can afford it most, rather than cutting benefits for people who actually need it.
There has been a tax avoidance row in the last few weeks. To be honest this has been going on for a long period of time. Lord Fink, the former CEO and chairman of the Man Group and former co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, is currently worth £180 million. Lord Link has donated over £3 million into the education system and charities within his lengthy career.
Ed Miliband has recently accused him of participating in tax avoidance schemes. This is not surprising as rich individuals including celebrities and politicians try to avoid paying tax in every way possible. This has been happening for a long period of time. HSBC’s Swiss have been accused of helping wealthy customers to avoid tax and hide millions by providing accounts for criminals and politicians. Lord Fink responded by saying that everyone participates in tax avoidance. However, this is not a usual message from the Tories. Normally their message is that all who can should pay their taxes and anyone trying to avoid is, more or less, a criminal.
Lord Fink has been giving the opportunity to defend himself publically and made an announcement that he will sue the Labour leader (Miliband backtracked within the past 24 hours), as he believes that the Labour leader has ‘defamed’ him. Ed Miliband also referred to dodgy donors being present in the Conservative Party. Whether this was an indirect message to Lord Fink or not that is the not the great concern in this issue. Even though Lord Fink announced that he did not participate in those activities, but then said that every individual participates in those activities, screams contradiction; UKIP’s Nigel Farage added that the statement made by the Lord Fink was not accurate, not everyone avoids paying tax and that some people do not have a choice as they are on PAYE.
For once I agree with Nigel Farage’s claim. In addition, I truly believe that there should be a larger focus on tax avoidance activities that criminals, politicians and celebrities partake in. Also the media should make the wealthy to explain their actions, as they are not sorry for doing such but rather terrified that their image in the public eye will be tarnished for a long period of time. On the other hand, the media especially the news relies on governmental statistics and information, therefore, highly controlled by the Government (indirectly).
This issue has opened up the debate that tax avoidances is often ignored or has been swept under the carpet in the past. It would be a shame if this scandal is forgotten about in less than a week. This screams inequality, if this was a working class family on benefits or an ethnic minority group with no legal rights to live in this country, they would have received a larger coverage within the news wand with long term damage t their lives. For decades specific social groups have been shamed for misusing the benefit system and taking advantage of British facilities.
Shows like Channel 4’s Benefit Street received so much hate from people with a middle-class background. It is often ignored that political figures participate those activities too, whether it is tax avoidance or claiming benefits. Regardless of your wealth or status, whether you are wrongly claiming or avoiding, both are illegal, so both should face punishment. Somehow the individuals at the bottom of society cannot get away with things that political figures, creating a highly unbalanced society.
By Heidi Boahen, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.