They just don’t get it

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I’m going to take a liberty a re-post a big part of someone else’s blog – partly because I know the author happily (and with my consent) does so with mine:

Yesterday morning I attended the Liberal Democrat treasury team meeting in my capacity as a parliamentary researcher. Paying a visit were some representatives from the banking sector, who were there to give high-profile members of the Liberal Democrats - the party currently at the forefront of attempts to close down tax havens, or secrecy jurisdictions as they are better termed - a bank’s eye view.

In the course of discussions, the issue of Tesco avoiding £millions in stamp duty arose. At this point, one of the bank representatives launched into a lecture which went roughly like this:

“Ever since stamp duty has existed, companies and individuals have tried to avoid paying it. After all, if registering in one place means you incur 4.5% stamp duty, and registering in another place means you incur 0.5% stamp duty, well companies will register in the latter. It’s just the way it works.”

I’m pleased to say that a high-profile member of the Lib Dem treasury team interrupted at this point, quite angrily, and replied:

“Don’t you get it? 99.9% of people on this planet can see that a company the size of Tesco using elaborate means to avoid paying taxes in the UK is just wrong. It’s wrong. Can you not see that?”

The bankers stared back, confused. No, they just couldn’t see it.

I know the author – who appears to be anonymous on the blog.

I believe the story is true.

You can guess the bank‚Ķit’s not hard.

You can probably guess the respondent too….

But the fact is that as yet the bakers just don’t get it.

They will, I promise you.