What Osborne really said

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I suppose I should acknowledge that George Osborne delivered an autumn statement today. I reproduce some of it below and to help interpretation add my annotations in italics, which explain what he really means:

Let me set out some of the other things that my RHF the Business Secretary and I are announcing today to support growth and a rebalancing of our economy.

At the Budget, I set out a plan to reduce the main rate of corporation tax to 24 per cent, its lowest ever rate, demonstrating our commitment to tax competitiveness.

The banks will be paying less tax — triples all round tonight

I can now tell the House that today we are publishing the most significant programme of corporate tax reforms for a generation, for consultation with the business community.

Because business now runs the government and we do exactly what they want

We propose to make the UK an even more attractive location for international business and investment, by reforming our outdated and complex rules for Controlled Foreign Companies.

Which will help all our multinational corporations hide even more tax offshore

We have seen a steady stream of companies that have left the UK in recent years.

Almost none of them paid tax anyway, but let’s not worry about that

This Government, unlike the last one, is not content to sit by and watch our competitiveness leach away and our corporate tax base undermined.

No, we positively want the profits to stream out to Bermuda

Another tax issue of crucial importance to our corporate sector is the tax treatment of income from intellectual property.

I’m not sure what that is — but I’m told it really helps shift profits to Bermuda

For a long time we have argued that we should increase the incentives to innovate and develop new products in this country.

Like new ways to tax avoid

So to encourage high-tech businesses to invest in the UK and create high-value jobs here, we can confirm that we will introduce from April 2013 a lower 10 per cent corporate tax rate on profits from newly commercialised patents.

Now you can patent Jersey!

We have been consulting with the business community.

They’ve been telling us what to do

And I can tell the House that as a result of this measure, GlaxoSmithKline will today announce a new £500m investment programme in the UK, to:

  • Manufacture a newly developed respiratory device at Ware in Hertfordshire;
  • Launch a new £50m Venture Capital Fund to invest in healthcare research;
  • Construct a new facility at the University of Nottingham to develop ‘green chemistry’ technology;
  • And build Glaxo’s next biopharmaceutical plant in this country — with sites in Northern England and Scotland being considered.

In total they estimate that 1,000 new jobs will be created in the UK over the lifetime of these projects.

Let’s ignore the fact they made one of the biggest ever settlements in tax history not long ago — now we’ve made sure it’s easier for them!

Mr Speaker, today we also launch a cross-government Growth Review.

This will be a determined, forensic examination of how every part of Government can do more to remove barriers to growth and support new growth opportunities.

We’re going to make it easier to evade and avoid tax by removing all the controls that prevent it

Too often the natural inclination of Government is in the opposite direction, creating new regulations, putting up new barriers, making life more difficult for entrepreneurs and innovators.

Abolish HMRC!

We are starting to turn the super-tanker around.

Tax has been abolished!

Together with the Business Department, the Treasury will lead an intensive programme of work, involving all parts of Government and using evidence provided by the business community, reporting by next year’s Budget.

That should shut Vince up

We will identify cross-cutting reform priorities that can benefit the whole economy. Specific priority will be given to:

  • Improvements to the planning system

We’ll abolish the green belt

  • and employment law;

Bring back slavery!

  • More support for exporters and inward investors;

Tax haven round tripping is our future

  • And reforms to the competition regime;

Monopolies will be sold to all who can afford them!

At the same time we will begin a new sector-by-sector focus on removing barriers to growth and opening up new opportunities.

It’s not just tax we’re abolishing — NIC too!

Some of the resulting changes will be substantive on their own, others will in very specific ways help particular industries.


Some may be controversial if they confront vested interests.

Anyone who works for a living

But brick by brick we will remove the barriers that are holding Britain back.

We want a bigger bust than Ireland!

Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the international assistance package for Ireland.

Oh God, if I have to…