The Ripped Off Britain blog asked me what my New year wish was. This is what I wrote:
Can I shock the world and say what I’d really like someone to do in the New Year has something to do with tax?
I believe in tax. I think it’s the price we pay for living in a decent, democratic, wealth generating and wealth sharing democracy. I don’t think we’d have any of those things without a strong tax system. So I don’t like tax cheats.
They abuse the system, undermine democracy, increase inequality and leave decent people to pick up the bill – except that their capacity to do so is now at its limit.
So what would I like someone to do? I’d like a General Anti-Tax Avoidance Principle to be included in UK law. Not the nonsensical apology of a general anti-abuse rule that the government is proposing but something like the Bill Michael Meacher put to the House of Commons in September this year.
Now, I am biased: I wrote this Bill. But it would stop tax avoidance in its tracks, make using tax havens hard, let H M Revenue & Customs tackle companies like Google and rebalance the tax equation in favour of the honest and the poor.
It could be done. That’s why I have picked this option of the many available to me. The Bill is still waiting for its second reading in the Commons. The option of passing it is available.
It’s my New Year’s wish that it reaches the statute book.