Eclectic Blue

One rule for one

Comments Off on One rule for one 06 November 2017

One rule for one

By comparison with motor racing bore Lewis Hamilton, I don’t have a pot to piss in. Thanks to the Paradise papers, we now know that Hamilton managed to obtain a VAT refund of £3.3 million when he imported a private jet worth £16 million. You can look up yourself to see how he did it. Hamilton is worth £131 million, which is approximately £131 million more than I am worth. He also lives in Monaco, having moved there from Switzerland. Put simply, he’s a serial tax avoider.

I am a fool. I wrote a book last year. It cost me well over £1000 to complete, I have sold a few copies and, more fool me, declared it to HMRC. It’s going to cost me money because HMRC is like a dog with a bone when it comes to the little man or woman. I’m an easy target. Nonetheless, I am content that the few quid they will be taking from me will contribute to something useful, maybe a part of a bandage in a hospital or a box of pencils in my local school.

Lewis Hamilton and all the other tax avoiders, of whom there are many, mean that those of us who don’t earn much pay the most in relation to what we earn. Not for us clever accountants and lawyers who know every trick in the book. I don’t know how they can live with themselves, but in Hamilton he doesn’t need to think about that.

Whilst a million people used food banks in Britain last year, the super rich do whatever they like. The gap between Joe Public and the elite grows by the minute. Theresa May, I will remind you yet again, said her main aim of being in office was to fight for the JAMs, the just about managing. Today’s leaks suggest she isn’t doing too well.

Do I begrudge people making a success of their lives? No. I love to see people succeed in their lives and accumulate wealth along with personal happiness which means more than anything. I like it when people get promoted at work when they work hard, I like it when businesses succeed when they provide good products and treat their workers well. I do begrudge it when some people then decide to avoid tax and I loathe those who evade it.

Tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society and when you have a lot of money we expect you to pay a little more. Because I have a modest pension, I pay full tax on everything I earn. When I was with a well-known supermarket with four letters, I took home little more than a fiver an hour (7p over, actually). The most anyone could earn was about £6.50 an hour if their earnings were so low they didn’t pay tax at all. This is not unusual. Many employers are like this. They don’t need to be.

If you, like Lewis Hamilton, are worth £131 million, why on earth would you go to the trouble of avoiding a mere £3.3 million in VAT? The only reason I can come up with is that he’s a greedy bastard. He came from a working class background, but just like Take That main man Gary Barlow he ignored the advice Barlow once gave his own band: never forget where you’ve come here from. Get to the top and kick the ladder away from everyone else.

There is one rule for the rich and another for everyone else. The vast majority occupy a place in an extended middle where some do very nicely and others get by. At the bottom, a million miles away from Lewis Hamilton’s private jet and Monaco lifestyle, are those who are not managing at all and as austerity bites still deeper this number will grow.

We still live in a free country but it’s a lot more free for some than it is for others.

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