There’s something sickening in the arrogant rudeness of the Commons Public Accounts Committee. For some reason it has become the culture to treat those appearing before it with sneering, and constant reminders of how important the Committee is. The members, such as chairman Hodge, like to preen themselves as dragon-slayers, when all they resemble is a bunch of sadistic schoolboys torturing a lizard.
Floating on clouds of faux-righteousness, they purport to be fighting the big companies, so they will pay their ‘fair share’ of money into the bottomless pit of government expenditure. The truth they don’t want to face is that, however the Committee wails and snarls, the companies are playing by the established rules, and taking advantage of other tax jurisdictions. Underlying the Committee’s inquiries are a number of false presumptions, such as:
A company like Amazon does not contribute to the UK, if it doesn’t hand over huge corporation tax payments to the bloated state. In fact, the millions of products Amazon sells to UK customers are adding to the wealth of the nation, by satisfying customer desires.
Companies like Amazon have an unfair advantage. In fact, companies based solely in the UK have an unfair disadvantage, owing to the avaricious, plundering state. If two people walk home, and one of them is mugged, you can’t say the other person had an unfair advantage, and that justice would be served if they both had been victimised.
If only companies like Amazon paid their ‘fair share’, the rest of us would be better off. This does not follow at all. The government’s expenditure is not dictated by its tax revenue. It spends all that, and keeps going by borrowing, mainly from the Bank of England at the moment, which magics up the cash for the purpose. Tax avoidance does not harm the economy. The more money a company avoids paying in tax, is more money available to invest and grow its business, although, unfortunately much of this will be swallowed up by accountants and tax lawyers, attempting to steer a course through the treacherous seas of regulation.
If the Public Accounts Committee wants to improve the state of the nation’s finances, it’s looking in the wrong place. The state is the problem. It is eating into the nation’s capital. It’s not working for us, we’re working for it, and if the parasite grows any bigger, the host may very well die.