Vince Cable has written to me about the budget

Dear Anthony [not been called that in a while],

Today’s Budget saw the UK slip from the top of the growth league to deep into the relegation zone. Each person in Britain is set to be £687 worse off per year compared to forecasts before the election.

And as living standards are squeezed, the Government is setting aside £3.7bn to cover the cost of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The Chancellor found more money in the Budget to plan for Brexit than he did for our struggling NHS, schools and police.

And the Labour Party are little better and their support for Brexit makes their fantasy economics all the more unrealistic.

A Liberal Democrat budget would have looked very different today. Founded on a vision of a high-tech, high-skilled economy that is green, open and entrepreneurial.

We would invest £6bn per year in our NHS & Social Care system, paid for by a penny on income tax. And Lib Dems would kick-start the economy back to growth with productive investment of £100bn over ten years to build more homes and infrastructure for the next generation.

Today’s Budget reinforces our belief that Britain is better off in Europe. We are fighting to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union, and to give the people a vote on the final Brexit deal.

As more facts emerge, the public must be given a chance to Exit from Brexit.

With warmest regards,

Vince

Vince Cable

Leader of the Liberal Democrats

PS: We’ve also put together 7 of the biggest failures in this budget in one handy article. You can read that here: www.libdems.org.uk/7-budget-failures. You can also find out more about Liberal Democrat reaction to the budget here: www.libdems.org.uk/news

Sefton Council hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons!

From The Times edition of 8th November

Labour-run councils in £12m tax avoidance

Labour councils are using offshore companies to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax, The Times can reveal.

Jeremy Corbyn was accused of hypocrisy yesterday after an investigation found that two authorities controlled by his party avoided paying more than £12 million in stamp duty on the purchase of commercial properties.

On Monday Mr Corbyn hinted that the Queen should apologise if the offshore investment of £10 million of her personal wealth — as revealed in the leaked Paradise Papers — was designed to avoid tax. Yet in May Sefton council in Merseyside bought the New Strand shopping centre in Bootle via a Luxembourg-registered company for £32.5 million, saving £1.6 million in stamp duty. The council also bought insurance against the possibility that the taxman might chase it for payment.

In July Warrington council agreed to pay more than £200 million for Birchwood Park, a business centre in Cheshire, via an offshore company, saving almost £10.5 million in stamp duty. By agreeing to the purchases, the councils may also have helped the sellers to avoid capital gains tax.

In June John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said that corporations were “morally obscene” for ducking out of obligations that “the rest of us fulfil”. Such action “corrodes the functioning of democracy”, he added.

An email seen by The Times from the Labour leader of Sefton council confirmed that the structure of its purchase of the Bootle shopping centre helped to avoid tax. It said: “It is true that one of the important considerations for purchasing the company rather than the asset is that the council would not have to pay stamp duty land tax. This is a widely accepted tax-efficient way of completing the purchase.”

In 2013 George Osborne introduced a levy to stop residential property being held in offshore companies, describing the practice as an abuse of the tax system. It was not extended to commercial property, however, leaving owners of business parks and shopping centres free to hold these assets in companies registered in low-tax jurisdictions, a structure that facilitates the avoidance of corporation and capital gains tax and stamp duty.

Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said yesterday: “The Labour leadership has spoken loudly about stamping out tax avoidance yet Labour-run local authorities have avoided stamp duty through complicated tax structures when speculating in commercial property. The . . . stance appears somewhat hypocritical until they have their own house in order.”

Sefton council, which borrowed money from the Treasury to fund the purchase, declined last night to reveal how much it had paid its tax advisers on the transaction. One of the advisers is understood to be PWC, the accountancy firm that Labour has previously accused of “complicity in tax avoidance”.

There is no suggestion that the structure is illegal and yesterday the council insisted that it had not intended to avoid stamp duty. A spokesman said that the vendor was willing to sell only the holding company that owned the shopping centre rather than the shopping centre itself, giving it no choice but to avoid the tax. He added that it had unwound the offshore structure.

John Pugh, the former Lib Dem MP for Southport who is now a councillor at Sefton, said: “No one has to speculatively buy a shopping centre or take advantage of a tax loophole in doing so. For a Labour council to do so in considerable secrecy looks utterly hypocritical.”

In a letter to Warrington council Helen Jones, Labour MP for Warrington North, said that using an offshore structure was “morally questionable [and] contrary to Labour policy”. She wrote that Labour councillors believe the cash is “better in the borough’s pocket than the government’s” but no one should decide not to pay tax because they disliked the party in power.

Sefton council said: “We paid all the tax due and will continue to do so. The council bought the company that owned the asset as this was the corporate structure that was marketed for sale. We acquired the shopping centre primarily to deliver a new revenue stream to help pay for vital services that have been reduced as a result of government cuts. The purchase also supports regeneration in Bootle.”

Warrington council, which still holds Birchwood Park in an offshore company, said: “The only tax not being paid . . . is a one-off payment of stamp duty land tax. This position was discussed in detail and followed extensive due diligence and external advice to the council. To complete the acquisition in a timely manner the council agreed to leave the business offshore as trying to complete the deal and bring it onshore would have delayed the purchase.”

Labour said: “We’re committed to changing the current tax environment and to tackling tax avoidance.”

Stop Brexit – Vince Cable’s speech from the Manchester March held during the Tory Party Conference

Vince Cable


www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hrvEZVe__g

Please access the video on youtube via the link above

Vince Cable speaking to the marchers about why Brexit is such a bad idea and why we need to stand up to oppose it. Nice that he was able to hold out a hand to those in the Labour and Tory Parties who also realise how bad Brexit is going to be for the UK but are presently stuck with their party whipping them to back what they know to be dangerous falsehoods.

Spain – Franco returns as Police try to deny use of the ballot box

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41463719

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

For anyone who has a respect for democracy the events in Catalunya are deeply worrying, it’s as though Spain has retreated back to the Franco era in its clumsy attempts to stop Catalans expressing their wishes via the ballot box.

Yes I’m sure Spain does not want Catalunya to leave and become independent but to use the Police to stop a ballot taking place is no way to win over the separatists, indeed the actions of the Spanish state can only have hardened attitudes and the demands for independence.

As Vince Cable says ‘Police in a democracy should never drag people violently out of polling stations, whatever the arguments for or against holding a referendum’

Bankers – Can the Treasury Select Committee hold them to account when Government simply lets them off?

www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/03/bankers-financial-crisis-andrew-tyrie

Can we have any confidence in Government at all since they and the Financial Conduct Authority decided to simply let bankers, who utterly destroyed our economy, off the hook? Does government not understand how much we distrust bankers and that we want them brought to book for the misery they caused via their casino banking antics?

Will Andrew Tyrie MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, rise to the challenge set by the Guardian newspaper? We can only hope that he will but the pressures on him to keep a low profile on this massive issue will be huge.

And this is what Vince Cable thinks, see link below:-

news.sky.com/story/1615945/osborne-lacks-motivation-on-bank-reform

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Vince Cable – The man who predicted the last economic crash has concerns again!

www.independent.co.uk/voices/britains-economic-recovery-is-precarious-and-an-economic-storm-could-be-coming-a6734046.html

vcphoto

Whatever your political views Vince Cable is a sound and reliable commentator particularly on economic matters. Seems he has worries again about the potentially unsustainable recovery we have been going thorough since the last financial crash.