Bankers must be breathing a quiet sigh of relief. They are no longer the main target for the ire of politicians. The new baddies on the block are the Googles, Amazons and Starbucks, the big global tax-avoiding corporations.
The three main party leaders are trying to outdo the others in displaying their moral outrage. And David Cameron returned from Brussels yesterday having urged his fellow European leaders to place aggressive tax avoidance at the top of the agenda.
But all this huffing and puffing about corporate irresponsibility and tax havens is at best hypocrisy and at worst could lead to disastrous mistakes. It is hypocrisy because politicians created the rules that allow multinationals to choose which tax jurisdiction they do business from. And potentially disastrous because making life harder for tax havens won’t yield a vast slug of new cash from organised crime syndicates or affluent tax evaders. It will hinder investment, hit profits and share prices. This will be bad for pretty much anyone who has an interest in the performance of their pension fund.
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