Chancellor George Osborne crowned tax dodger king

By agency reporter
4 Feb 2011

Anti-poverty campaigners have handed George Osborne a large jammy dodger biscuit after an opinion poll named the chancellor Britain's worst tax shirker.

War on Want presented the biscuit at Tory party headquarters in London, along with representatives from the Public and Commercial Services trade union, including leader Mark Serwotka, the website False Economy and the group UK Uncut.

These organisations, as well as the TUC, conducted a public opinion poll on the top ten tax shirkers, which Osborne won with 2215 votes, more than double his nearest rival, Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green, who attracted 1057 votes.

Barclays came third with 690 votes, Vodafone fourth (564), HM Revenue & Customs fifth (501), Boots sixth (307), KPMG seventh (306), Google eight (264), SAB Miller ninth (228) and HMV (141) tenth.

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "This poll shows that people have had enough of the chancellor's failure to act on tax dodging. While we face savage cuts in public services and jobs, millionaires and large corporations are allowed to get away with dodging tax. Unless George Osborne wants to be remembered as the biggest tax shirker of them all, he must close down tax havens and launch a blitz on tax dodges."

Serwotka, whose union is fighting cuts in tax jobs and offices, said: "Millionaire George Osborne is the worthy winner of a contest to highlight the unfairness of a system which allows the very wealthy to get away with depriving our public finances of billions of pounds while the rest of us are told there is no alternative but to slash public services."

False Economy's campaign director Clifford Singer said: "It's brilliant to see such a range of groups now working together to target tax avoidance, from the nimble direct action protestors of UK Uncut to established, membership organisations like PCS and War on Want. As the cuts bite, more of us are asking why the very wealthiest are allowed to live their lives to a different set of rules to everyone else - and the finger is pointing at George Osborne."

Osborne was nominated for his failure to scrap the domicile rule, dubbed a "tax avoiders" charter by the Tax Justice Network.

Ten individuals and organisations were nominated for their part in contributing to the £120 billion which Britain loses each year through tax evasion, avoidance or uncollected revenue.

The poll was hosted on the False Economy website, set up to track and coordinate anti-cuts activity across the UK and provide resources about the alternatives to spending cuts.

[Ekk/4]

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