Wednesday, October 07, 2009

George Osborne - the world is watching Britain

For non-British readers of this blog, George Osborne is the Conservative Party shadow chancellor. Speaking at the Party annual conference in Manchester yesterday he said:

We will also target tax evasion and off-shore tax havens.
Remember we were the first to ask the non doms to make their fair contribution.
Everyone must pay their share.


Now this is the first utterance from the Shadow cabinet on the issue of targeting tax havens. They were indeed the first political party to propose in 2007 that non-doms should pay tax (and TJN is proud that we led the way on this issue), but thus far the tax haven issue has been kept off the agenda.

Earlier in his speech Mr Osborne also noted:

And let me tell you, the world is watching Britain at the moment.
It is casting doubt on our country’s creditworthiness.
It is questioning our resolve to deal with our debts.


The world is indeed watching Britain at the moment, but not necessarily for the reasons given in Manchester yesterday. Those of us who travel regularly outside Europe and North America know that the weak regulation of banks (and their shadows), hedge funds, and the appalling performance of credit rating agencies, audit firms, financial journalists, and indeed Uncle Tom Cobley and all his relatives who pack out the City of London, are widely held in deepest suspicion. And for good reason: their failure has been spectacular, and the British government has spectacularly failed to protect the rest of the world from the City's predatory activities.

Another reason the world is watching is because the immensity of Britain's culpability for the toxic activities of secrecy jurisdictions is finally on the global radar screen. This issue has lain dormant for decades, but as concerns about illicit financial flows and financial market corruption come to the fore, the British Connection is coming under greater scrutiny. This issue won't be going away after the elections in May 2010.

We will be keeping a very close eye on how Mr Osborne develops his thinking on these issues, not least since the Tories carry various bits of unsorted baggage.

1 Comments:

Blogger Henry said...

"We will be keeping a very close eye on how Mr Osborne develops his thinking on these issues, not least since the Tories carry various bits of unsorted baggage."

They will just rearrange a few of the deckchairs. But who would do anything else? Like mend the hole beneath the waterline.

1:03 am  

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