Social and Economic Policy

How states compete to offer low taxes

Law professor Sol Picciotto has proposed a new approach to stop tax avoidance by transnational corporations. He spoke to Ed Maltby from Solidarity.

Taxing transnational corporations already involves international agreement, based on tax treaties. The issue is, what kind of agreement? Until now, there has only been loose coordination. That's because governments like to hang onto what they call "sovereignty".

Law professor Sol Picciotto has proposed a new approach to stop tax avoidance by transnational corporations.

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Google agrees token tax deal

Chancellor George Osborne claims the UK’s £130 million tax deal with Google “is a major success [for UK] tax policy.”

Google agreed to pay £117 million for ten years’ worth of non-payment of taxes, plus £13 million in interest. But Google’s sales figures for 2015 alone were an £4.6 billion! Google's effective tax rate is just 3%! UK corporation tax is currently 20% (already reduced from 28% by the Tories in 2010), the lowest in the group of G8 countries. That Italy is pursuing Google for €227 million in back taxes from Google makes the UK deal even more risible.

Google agreed to pay £117 million for ten years’ worth of non-payment of taxes, plus £13 million in interest. But Google’s sales figures for 2015 alone were an £4.6 billion! Google's effective tax rate is just 3%! UK corporation tax is currently 20% (already reduced from 28% by the Tories in 2010), the lowest in the group of G8 countries.

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Capitalism vs human life

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Capitalism has created life-enhancing possibilities. It has even realised some of them. My older daughter has epilepsy. In pre-capitalist times, if she’d had medication at all, it would have had no, or harmful, effects, and the seizures would probably have become more severe until they disabled and killed her. Today, she has been able to end the seizures with just a few pills, without side-effects.

Capitalism is creating grand possibilities, but simultaneously stifling, blighting, and threatening human life.

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Around the world: 

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Expropriate the banks, not go for AES!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Dave Osland (Solidarity 390) is right that Jeremy Corbyn’s and John McDonnell’s opposition to austerity is to be welcomed, and opens many more exit doors from the Thatcher-Blair-Brown-Cameron neo-liberal consensus than anything previously-established powers of the Labour Party had come up with for decades. He is also right that Corbynomics is far from “Leninism”, “all power to the Soviets”, or even “socialism in the strict sense of the term, namely the dominance of social ownership of the means of production”.

The chief policies of Corbynomics are renationalising rail (bit by bit), efficient tax collection, reducing government subsidies to business, and “people’s QE”, putting public money into public housing and infrastructure projects.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Flogging off the last of the family silver

Author: 

Len Glover

Most of us mere mortals only have to deal with the Land Registry on the rare occasion we are buying or selling a house (and given current house prices we can dream on). But supposing you have a house and for whatever reason you needed to find who owns the land your house stands on, or the open land, wasteland or coppice at the back of your house? Easy (or rather, c’est facile). You go to the local Mayor’s office and he or she will get out a huge book of maps which show all the land ownership (its fancy name is a cadastre) in your local area.

The government, having now sold off just about everything that wasn’t hot or nailed down, is turning its attention to institutions which even the most ardent Thatcherite had never dreamed of privatising.

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Trade Unions: 

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Equality makes us live longer

Author: 

Les Hearn

Someone (possibly Stalin) once said “When one man dies, it’s a tragedy. When a million die, it’s a statistic.” But, to Professor Sir Michael Marmot, a million deaths is not just a statistic.

A million people have died prematurely in just the last five years in Britain, according to the renowned epidemiologist Michael Marmot, author of The Health Gap, who has spent a lifetime trying to counteract such cynicism. For him, the deaths of millions worldwide from same cause, inequality, are millions of tragedies which could and should be prevented.

A review of The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World (Bloomsbury, 2015).

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Culture and Reviews: 

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Tory retreat on tax credits?

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Matthew Thompson

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will set out the Government's tax and spending plans when he delivers the annual Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 25 November.

Tory Chancellor George Osborne is expected to seek to minimise the impact of the £4.4 billion in cuts to tax credits paid to low-paid workers announced in the Budget when he delivers his Autumn Statement next week.

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Economic policy and creating space

Author: 

Colin Foster

Over recent months Jeremy Corbyn, now Labour Party leader, and John McDonnell, now Shadow Chancellor, have made four major statements on economic policy.

Corbyn issued a document, The Economy in 2020, on 22 July, as part of his Labour leader campaign. McDonnell spoke at Labour Party conference on 29 September, and wrote articles for the Guardian website on 12 August and 12 May. They are a step forward from what we had from Ed Miliband, let alone what we had from Gordon Brown or Tony Blair.

Economic policy is not just about techniques for promoting growth. It is about what sort of growth, for whom, controlled by whom, at the expense of whom. Labour activists should create space for those questions to be discussed.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Land Value Tax and gentrification

Author: 

John Cunningham

I agree with the main points made by all contributors in the discussion on gentrification (Solidarity 378, 379, 381, and 382). I particularly endorse the condemnation of the vandalism inflicted on the “Cereal Killer” cafe.

A Land Value Tax would go some way to alleviating some of the worst aspects of gentrification.

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The sham of Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse”

Author: 

John Cunningham

It is alarming and deeply disturbing to see that some people, many of whom should know better, have swallowed George “high-vis” Osborne’s fantasy-speak about building a “Northern Powerhouse”.

This is more amazing when you consider that ever since the Industrial Revolution there has always been a “Northern Powerhouse”, and it was the Conservative Party and Thatcher that destroyed it.

It is alarming and deeply disturbing to see that some people, many of whom should know better, have swallowed George “high-vis” Osborne’s fantasy-speak about building a “Northern Powerhouse”.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

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