Definition of HYPOCRISY: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
Today brings the revelation that MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have voiced concerns about so-called “off payroll” tax arrangements having discovered that 2,400 civil servants are paid not through normal payroll with PAYE tax deductions but via private companies which they own and which enables them to avoid National Insurance payments and to be taxed at the lower rates of Corporation Tax applicable to small companies rather than higher Income Tax rates.
You might have thought the BBC would struggle with reporting this as it was also revealed that there are 25,000 people at the BBC who have such “off payroll” contracts. Strangely the word “hypocrisy” did not appear in the BBC report.
Neither did it appear in a recent Guardian article about the Conservative Party Treasurer’s views that the UK should lower tax rates to allow the UK to compete with offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands in which many hedge funds are incorporated.
The Guardian article managed to criticise the company of which I am CEO, Tullett Prebon plc, because it had previously had a Conservative MP on its board and operated in tax havens. Amongst the tax havens it listed that we have corporations in were Bermuda, the Channel Islands and Switzerland.
It was hard to see how the Guardian could legitimately have regarded this as newsworthy given that we had informed them that the companies in Bermuda and the Channel islands are all UK tax resident; and the Swiss company is our local broking business which operates in the local capital and money markets as an intermediary between local banks i.e. self-evidently none of these companies are being used to reduce the amount of tax Tullett Prebon pays.
But what was truly staggering is that the Guardian omitted to mention that Guardian Media Group has used Cayman Islands companies for tax management purposes and that it pays a lower rate of tax than Tullett Prebon.
The BBC, the Guardian and all those who drone on about “The pervasive culture of greed and tax avoidance in many areas of the private sector" need to be taught the rule about what you shouldn’t do if you live in a glass house.