The Great Tax Robbery: How Britain Became a Tax Haven for Fat Cats and Big Business Paperback – 4 Sep 2014
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‘Excellent… Brooks is particularly good at showing why we should be angered by all of this… Let’s hope this fine book helps redress the balance’(Independent on Sunday)
'Fascinating… not only does [Brooks] have a near-encyclopaedic knowledge, he also has an ear for resonant detail.'(Financial Times)
'Important... Brooks demonstrates that financial amorality is endemic among Britain’s elite'(The Times)
'This year’s indispensable book.'(Nick Cohen Observer)
'A "must read": Richard Brooks exposes the financial immorality of the rich as never before'(Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of bestseller The Spirit Level)
'A call to arms and a tour de force. It is about time someone explained to all of us what is required if we don't want our country, our cities, and our schools to enter a cycle of decline where paying tax is just for the little people.'(Danny Dorling - Author of Injustice and So You Think You Know About Britain?)
'Richard Brooks is a digger and a troublemaker who niggles away at difficult subjects in a meticulous, punchy and highly effective way.'(Alan Rusbridger - Editor, The Guardian)
'Richard Brooks exposes the very British scandal in which WE are inflicted with austerity whilst corporations and wealthy individuals are permitted to cart their tax obligations to havens over which the UK government has far more influence than it pretends.'(Jon Snow - Channel Four News)
'At a time when tax avoidance is riding very high on the political agenda, this book explains in easy-to-understand language how the complexities of artificial tax avoidance have corrupted fair taxation in Britain, and the forces behind it – not only the super-rich and multi-nationals, but government itself as their agent. Written by a former tax inspector who has turned his inside knowledge on the Treasury and politician gamekeepers-turned-poachers, it is detailed and comprehensive – and shocking – whilst also being an enjoyable and wicked read, spiced with scurrilous examples of breath-taking cheating and greed.'(Michael Meacher MP) See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
This book is remarkably up to date. The most galling thing is that we are in no position to agree or disagree with anything said in this book. It’s all very technical and very secret. Whistle-blowers are threatened with prosecution.
As much as I would love every member of the public to read this book, it is pointless if it is your intention to keep voting for any of the main UK political parties.
This book is for the cynic who sees the world as corrupt from top to bottom.
For a member of the public who wants to find out just how corrupt the world really is, this book allows you to see just one small facet of the problem. ‘The Establishment’ by Owen Jones. ‘Debt, the first 5000 years’ by David Graeber. ‘The Bubble and Beyond’ by Michael Hudson. ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Kline. ‘Fuel on the Fire’ by Greg Muttitt. And lets not forget Noam Chomsky, will provide additional contributions to your understanding. Each book provides a tiny insight to the horrendous levels of sociopathic corruption of the ruling classes.
This book is highly recommended.
This book is one of the most dispiriting I've read in a long time: the depth of avarice among the filthy rich, the collusion of government and the capitulation of HMRC, all of which are documented by Brooks in enormous detail left me fascinated, horrified and angry. These are individuals and corporations, celebrities, footballers, "captains" of industry, masters of the financial universe, of whom most already have more money than they can spend and yet they want more and will go to great lengths to pay as little tax as they can. The amount of brain power diverted into these schemes which benefit only the top few percent of the population could be put to much better use. Brooks is unrelenting in his exposure of the schemes and the people behind them and the crass stupidity of government together with the appalling behaviour of the former head of HMRC who should have been sacked years ago. It's particularly galling that government and HMRC should be working for the benefit of all citizens and not just the "new few". (see Ferdinand Mount)
This tax robbery, where the rest of us end up paying more than we should, far more than we pay for benefits cheats, is part of a greater social movement initiated by the Reagan/Thatcher revolution and continued by their spiritual successors Blair and Brown. It's philosophy can be summed up in one word: Greed. Whether it was privatisation or tax breaks their new world order appealed to the lowest of human instincts. Hence, the rich, it seemed, needed ever greater amounts of money to get out of bed to do a day's work, while the poorest needed to be made poorer to turn up at the factory or office.
In this the rich were aided and abetted by naive and incompetent politicians, particularly by Chancellors of the Exchequer and Treasury ministers, who, together with their new friends in the corporate sector redrafted taxation legislation and turned the UK into a tax haven for the wealthy. At the same time, the HMRC initiated a new approach to the taxation of corporate and high net wealth individual tax dodgers and instead of pursuing them relentlessly took a more conciliatory approach which bordered on abject surrender. The government assisted them in this new customer-focussed strategy by slashing thousands of HMRC jobs devoted to investigations.
Does all this matter? Of course it does: not only is the great inequality in wealth in the UK, which increased inexorably under the Thatcher government, which at least was up front about favouring the rich but also under Blair/Brown which was supposedly a socialist government, a social obscenity, but it is also harmful for all sectors of society, as shown in the Spirit Level.
There seems to be no evidence of social benefits flowing from greater wealth inequality nor of greater commercial effectiveness by paying CEO's and others huge salaries and allowing them to shelter most of their mega-millions from the tax man - i.e. the rest of society.
Brooks offers some solutions, including international cooperation, but perhaps what we need most is a massive simplification of the tax system and the introduction of simpler and unavoidable taxes. Ultimately, this is in the hands of politicians, and for as long as they go on to dip their snouts in the trough then things wont change. We need a new system of governance, for at the moment politicians are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Taxation and social equity are too important to be left to politicians alone.
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However, some parts of the book made me cringe.Read more
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