Friday, 8 April 2011

Tax Avoidance Exemption for MPs? Never.

A newly-elected MP told journalist Steve Richards in an off-air moment that the thing she found most difficult to handle about being an MP was the disdain of the public. Perhaps there would be less disdain and more respect if MPs stopped putting their own interests before those of their constituents. After the expenses outrage you would think that they would have got the message. Think again. As an article in the online Telegraph reveals.
“New tax year, same old MPs. After Budget promises to tackle tax avoidance, Parliament is passing legislation to block several loopholes – but an obscure clause specifically exempts MPs from these new restrictions.
Yes, really. Anyone who thought the denizens of Halitosis Hall had learned their lesson after the MPs’ expenses scandal will be disappointed. But it seems politicians still cannot get their heads round the childhood adage about sauce for the goose and gander – or why their constituents are fed up with buying them duck houses.
“HM Revenue & Customs says that this legislation is only there to stop ‘tax avoidance’. However, Section 554E(8) specifically exempts members of the House of Commons and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority from the new legislation in situations where they are actually caught by it.
“If the legislation is fair and proportional, what is the need for a specific exemption for members of the House of Commons? Why don’t they rely on the same arrangements that every other employer and employee in this country has to rely on?
“If the legislation only targets tax avoidance, why is there a need for a special exemption for MPs?” Ian Cowie, Daily Telegraph 8/4/11
Why? WHY? WHY?
Up with this we will not put. Contact your MP and make sure they know exactly what you feel about this. Contact campaigning organisations who utilise the internet (38 Degrees, Avaaz etc ) to add this issue to their target list. 
Make sure MPs know that we know.
Suggested letter/email
Dear --------------------(name of MP)
Legislation currently going through Parliament to block tax avoidance loopholes contains Section 554E(8) which specifically exempts members of the House of Commons and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. This is outrageous and indefensible.
What are you going to do about this despicable little clause? 
Yours etc. 

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