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New Caribbean Calypso Discovered - but will David Gauke like it?

February 7, 2015 8:57 AM

Cayman IslandsThe Caribbean has long been famous for its whimsical and sometimes satirical popular songs called calypsos. A bit like the blues with added sunshine, they often make wry comments on the contradictions and absurdities of life.

A new one has recently been discovered in, of all places, Hong Kong. It will be of especial interest to O2, Wales & West Utilities and Northumbriam Water customers - and to the 28% of UK rail travellers who ride in passenger carriages leased from Eversholt Rail. It goes like this,

Oh, the Cayman Islands are very pretty,
The tax you pay is just itty-bitty
Tell the Revenue you've set up shop
Where his tax demands will have to stop!

Oh, I'm glad to say, I'm on my way
Won't pay tax for many a day,
My heart is light, my profits bound and boun'
An' no tax to pay in London Town!

Oh, the Cayman Islands are the new location
Where there's no tax calculation.
In our new-found domicile,
Our businesses can make a pile!

Oh, I'm glad to say, I'm on my way
Won't pay tax for many a day,
My heart is light, my profits bound and boun'
An' no tax to pay in London Town!

Oh, the little people can buy our stuff,
Pay for our services more than enough
And while our profits max and max,
The little people can pay the tax!

Oh, I'm glad to say, I'm on my way
Won't pay tax for many a day,
My heart is light, my profits bound and boun'
An' no tax to pay in London Town!

An interesting article in FinanceAsia of 10/01/15 provides some background.

The financial restructuring involving CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Property Holdings referred to in that article is all completely proper, legal and rational. However the following quotation from the Economist is also relevant. "Civilisation works only if those who enjoy its benefits are also prepared to pay their share of the costs..... David Cameron has put tackling corporate tax-avoidance at the top of the G8 agenda."*

I cannot believe that such large and significant corporate restructurings as these involving the Cayman Islands could take place without UK Government knowledge and approval. This raises the question as to why, at a time when the UK and the US are attempting moves to reduce tax losses due to "tax havens", has our government chosen to strongly support one of the several "tax havens" under British Control?

What has my MP, the Rt Hon David Gauke - the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and minister responsible for getting taxes in - got to say about this?

HSBC "expects that the agreements made under Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) by the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories will be replaced by the OECD'S Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Agreements from 1 January 2016". But this does nothing about getting riid of the ridiculous situation where UK Government tolerates zero or near-zero tax regimes in territories than are not independent and which it controls.

Of course the Labour Government didn't do anything about this either - but that's hardly a defence for David Cameron who has made a commitment but now allows his subordinate ministers to undermine it.

*Quotations from an Economist article dated February 16th 2013: "The Missing $20 trillion. How to stop companies and people dodging tax - in Delaware as well as in Grand Cayman." And apologies to Harry Belafonte.....