Friday, February 18, 2011

Barclays Bank appear to be a bunch of tax-dodging bastards

I’ve just had a bit of a rant on Twitter. Thought it might be worth making a more structured argument here.

Last year Barclays paid £113m in corporation tax on £11.6bn profits: that’s 1% rather than 28%.

The thing that really gets me about such (probably totally legal) criminality is that tax-dodging on such an epic scale is really a form of social robbery. Barclays should have paid £3,164 million (or 3.164 billion if you’re using American billions) in tax.

They have robbed the British treasury of over £3,000,000,000, which means they have collectively robbed the people of Britain of whatever the Government could have spent that money on.

Seriously, that is how much they have stolen from us by exploiting legal loopholes.

Does that bank have a social conscience? Do the people who work there? Do the people who bank there? Do the people or institutions that own shares in it?

If you’re making money off Barclays you’re guilty of complicity in this swindle. I honestly think that.

I don’t know why we don’t get more angry about this. I know it’s not just Barclays. It could be every other large corporation. Why aren’t we angry with all of them?

Business can be conducted differently. Business can create wealth for the good of everyone. It can bring much-needed equity into a sharply-divided society. Paying tax is about good citizenship and the demands of good citizenship apply equally to banks and corporations.

But it’s not going to happen without pressure from people like me and you.

This country is going to lose its free healthcare system. It’s going to lose investment in its infrastructure. The schools and hospitals and roads and rubbish collections and leisure centres and libraries and parks and public transport in your area is going to be cut. Fact. And if you’re a normal member of this society you either don’t know that or you don’t give a shit.

Most people don’t. Who cares about corporate profiteering when you can watch Got to Dance on Sky? TV is the 21st century opium of the proles.

Jesus hated profiteering and took direct action (Mark 11: 15-17). I reckon he'd be up for having a go at Barclays.


  1. Right on brother! Can't agree with you more.

    So ... how do we sort this out?

  2. for inspiration...
    if there's any truth in the claims in this website it's worth a read.

  3. Amen to everything you said. Frightening how oblivious people seem to be. Everyone quotes bankers' bonuses as being the big problem but if any individual tried to evade tax the way these banks do they would end up in prison; people seem less knowledgeable on that slightly less discussed - and slightly more complex- topic!

  4. @videomonkey ah, there's the rub

    @TR how much angrier will that website make me

    @Vix oblivious is the word and it IS frightening

  5. I agree in principle re: tax dodging. Especially the false use of off shore "offices": that is nigh on theft in my book.

    Haven't Barclays paid so little this year because it is offset against the previous twelve months when they made a huge loss?

    Then they pay the full whack next year?

  6. won't make you angry Jon, it'll make you happy.

    A brilliantly different way of protesting. Sadly we've missed one of the Cardiff ones as it was yesterday but we could start another one!

  7. Anonymous21/2/11 13:24

    another perspective though I dont know if its a more accurate one or not!