HSBC Organised Tax Crime

Thanks goodness for Herve Falciani . If it wasn’t for him in 2008 whisking away 106,000 records of illegal tax evasion that via the French authorities reached the UK government in 2010 we wouldn’t know of the degree this British bank colluded with tax evasion by British citizens. But Herver also tried engaging the UK Tax people in 2008 but was blanked.

But what of the others banks who Herve is clear are just as involved in this industrial scale tax evasion?

The Swiss authorities keep trying to extradite Mr.Falciani for whistleblowing. Clearly they want to collude with illegal tax evasion. What disreputable behaviour for a nation state.

As the Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has pointed out the HSBC scandal demonstrated that tax avoidance was a “sophisticated global business”.

Adding: “Tax evasion is illegal, the full force of the law needs to be brought against tax evaders. Tax avoidance, where people do everything to avoid paying their tax, is something a lot of people rightly don’t like. We made 40 changes to the tax code, we’ve put a billion pounds extra in to enforcement, we’ve recouped £80bn of tax.”

Personally it comes across as a sophisticated global racket. This is organised crime.

1,100 Brits have now paid £135million in tax, interest on tax and fines.

We should go further. Their names should be published. Who are these people?They are clearly not fit to be company directors and should be banned from such roles. If they have gongs they should be striped of them. Tax evasion on this scale is the behaviour of organised criminals. They are not Robin Hoods. They have behaved as common criminals and should be treated as such by our society.

But I fear it will all be swiftly forgotten. The super-rich will close ranks. They will remake their money circulating in our societies upper echelons. Depressing.

The Government has the powers to prosecute and make examples. The state can remove gongs. Directors can be banned for their cmpanies not paying correct tax. But all this should have started in 2008 when the UK tax people were first alerted.

Labour Blair Gaddafi Collusion

Shocking to read that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government colluded with the Colonel Gaddafi government.

The Guardian reports that Libyan Intelligence agents were allowed to operate in the UK. That a number of exchanges took place and close working. That rendition and torture resulted.

The people who suffered this are suing UK government departments – MI5/6, Home and Foreign Offices. An attempt to have the case thrown out failed on Thursday.

Truly shocking that a UK government could stoop so low.


Voter Registration Nonsense

The last Labour government in response to flagrant voter fraud started the process to introduce individual voter registration. The new system

The old system one person in each household registered everyone in the house – I did for our family. But sometimes people added extra people. So the new system means everyone has to register themselves with their unique National Insurance number to ensure no cheating from bogus residents.

My own experience is buy to-let landlords being registered sometimes multiple times for properties they don’t live in. So the new system will stop this and ensure tenants can register to vote.

To smooth the transition to the new system the Department for Works and Pensions has assisted local councils by matching over 90% of all the previously registered voters with their National Insurance numbers and other have reregistered themselves. This has left under a million voters across the country no longer being registered to vote.

So if you’re no longer registered to vote it is quick and easy and for the first time ever via a new online system. It takes just a few minutes, your National Insurance number and date of birth –

Lib Dems in government have also ensured another £10 million to smooth the introduction of this system that has been policy of all parties for a number of years.

EU Migration

It has been worrying over the last couple of years to hear so many concerns and fears about migration into the UK that felt really OTT. This has been used as the main part of the argument against remaining part of the European Union (EU).

So how bad is it – migration of EU citizens into the UK? 

Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott has asked a formal questions about this.

British figures indicate 2.3 million EU citizens living in the UK. This figure is pretty reliable because without a National Insurance number people are outside of reciving NHS treatment, being employed legimately, etc.

British consular authorities estimate that 2.2 million registered Britons live in the other 26 EU countries, excluding Croatia, which joined in 2013, with 400,000 of them being pensioners. Brits abroad don’t need to register with British consular authorities to work in EU countries, receive medical help, etc. The countries are stable so little risk to people so they don’t feel the need to register with British consular authorities.

The country breakdown says over 1 million British people live in Spain; France (330,000); Ireland (329,000); Germany (107,000); Cyprus (65,000); the Netherlands (48,000); Greece (45,000); Portugal (39,000); and Italy (37,000).

The government reply also indicated the real numbers could be much higher, due to “a high evidence of non-registration” in France, Portugal and Spain.

So the reality is more Brits living in Europe than EU citizens living in Britain.

What would happen if we left the EU? Would Brits have to return to the UK or do we think EU countries would still be happy seeing a mass exodus of their citiziens being kicked out of the UK. Could our NHS cope with an extra 400,000+ forced repatriated UK pensioners to the UK. Would those pensioners be able to afford a return to the UK property markets or would councils have a mass homelessness issue on a scale never seen before. Do we think EU countries would be gracious with Britain leaving the EU or follow narrow national interests even if BRtish citiazens suffer?

Clearly the free movement of people isn’t the problem it has reputed to be. BUT the ending of this free movement could be huge headache for the UK citiziens both here and abroard.

Stark Housing Choices

London is anticipated to grow from 8.5 million residents mid 2013  to 10.1 million residents within 22 years. That is a huge increase. It comes from the rise in births, fewer deaths and migration.

We can not house 10.1 million people in London without either making new builds in London significantly taller or expanding London’s footprint. In Southwark the Labour council is choosing to allow much taller buildings and many more of them. It is even proposing to remove the protection of suburban areas and allow skyscrapers to be considered in such places.

House prices are already ridiculously high. 2013 in Southwark the average house price was 9.67 x median earnings. Completely unreachable for most people. it means so many people live in substandard cramped homes. Blighting their life choices.

One proposal is to expand London by 1/2 mile in all directions. Slice off a little green belt land. This measure alone would enable 800,000 new homes to be built on top of normal house building in London. It would allow us to house the expected growth of London and some, so reducing house prices in real terms over time. Estimates that British house prices are 40% higher than those in the Netherlands which has a higher popularion density. Reducing house prices by 40% would see a huge rebalance of our economy. It would return hope to people that one day they could own their own home. Building 800,000 additional homes would be a huge economic fillup.

The alternative is to make inner London emulate Manhattan. I for one have not chosen to live in a city full of skyscrapers. And I don’t see why I should have a London Manhattan built around me when it fundamentally won’t solve house prices or give the scale of new homes needed.

If we don’t want skyscrappers and as a society don’t want to eat up a little green belt we would need to reduce the population of London.

How would you solve this problem?



European Human Rights

Increasingly politicians and press from the right have been decrying the European Court of Human Rights.

November 1950 European Convention on Human Rights was agreed. But their is little point of a convention without the teeth of a court to uphold it. So the attacks on the court are really attacks on the convention. The convention was designed to ensure the atrocities of the previous 20 years could never start again for signatory countries. It was also meant to hold back communism. It has been wildly successful at both of those objectives so far.

The convention articles, summarised below, are the bedrock of a civilised democratic society. It’s hard to imagine Britain without them.  A number of treaties commit us to them – everything from Scottish Devolution, Northern Ireland Good Friday agreement to EU membership.

So why is it so lambasted now?

Are their plans to bring back the death penalty? monitor all emails? Make trials less fair?

The reasons given are spurious. The silly examples given are perfectly resolvable without going for this drastic proposal.

hopefully the British people will see this for what it is. An attack on all our rights.

Summarised Articles:

1. Respect and ensure rights of people within the area of countries signed-up

2. Life. No unlawful killings by the state, proper investigations of suspicious deaths, duty to prevent foreseeable loss of life.

3. Torture. Prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment.


Paedophilia Iceberg

Reflecting on the appalling Rotherham long-term child abuse, Jimmy Saville decades of abuse, many other public figures accused of casual child and other abuse, child abuse rings uncovered in Derby, Oxford, Rochdale, Telford and this week a paediatric haematologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital convicted of child abuse. Other systemic appearing abuse from religious leaders. The scale of child and adult abuse is colossal but increasingly what we’ve become aware of appears just the tip of the iceberg.

It is clear that for decades child abuse was ignored and covered up country wide. That suspicions were ignored. Victims ignored and worse – often the victims punished.

A number of separate enquiries have taken place essentially showing at best complacency on epic scales.

I’ve had a casework involving historic abuse and the police dealt with it sensitively and promptly.

We need every local authority and public body needs to assume that such abuse has occurred until they prove differently. We need to assume every public body is guilty of harbouring this historically. That every such body needs a systemic review of all the people ever in their charge confirming they didn’t receive abuse. That all Police reports need to be trawled to assess which ones abuse was not recorded but lesser crimes if any recorded and wrong police reports corrected and investigated where the victims wish this.

When we’ve purged our society of historic abuse and ensured all new allegations are properly investigated will we be truly fair and just society.

If you believe abuse is or has taken place whether you’re an adult or child get advice from the NSPCC   0808 800 5000, or text 88858.

Lib Dems Bring Greater Fairness For Council Leaseholders

One of the biggest problems is local councils out of the blue charging council leaseholders huge amounts for general maintenance. Often this appears to come from councils just not professionally planning ahead.

I’m proud to say that A cap has just been introduced to limit the amount local authorities and housing associations can charge leaseholders for repairs to council homes.

The new directions limit the amount authorities can charge for future major repair, maintenance, or improvement works when they are wholly or partly funded by the government.

Outside London the maximum amount residents can be charged for repairs on a property will be £10,000 in any five-year period. In London, the cap is £15,000 over the same time period.

If repair works cost more than the set limit, authorities will have to pay the rest.

Southwark Businesses Owed £39M

Reviewing Southwark’s draft 13/14 accounts (page 138) they show a financial provision estimating that Southwark businesses with appeals against the Business Rates (NNDR) are expected to win £39M !

30% of this will come from Southwark Council and 70% from the Great London Authority and the Government. This is a result of the pickle of the Business Rates review in 2005.

The backlog created by appeal in 2005 is taking a very long time to resolve. Amazingly businesses typically have been waiting 8-9 years for their appeal with the Valuation Office Agency to be decided. It really is not clear when this huge backlog damaging Southwark businesses will be cleared.

Think how many extra jobs could be created if those businesses had that money sooner rather than later.

So at Southwark Councils Audit & Governance committee on Monday evening I asked, and the committee agreed, that we invite the VOA to attend our next meeting in September to explain how they will fix this and what Southwark Council can do to help resolve this.

Thank Christ!

Today the official church of English state, the Church of England, caught up with the 21st century – it agreed to allow women bishops.

Well done to Justin Welby for patiently workin to make this happen. Long long overdue.

We’ve now caught up with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US anglican communion.

Why is this so important – the Church of England is the state church. It shouldnt be but it is. To have a state church until today discriminating against women was at best embarassing..