25 August 2011

Thinking Paper #72 - Gideon George Osborne: We do the maths‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

With all of this talk about geriatric Michael Jackson lookalikes and Prime Ministerial holidays, we mustn't forget about our beloved Chancellor, Gideon George Osborne.


The Maths

Thumbing through the internet this morning, our Financial team of Polytechnic drop outs noted that George Osborne's team of advisers (that's you Rupert Harrison IV of Wingbourne) had contacted their friends at the Telegraph and Mail to let them know that George was "launching a £5bn tax raid on Swiss bank accounts". Brilliant. Headlines achieved.

Now, the IIPBA doesn't pride itself on being particularly good at investigative journalism, but as I scrolled down the page, the article went on to mention that "Treasury sources were reluctant to put a value on the likely annual receipts [from the "tax raid"] because of the risk that some wealthy individuals may choose to shift their money to other secretive financial regimes." Reluctant? £5bn reluctant? Our polytechnic drop outs could never be described as Harvard whizzkids, but they felt quite strongly that £5bn didn't sound very reluctant.

Elsewhere in the world of newspapers, Labour HQ also contacted their friends in the media and passed them some figures written on the back of a beer mat. The Daily Mirror went to print. Headline: "George Osborne 'failed to collect £6bn in taxes' last year".

Conclusion

One of our polytechnic drop outs told me that this leaves a £1bn "black hole" in the Chancellor's coffers. We're in the process of drumming up a rather hasty and misleading headline around this figure for the FT. We'll keep you posted.

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