Dead Men Left

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Special pleading

Considering they're all such mighty globe-straddling collossi, able to undermine governments, sack their workforces, and tear up international treaties without blinking, they don't half squeal:

One of the Big Four accountancy firms has warned that an aggressive campaign against tax avoidance by HM Revenue & Customs, including direct calls to senior executives of UK multinationals, could make Britain less attractive to big companies...

PwC said HMRC's harsher stance on tax avoidance, combined with higher and more complex corporate taxation, also risked deterring inward investment. The warning follows demands this week from the CBI that Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, should not increase the tax burden on business to fill a £10bn "black hole" in the public finances.

Might "deter" investment: given that private investment in the UK is, as percentage of GDP, "at a 40 year-low", whilst R&D spending is significantly below other G7 countries (PDF, fig. 6), you have to wonder how much of a threat this really is.