It’s been nearly five years since the coalition government came into power and in the lead up to elections we are taking toll of the government’s legacy. So far the figures are coming in at a whopping £35 billion worth of cuts to public services and we are starting the notice the irreversible changes. Just as it all started to sink in along came the biggest banking leak off all time. Hot on the toes of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, came Hervé Falciani with files revealing widespread tax avoidance, evasion and money laundering being actively marketed to HSBC’s high net worth clients. On the list there has been 7,000 UK citizens identified who have over $21.7 billion of untaxed earnings in HSBC Swiss accounts. As well as starting the crash in the first place back in 2008, the banks are now pocketing billions by dodging tax and helping others do the same. It’s daylight robbery on the grandest scale. We’re not broke. The cuts to our vital public services are a political choice, not an economic necessity. We need to stop the tax dodgers, make the banks pay and fight to protect our public services.
In 2010, the coalition government came to power they claimed in their Coalition Agreement that ‘Deficit reduction takes precedence over any of the other measures in this agreement’. Deficit reduction can take two paths. The first path involves cutting public spending and the second route is to increase public spending with the aim of stimulating the economy. There was always a choice. However, from day dot, there was an ideological agenda to roll back the state.
The Tory agenda has always been that the market, not the state will solve all societal woes through innovation and enterprise. Spending on public services and welfare was cut deeply, services were sold off to private companies and tax breaks were given to the rich. Furthermore, the tax gap of £35 billion from tax avoidance from UK businesses and the £50 billion gap from criminal and fraudulent activities has gone uncollected.
Then along came the biggest banking leak of all time. On the list there has been 7,000 UK citizens identified who have over $21.7 billion of untaxed earnings in HSBC Swiss accounts. Only one person so far has been charged with criminal activity, with George Osborne claiming that it is not his role to bring these people to justice. Not too surprisingly, the man in charge of HSBC at the time Lord Green, is a now a Tory Peer and the party have received £5 million worth of donations from the clients identified in the files.
The HSBC files have revealed that austerity is a political choice, and the poorest are paying while the rich are getting richer. If the Tory party win these elections we are looking at another £55 billion worth of cuts by 2019. The reality is that from 2010 – 2015 they took the lowest hanging fruit, and next time round we will all feel the cuts more directly as Britain’s welfare state will be irrevocably dismantled. I am taking action this Saturday 21st in London against HSBC to raise awareness of the Tory parties failure to bring tax dodgers to justice and to defend our welfare state.