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Tax avoidance becoming politicised ahead of election

With the General Election creeping closer, the issue of tax avoidance has become increasingly politicised – this time by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Miliband has said in a recent interview with the Guardian that a Labour government would demand British tax havens like Bermuda need to begin producing public registers of offshore company owners or run the risk of being placed upon an international blacklist. Claiming he simply won’t back down, Miliband says that the time is now to put an end to rules that allow some members of society to play by rules that the other members don’t have access to. Of course, critics say that it seems  highly suspicious that the time for Miliband to focus on these seeming injustices coincides with a major election cycle.

Miliband has been facing plenty of criticism from detractors that have called him anti-business, especially when it comes to tax issues. The Labour leader struck back by saying that defending tax avoidance is hardly pro-business, especially how millions of Brits are damaged by such behaviour – especially small business owners, sole traders, contractors and other self-employed Brits. Honestly I have to agree with Miliband here, even though I do feel like he’s simply capitalising on the fact that tax avoidance is such a hot-button issue right now.

Miliband went on to say that his economic policies – the very same ones that have been attacked by Conservatives for being anti-business – were actually developed in close cooperation with leading business experts and focused not just on fairness and equability but also with an eye towards fostering high levels of productivity. The Labour leader pointed out that he’s simply following the lead of teh OECD, the International Monetary Fund, and the archbishop of Canterbury in pursuing a more equal – and a more efficient – society.

So how much of this is campaign season politics and how much of it is actual real-world change that could come about if Labour ends up in the driver’s seat in May? Honestly it’s impossible to say. There’s so much brinkmanship and puffery when it comes to politics today that it’s virtually impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff – or to determine if there’s anything besides chaff. I’ll cross my fingers, but I sure won’t be holding my breath.

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