Philip Green threatens BBC for asking questions


9:45 am - August 16th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Last week the government appointed businessman Philip Green to leads its ‘efficiency review’ of cuts.

Questions were immediately raised by several people about Green’s own tax status. After all, if the government wants to close the deficit – why not focus on tax evasion?

As Will Straw pointed out at the Guardian:

Launching his one-sided crusade there was no mention of the tax gap, which dwarfs welfare and tax credit fraud by a factor of more than 10 to one. Cameron has now added insult to injury by appointing Sir Philip Green – a tax avoider – as his efficiency tsar.

In 2006, using figures calculated by campaigning accountant Richard Murphy, the BBC’s Money Programme reported that Philip Green and his family had saved themselves nearly £300m the previous year living partly in Monaco, where residents do not have to pay income tax.

So why shouldn’t the BBC ask the same question?

On Friday, the Today programme did.

In an article for the Mail on Sunday yesterday, Green says:

I was asked on to Radio 4’s Today programme to speak about our new role but such was the lack of focus, the interviewer seemed more interested in my friendship with Naomi Campbell.
Perhaps when I finish this job, my next could be to review the strategy and costs of the BBC.

Green clearly does not like journalists doing their job.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Seems to me perfectly legitimate for him to complain about being asked about his friendship with Naomi Campbell when he was asked on to discuss efficiencies in government. The Today programme are always going off on daft tangents because there is some celeb news angle.

I thought (from the headline and the build-up) that you were going to say Green had complained about questions about his tax status. Seems not.But surely he has every right to complain about the BBC/Richard Murphy (maybe Worstall will have eviscerated this RM article too, he’s has nearly every other one) conflating his tax affairs with those of other members of his family. I seem to remember reading somewhere that it is his wife who is resident in Monaco, not Phillip Green himself.

dispicable, its pretty sickening that he is in charge of anything in the UK government, let alone “efficiency savings”, typical Right though, ignore the mass waves of cash lost to super rich tax dodgers, but if so much as one poor person claims a £1 more than they should in benefits? the government is on them like a rabid dog on a dirty bone.

@1

It is his wife who lives in Monaco. It is also his wife who is the named owner of the Arcadia business that creates Mr Green so much cash. And it is this happy state of affairs that allows Mr Green to create lots of money without needing to pay much tax at all. Trebles all round.

This is a good example of how fucked up the tax laws are.

This clown can claim to live in another country, and have his wife’s name on various documents, but spends a lot of time here, to such effect that he is hired by the govt of the UK.

If you don’t pay tax here then fuck off Mr Green and take your scabby shops with you.

Well, actually, Sir Philip Green is resident in the UK for tax purposes. Domiciled too. He does pay income tax on his UK earnings.

His wife is South African and resident in Monaco (domicile, dunno, could be SA or Monaco).

Now we do not charge UK income tax on dividends that go to foreigners. We simply don’t, whether they’re Russian, South African, whether they live in France or Monaco.

You could complain that it’s the same household so really they should be taxed together…..but we’ve just had a decades long fight that the unit of taxation should be the individual, not the household, for very good feminist reasons.

Now I do agree that he’s been very cute here but he has absolutely acted within the letter and even spirit of the law (yes, you can transfer assets to your spouse without tax being due. Yes, your spouse’s tax affairs are different from your own etc).

As to his government role….as The Guardian’s report on it all told us he’s specifically being asked to look at leases and contracts in 2007 to see whether they are reasonable etc. He is someone who has negotiated more leases and contracts than most of us have had hot dinners so it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable appointment really.

” but he has absolutely acted within the letter and even spirit of the law”

Hence my point that the tax laws are a joke.

It is almost as if they have been written for people like him……..Oh wait….

7. Flowerpower

Hence my point that the tax laws are a joke

You think they’re a joke because they don’t allow us to tax a South African woman living in Monaco?

Is this the Left’s brilliant new wheeze to cut the deficit: tax rich foreigners, wherever they happen to live?


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  23. blogs of the world

    Philip Green threatens BBC for asking questions. by Sunny Hundal August 16, 2010 at 9:45 a… http://reduce.li/b6tkf1 #asking





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