George Osborne: the dodgiest dodger of them all?

Here’s a blast about tax dodging we sent out to our members today:

George Osborne

Photograph by altogetherfool (Flickr)

Dear friend,

George Osborne is a pretty convincing Artful Dodger! He’s certainly good at dodging the issue of tax cheats. 38 Degrees members have helped come up with an eye-catching advert to put our Chancellor on the spot, and face the question he’s been trying to avoid: why won’t he get tough on tax dodging?

VAT goes up on the 4th of January. That day, George Osborne will be doing the media rounds, claiming there’s no alternative to a VAT hike and cuts to our schools and hospitals. He’ll claim “we’re all in this together” – but the truth is that some of the richest currently pay far less tax than the rest of us.

We can break through his spin and change the debate with attention-grabbing ads on the same day. Instead of his carefully rehearsed spin, we’ll ensure that everywhere George Osborne goes he’ll be asked tough questions about tax dodging.

George Osborne keeps telling us that our national debt is all down to benefit cheats and bloated public services. But that’s not the whole story. Up to £120bn is lost to tax cheats every year. That’s 15 times more than benefit cheats cost us! It’s more than the entire NHS budget and over three times the amount we spend on schools. If money is so tight, why doesn’t George Osbourne want to tackle tax cheats?

George Osborne seems to think tax dodging is okay. He does it, as do senior Tories like Sir Philip Green and Lord Ashcroft. He made a secret deal with Vodafone to write off £6bn in tax. He stays silent whilst businesses like Kraft announce new plans to dodge tax. And now he wants to give massive tax breaks to corporate giants. He says ‘we’re all in this together’. But the reality is he is refusing to make the super-rich pay their fair share.

If we raise enough money to get these ads all over the papers, it will create a media stir and help expose ‘we’re all in this together’ as a hollow soundbite. We’ll put the issue of tax dodging where George Osborne can’t avoid it – in our national press on the day of the VAT tax hike.

We’ll need to raise £20,000 to get our ads in all the papers.

Thanks for getting involved,

David, Hannah, Johnny, Charlotte and the 38 Degrees team

PS. Since 38 Degrees members voted to launch a campaign on tax dodging, we’ve really started a debate! One writer in The Observer got so fired up that he wrote a whole comment piece about us, the most viewed article on the whole website! And only this week, ActionAid and The Guardian exposed the company behind Grolsch and Peroni beer as tax dodgers. We’re proving that when we work together we can force tax dodging up the agenda. Please donate now to put George Osborne on the spot on the day that VAT goes up: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/artful-dodger.