13 May 2014
Who’s been a naughty boy then?
Gary Barlow is the latest potential gong returnee joining an ever lengthening line of celebrity ‘victims’ being hung out to dry for ‘sins various’, all determined by a baying social media fuelled mob and on this occasion under the direction of one Margaret Hodge MP, that self proclaimed leader of the tax paying great and the good.
Yes, that same multi-millionaire former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, who faced questions in November 2010 over the limited tax paid by Stemcor, the steel trading company of which she is a shareholder and which was founded by her father and is run by her brother.
Analysis of Stemcor's accounts by the Daily Telegraph in their edition of 10th November 2012 reported that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of more than £2.1billion in 2011.
There is a growing trend in UKplc for the so-called ‘vulnerable’ and dispossessed social minority to exert undemocratic control over the enfranchised majority. It would seem that to get your voice heard and action taken today you should belong to a minority group of some sort, preferably with questionable ethnic, religious or ethical agendas ideally funded with government grants.
What did Gary do?
He and other bandmates invested in 2012, it is alleged, at least £26 million in what was referred to as an ‘aggressive tax avoidance scheme’, putting money into two partnerships, run by Icebreaker Management, styled as music-industry investment schemes, according to reports.
Judge Bishopp, in a High Court ruling, declared that the partnerships set up by Icebreaker Management were to secure tax relief for members, and HMRC is now expected to demand repayment.
Take That's lawyers insisted the band mates believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and that all four named paid "significant tax".
Most wealthy individuals got to be just that with a little talent, some good luck and an awful lot of specialist professional support looking for the best ways to secure and grow their wealth, no matter how it was obtained.
Mr. Barlow is, I suspect, only guilty of taking financial advice to best invest his millions and avoidance, no matter how aggressive is not illegal.
Let’s keep an eye on FSCS defaults in the coming months if his financial adviser finds him or herself in the firing line from Mr. B’s legal team.
I think there are plenty of others who should be higher up the ‘Return your gong’ list; perhaps you would like to suggest some.
Shall we start with Sir Hector?
What goes around as they say……...