The people at the Mail on Sunday are happily chucking stones from their glass house at the moment.
Aggrieved by Kraft’s plans to move control of Cadbury to Switzerland, the Mail on Sunday is exhorting readers to sign a pledge not to purchase Kraft products until the company reverses its plans and guarantees that Cadbury will pay all its corporation tax in Britain. The strident, self-righteous patriotic tone of the Mail on Sunday is embarrassing when you consider the status of the paper’s proprietor.
The Mail On Sunday is owned by the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) , chaired and controlled by billionaire Lord Rothermere, a staunch supporter of Conservative Party leader David Cameron. Rothermere is registered as “non-domiciled” in Britain. This status, inherited from his father, who spent much of his life as a resident of France, allows him to avoid paying UK taxes.
The non-domicile rule is a very curious one. It was introduced centuries ago to allow those who owned land abroad to avoid tax on their colonial wealth unless they brought it back to England. Today, it continues to be exploited by some of the wealthiest people in the country. Having claimed a tenuous link to some other domicile, they escape paying UK tax on their foreign income and capital gains, providing they don’t bring the money into the UK.
The Mail on Sunday’s stance on corporation tax evasion is therefore quite preposterous. Besides, it’s nearly Christmas and I can’t give up chocolate now!