Saturday 23 September 2017

Why we can no longer afford to avoid these taxing questions

WHEN the whole world is out to get you, it sometimes makes sense to ask whether your opponents may just have a point.

News that the European Commission is examining possible secret deals between the State and multinationals is just the latest skirmish between this country and the rest of the civilised world over tax. The response from this Government, and the last government, has been paranoid, ineffective and intellectually dishonest – rather like the response of loyalists in the North to the challenge posed by nationalists.

In both cases, there is a complete inability to acknowledge that the other side has legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. The Government faces a defeat every bit as bitter and comprehensive as the the loyalist community unless it changes tack. The paranoia is obvious as ministers and business leaders here suggest that other European countries are jealous of our taxation regime and their criticism is driven by animus.

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