On Friday 31 March, the government announced the sale of £11.8bn of public assets to a firm accused of serial tax avoidance. But hot on the heels of this latest dodgy Tory deal is a video take-down of Theresa May’s claims about the Conservatives’ financial record. And it shows we can’t trust the government with the economy.
Hang on, May…
Lawyer and campaigner Peter Stefanovic has released another of his video commentaries. And this time, he takes on May’s 29 March Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) claim that Labour can’t be trusted with the economy:
But while nearly 60,000 people have watched Stefanovic’s rebuttal of May’s claims, the Tories just handed more public money to private hands.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the UK bailed out the now defunct Bradford and Bingley (B&B) building society to the tune of £50bn. This latest sale of UK government assets is £11.8bn of buy-to-let mortgages. Announcing it, Chancellor Philip Hammond said:
The sale of these Bradford & Bingley assets for £11.8 billion marks another major milestone in our plan to get taxpayers’ money back following the financial crisis. We are determined to return the financial assets we own to the private sector and today’s sale is further proof of the confidence investors have in the UK economy.
One of the companies that has brought the buy-to-let mortgage book is a serial tax avoider. Blackstone is an investment management company based in New York. But it operates subsidiaries out of numerous tax havens, including the Cayman Islands and Delaware; meaning the campaign group Ethical Consumer gave Blackstone its worst rating for possible tax avoidance. And Blackstone’s portfolio of investments also includes companies well known for avoiding tax, including Amazon and Starbucks.
All in this together
Jitesh Gadhia was formerly a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. He now sits on the board of UK Financial Investments Ltd; the company owned by the Treasury that has just overseen the sale of tax payers’ £11.8bn B&B investment to Blackstone, Gadhia’s former employer.
As Stefanovic says in his video: “The Conservative Party’s done an absolutely terrible job of managing the economy”. Unless, of course, you’re a tax avoiding multinational. Or one of its former executives. Then, with the Tories’ latest deal, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
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