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Pandora papers prove that the rich live by different rules

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The Guardian’s Pandora papers exposé is just the latest in a slew of scandals about dubious offshore tax practices (Pandora papers: biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful, 3 October). Sadly, it will probably add to voters’ already simmering resentment at the ability of the rich and powerful to live by a different set of rules from the rest of us.

In truth, lots has been done in recent years to clamp down on these activities. However, it is well past time that politicians acted decisively to end these tax loopholes.

Boris Johnson could use his majority in parliament today to lift the lid on opaque company structures. Legislation that would publicly name those who owned UK property through offshore companies has been gathering dust since 2016.

The prime minister could instruct his officials to go after the lawyers, accountants and others who enable these schemes. He could properly fund HM Revenue and Customs to chase the tax dodgers. It is in his power to act.
Robert Palmer
Executive director, Tax Justice UK

There is a magic money tree after all, but only for the super-rich who can avoid paying their fair share of taxation by ensuring that their assets are registered offshore beyond democratic control.

This is also true when a private equity firm buys a profitable company, as shareholders can claim tax relief on their loans to buy the company. Once these loans are paid off, the company can be broken up by selling the most profitable parts to the highest bidder.

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This government’s mantra of “taking back control” does not embody the will of the people they have impoverished and burdened with increased taxation, but clearly means capital free from any democratic control whatsoever.
Margaret Phelps
Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

Even if it was without the secrecy, the reliance of political parties on rich donors would still be a problem for democracy (Tories facing calls to return cash from donors named in Pandora papers, 4 October).

Popular and hugely beneficial policies, such as closing tax loopholes and shutting down tax havens, don’t happen because parties literally cannot afford to lose the support of very rich people.

The solution is the state funding of political parties, democratically allocated in proportion to votes received at the most recent general election.
Richard Mountford
Hildenborough, Kent

A Tory MP’s admission that London is “the money laundering capital of the world” reminded me of the old-fashioned practice of “blueing”, whereby a small trace of blue iron salt, indigo or ultramarine was added to the wash to give dingy white fabrics a whiter and brighter appearance.
Christine Conlin
Swynnerton Stone, Staffordshire

The Blairs have only a walk-on part in the Pandora papers and, as you report, avoiding £300,000 of tax is not illegal (Tony and Cherie Blair bought property via offshore firm and saved £300,000 in tax, 3 October). However, given the tribute that Keir Starmer recently paid to the positive aspects of the New Labour years, those who will struggle to keep a roof over their heads this autumn after the universal credit cut may ask if Labour in 2021 really does stand for the many rather than the few.
Keith Flett
Tottenham, London

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