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From: The Socialist issue 897, 13 April 2016: Panama papers, steel crisis, junior doctors' contract, austerity...Tories out!

Search site for keywords: Homes - London - Tax - Market - David Cameron - Accommodation

Houses for offshore investment while we're stuck at home

Tax-free offshore capital revealed in the Panama Papers is partly responsible for Britain's extreme housing bubble, photo by Spudgun67 (Creative Commons)

Tax-free offshore capital revealed in the Panama Papers is partly responsible for Britain's extreme housing bubble, photo by Spudgun67 (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Juliette Fogelman, Waltham Forest

The Panama Papers proved what many people already know, that the rich will do whatever they can to hide their vast sums of money and avoid paying tax.

The leak also revealed how the UK property market (particular in London) had been inflated by the super rich using offshore companies to buy properties as investments rather than as homes that people can actually live in.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirate president, is just one example. He owns 1.2 billion worth of property in London through offshore companies.

This is pretty galling for a worker like myself since ever rising rents in the UK mean that I, along with over three million people in their 20s and 30s, still live at home with my parents. The alternative is paying nearly half of my salary to live in private rented accommodation that is often badly maintained - damp and mould are common problems! - by landlords whose main aim is to make profits.

David Cameron might have talked tough in the past and claimed the Tory government is going to tackle tax dodging but not only has he benefited from selling shares in his father's offshore investment fund but he has also profited from London's inflated property market. Cameron has made 500,000 from renting his Notting Hill home since he was elected in 2010 and moved into Downing Street.

Just think of all the council homes that could be built with the money the 1% stash away offshore!

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Article dated 13 April 2016

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