Don’t get distracted by naming and shaming: we need a systemic shift.
Deloittes, KPMG, Ernst and Young, and Price Waterhouse Cooper. The ‘big four’ all provide encouragement and services for the super rich and multinationals to take their money out of the working economy and to hide it from the tax authorities.
All this while the government cuts spending on basic public services. So it is left to ordinary individuals to prop up the economy. How are they are doing it? By borrowing, often at very high rates of interest. This can be personally devastating and combined with the retreat of government spending leads us towards another financial collapse. Cuts are largely ideologically driven – it is not about affordability. Avoiding tax is a widespread cultural and structural issue in wealthy circles serviced by the ‘big four’ and others.
What we need most is a systemic shift, more than the naming shaming game which focuses on individual behaviour and choices. We must focus on changing the system and not get distracted too much by our anger directed at individuals. The government is in part there to ensure that as individuals we do not have the choice to do things harmful to the rest of society, let alone allow harmful activities to be normalised, systematised and actively promoted. We must use this moment to bring forward radical and widespread changes to the system. We can all do our bit in the meantime to keep money in the real economy, by spending at sub-national and locally-owned businesses both as individuals and as business owners.
Ciaran Mundy is the Chief Executive of Bristol Pound CIC and tweets as @ciaranmundy