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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Eric Pickles, Scientology and Donkeys

Eric Pickles, our Communities Secretary, has challenged the very handsome tax breaks which some local authorities - including the City of London Corporation - give to Scientology. Up to 80% off business rates on their handsome properties.

Nice breaks if you can get them.

The world is full of questionable tax breaks. Donkeys do very well out of them, which is why there are lots of donkey sanctuaries, and lots of donkey sanctuarians going round ensuring that the legacies continue to roll in. They fund a lifestyle, not only for donkeys but for the humans who control them.

Just as there are too many buses on the road because they are subsidised through free bus passes for favoured groups (my age group, notably) so there are too many animal welfare charities because they are subsidised through tax breaks. Animal welfare charities are nice little earners.

As such, they should be treated like regular businesses. This would reduce their number and, hopefully, reduce the number of cute and cuddly animals used to front them.

But I would go farther. The Tories think inheritance taxes are unfair because they stop people leaving what they want to leave to their nearest and dearest. Well, maybe inheritance taxes on legacies to humans could be eased if legacies to cats' and dogs' homes were taxed more heavily. Let's say at 95%.

Then there are organised religions, the word "organised" having the sense that it does in "organised crime". Religions get out of VAT and business rates and criminal responsibility and goodness knows what else. How else would they afford all the baubles?

Time to tax them too.

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