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Frankie Boyle leaps to Vodafone’s defence

Remember the furore a few weeks ago, when Vodafone posted healthy profits but paid – gasp – no UK corporation tax?

Well, that left wing comedian firebrand Frankie Boyle – of all people – has come to their defence.

Granted, he probably wouldn’t see it that way.

However, let’s suppose that Vodafone’s CEO tweeted the following about the reasons for the zero tax bill:

We incurred the capital expenditure for reasons separate from tax and our accountants applied for tax relief on this.

You see, the main reason for Vodafone paying no corporation tax is that they had set a significant amount of capital expenditure against their taxable profits, by way of capital allowances and related reliefs*. Unless Frankie really thinks that all that investment in new tech and so on was just an elaborate tax dodge, then it is clear that Vodafone’s tax bill was reduced entirely legally, indeed using provisions set in place by Parliament.

Vodafone could have chosen not to claim the allowances, but why should they do that?

It’s a bit like Entrepreneurs’ Relief, which reduces the capital gains tax rate to 10% on distributions of reserves on the dissolution of a qualifying company – such as Frankie’s.

Frankie could have chosen to distribute those remaining reserves in his company as a dividend (paying around 36% income tax net) or even as salary (that’s just under 60%, including employer’s NI). But why should he do that?

Oh yes you do, mate. Go back a few years and you might remember the venture capitalists who pointed out that they were paying tax at a lower rate than the office cleaners. Yes, that was through treating income as capital (as you have) and using Business Asset Taper Relief – a forerunner to today’s Entrepreneurs’ Relief.**

So I applaud his use of legal means to reduce his tax bill – starve the beast and all that. The problem, for him, is that he is now clearly a hypocritical b-tard. Therefore I trust we’ll hear no more nonsense from him about tax dodging (blurring the distinction, as he and his fellow travellers do, between tax avoidance and evasion).

Pigs have evolved into a rather aerodynamic shape these days, haven’t they?

* See Christie for his usual excellent precis of the situation and demolition of yet another bunch of ‘financial’ ‘journalists’.



Frankie Boyle is Offensive

Oh dear, I’m starting to develop a habit of stating the obvious in blog post titles aren’t I?

It must be a couple of decades since comedians like Bernard Manning became regarded as “beyond the pale” for broadcasting. Most people, if they were asked where Manning was on the political spectrum, would put him on the Right. (I’m not going to get into the debate of whether racism is only the preserve of the (old) Right here.) Jim Davidson is another “right-wing comedian” who we see little of these days on television.

Now of course, offensiveness can take many forms. So why has it taken so long for the BBC to notice how offensive are the likes of left-wing comedians like Frankie Boyle?

BBC satirical show Mock The Week is in trouble for joking that Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington resembled “someone who’s looking at themselves in the back of a spoon”.

The remark which has now fallen foul of the trust was made by Frankie Boyle, a regular on BBC Two’s Mock The Week, and broadcast in August 2008, soon after Adlington won two gold medals in Beijing.

Even so, it seems that being offensive about the Queen is fine. I’m not suggesting that Her Majesty should be immune from being the butt of jokes, but surely if a test for bad taste is being applied, then why should the monarch be treated any differently from a commoner? Isn’t such equal treatment what anti-Monarchists are always banging on about?

Every cloud has a silver lining, though: it was recently announced that Boyle has left Mock the Week.