I know £5bn is pretty small potatoes in terms of this Government's waste, but when that amount is illegally netted, probably as a result of Labour's almost hypnotic and unrelenting adherence to the whims of single issue lunatics, one has to wonder who is actually pulling the strings of Government. It certainly doesn't appear to be those who, in a democracy, should have a say.
British American Tobacco has just whipped the Government's backside in court and taken them for £1.2bn.
Europe's biggest cigarette maker said a preliminary judgement found it should not have paid UK tax on dividends received from European subsidiaries.
The judge said that HM Revenue and Customs should refund the tax paid on the dividends plus other bills.
The total cost of this test case to the exchequor is expected to be in the region of £5bn once all the other companies who have been shafted are repaid. Just what we need right now. Stack that in the National Debt alongside the other trillion, Mr Darling.
This is the problem with believing crap fed by anti-smoking organisations. They lie. A lot. And if you listen to them that much and actually believe their nonsense, you become indoctrinated. Before you know it, you are taxing perfectly legal companies for perfectly legal, and non-taxable, practices, on the basis that "no-one will mind, ASH told us they were nasty and the whole world is with us" (not verbatim obviously).
Actually, no, we are not. We wish a Government to be all things to all men and women who vote. This is obviously difficult, but at least there should be some effort made for those who are in a minority. We are sorely used to the disgraceful way that smokers themselves are treated but now, it seems, Labour feel that they are able to inflict taxes on the manufacturers themselves without any recourse to proper tax regulations.
I don't know whether to laugh at the Government because they have been caught out taxing on the basis of prejudice, or that it is a contravention of an EU directive that has made them pay it all back.
UPDATE: I thought something rang a bell. It seems Labour's financial crapness at the behest of the righteous has appeared here before.