Review: The Missing Billions

As UK Uncut win their case at the high court to challenge the Goldman Sachs tax deal, Kitty Webster reviews the new documentary 'The Missing Billions'

June 18, 2012
3 min read

Last Wednesday UK Uncut Legal action won the right to challenge the legality of the ‘sweetheart’ deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs, which saw the banking giant avoid paying £20 million in tax. The judge agreed that UK Uncut had ‘an arguable case’ and that it was in the public interest for the deal to be judicially reviewed.

This is an important victory for all those campaigning against the systemic nature of corporate tax-avoidance. An estimated $11 trillion is stashed away in tax havens by the world’s richest (more like the 0.001 per cent than the 1 per cent) to avoid paying tax to national governments. Indeed the Goldman Sachs tax deal is a tiny drop in the ocean of corporate tax avoidance, as a new film produced by UK Uncut’s Daniel Garvin about the impact of the cuts and the alternative shows.

The Missing Billions is a 24-minute documentary interposing hard-hitting facts and figures of tax evasion and the UK coalition government’s cuts with narratives from those affected – from a disabled campaigner describing the devastating reality of cuts for the most vulnerable to those fighting to save public services in their communities. It underlines the unpalatable reality of living in a society governed by a political elite that spends £850 billion bailing out the banks and then forces the public to pay for it.

But it is not all doom and gloom. The Missing Billions highlights both the very real alternative and the struggle that is being fought against the cuts. It demonstrates how, if there was the will from the political elite, there is certainly a way to avoid cuts to public services. In the film John Christensen, of the Tax Justice Network, explains how tax havens represent a fundamental contradiction of globalised capitalism – whilst corporations and the finance industry operate in a deregulated global economy, tax systems are enforced nationally. Thus, multinational companies gain ever increasing profits whilst paying ever diminishing tax bills. In just 24 minutes this film outlines how rather than imposing austerity governments could crack down on tax avoidance and evasion.

The outcome of UK Uncut’s legal case against the £20 million tax avoidance of Goldman Sachs will set a precedent for future legal action against tax evasion. To understand the significance of this case everyone should watch this brilliant new film.

You can watch The Missing Billions here http://vimeo.com/44017057

Visit www.ukuncutlegalaction.org.uk to read more about the campaign, donate to support their legal costs or to order hard copy DVDs of the film.