Tax Media Centre?

This is a response to Jolyon Maugham’s blog yesterday


in which he questions George Osborne’s claim that the sale of these assets has made a profit for the UK taxpayer, given the likely use of Irish SPVs by the buyer.

The comments are also worth reading, which as with most on Jolyon’s blog, appear to come from others who are also tax experts. But as someone who, in this company, is definitely not a tax expert, even if with enough of a finance background to appreciate this from those comments

an IRR based approach would be more relevant bearing in mind the nature of the assets

I have a suggestion to make.

Can we have a Tax Media Centre?

I’m thinking here of the Science Media Centre,

an independent press office helping to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines

which I know of thanks to my sister being one of its signed up experts, thanks to which she was contacted by the journalist writing this story

Experts attack claims that bacon is ‘as big a cancer threat as smoking’

Explaining tax has some fundamental differences to explaining science, because what is to be explained is not something ultimately tested by experiment, but the internal workings of the black box which has emerged from the interaction of various different tax regimes, which would require something rather more complex than the “eight digit pocket calculator” Jolyon refers to in his blog.


  1. It is engineering, not science. But unlike real engineering, nobody seems to mind too much if its design is undocumented, its user interface is incomprehensible, and its working unpredictable.

    That’s because it is built by politicians who are not qualified to build things.

    1. Aren’t the life sciences at least just trying to document some real engineering, but which comes with no documentation because it was not designed?

      And science, engineering and design about providing the documentation after the event, and from there developing some user interfaces to make the outcomes more predictable?

      I’d suggest that’s exactly what we like to achieve with tax policy!

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