Readers' letters: Murray’s lessons on royal tax avoidance

Ian Murray (News, June 2) advises the First Minister to learn from the Queen’s example. Would that be her example of avoiding tax?

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 4th June 2022, 7:00 am

The 2017 Paradise Papers revealed the Queen’s estate stashed $13.1 million into offshore tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The Royal family is not exactly hurting for funds, given they receive an annual £67m from the UK taxpayer and £20m in income from her private £534m Duchy of Lancaster fund.

Some of the Queen’s offshore tax haven funds were invested in Brighthouse, a company supplying TVs and washing machines to poor people at extortionate interest rates, that British regulators fined $20m for overcharging and targeting people with mental health problems and learning disabilities.

There’s more. The Queen can influence draft government legislation via ‘queen’s consent’. Despite laws keeping communications between the Queen and her advisors secret, the Guardian uncovered National Archive documents from 1973 showing the Queen’s personal solicitor lobbied civil servants to change a draft law to prevent the public from learning her UK shareholdings. Withholding her consent stymies the bill.

On at least three other occasions the Queen intervened on laws regarding road safety, national monuments and private land leasing where she thought her private interests would be adversely impacted.

So much for public service. No wonder support for the monarchy is just 45 per cent in Scotland.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Helping us to beat Parkinson’s disease

During her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Her Majesty The Queen will be shining a light on volunteers in the UK. And at Parkinson's UK, we will be waving our flags to mark the extraordinary work of our volunteers.

Parkinson's UK will mark Volunteers' Week, which runs until Tuesday,with its annual Volunteering Awards to thank those who have worked to change lives of people with Parkinson’s, their loved ones and those who care for them, and help us advance in our quest for a cure.

There are currently 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK and it is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. In the UK over a million people’s lives are affected by it. Our 3500 volunteers are at the centre of everything we do in Parkinson's UK.

Head to parkinsons.org.uk/volunteering for more information and to nominate your superhero.

Stephen Hill, Parkinson’s UK.

Census fiasco sums up SNP approach

When the dust has settled and future historians can look back in detail on the work of the SNP/Green administration at present in control in Scotland, by far the biggest catastrophe – and there are unfortunately many to choose from – will I am sure be the self-inflicted mess-up of the ten-yearly Census.

It now looks as if the returns, if and when they come, will be so late as to be meaningless. It is impossible not to think of ferries and shipyards and running railways and buying airports et al.

The Census was turned into a nationalist shibboleth and an attempt to emphasise differences between us and our fellow-islanders, even to the point of being taken at a different time and being virtually unable to declare that a person is Scottish and British and with some very intrusive personal questions of little evident relevance.

This disaster was brought about by incompetence and a one-issue outlook on all our affairs.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

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