Recently I was contacted by a fellow radio freelancer based in London, Naomi Fowler, about her new project. It’s called The Taxcast, and it’s a monthly podcast about the thorny issue of tax evasion.
Sounds a bit dry? It’s anything but.
The first program was quite an eye opener. It explains what offshore banks really are (clue: they don’t have to be islands!) and revealed the scale of the “tax gap.” – the gap between how much tax the exchequer should be receiving, and how much it actually receives. According to Richard Murphy, a campaigner and tax expert interviewed by Naomi on the show, there’s about £70 billion in illegal tax evasion, £25 billion in legal tax avoidance, and £25 billion in late payments in the UK – enough in total to fund the whole of the NHS.
As well as being informative, the show managed to make an important but potentially dry and technical subject entertaining – each show starts with a round-up of the latest tax evasion headlines, and the shows theme tune is a jazzy tune reminiscent of the roaring twenties – perhaps a deliberate musical reference to the excess that preceeded the last great depression?
Check out the website, or follow @tackletaxhavens on twitter for the latest Taxcast news. And if you run a radio station or write a blog, and want to feature the Taxcast, get in touch with naomi [at] taxjustice.net.