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News & views

Cyprus savings rip-off – couldn’t happen here … but it already did

[20 March 2013] We can obsess as much as we like about how saving-scheme and pension-scheme terms and conditions should be written in plain English. But when the State comes along and tries to steal a chunk of your money as a ‘savings tax’, concerns about the clarity of documents look suspiciously like barking up the wrong tree.

Cyprus residents are feeling the pain now as the big eurozone players seek to force the Cyprus government to filch up to 10% of their savings as the price for bailing out the island’s economy, laid waste as it has been by politicians who bribed the electorate with too much of other people’s money.

So it couldn’t happen here, in financially sound UK, could it? Well we are still borrowing £446,000 a day, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance (click here for its UK Debt Clock). And anyone who had the misfortune to save with Equitable Life, which went pop in 2000, will know that the Government has already stolen 78% of the £4.3billion compensation it should have paid investors for what the ombudsman called its ‘serial regulatory failure’. The Government says this theft is ‘fair’ to taxpayers.

Investors have been sent very clearly worded letters explaining what their proper compensation figure should be, only for a footnote to state with supreme insouciance that they’ll actually receive a measly 22% of their loss.

So think yourself lucky, Cypriots, as your government takes its wonderfully fair and reasonable proportion of your nest-egg.

And wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many of the Cyprus decision-makers extracted their own savings from the banks before the possible tax was announced? Perhaps we’ll eventually be told.

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