It’s a pretty rare event nowadays that someone stands up in the Commons and asks the Chancellor to cut taxes, even more so when the question comes from the opposition Labour benches. Guido was surprised to learn that the shadow climate change minister, lovely Luciana Berger, suggested George Osborne should accelerate plans to cut tax for property developers back in October 2010:
“To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to make entrepreneurs’ relief from capital gains tax available to those who rent out property in the private rented sector.”
A tax cut for property developers, an interesting idea you might think. Could this sudden bout of entrepreneur friendly policy advocacy possibly be anything to do with the fact that Luciana trousered a £4,000 donation months earlier from one Anwar Ansari, a property developer? In June 2010 a property developer bungs Luciana several thousand pounds, then only a few months later she stands up in the House and asks the Chancellor to give property developers a tax break. Coincidence?
What’s more, Berger’s CLP then pocketed another £2,500 just a few months down the line from Allerton Priory LLP, a holding company for a property portfolio run by the Hanlons, a father and son property development duo. Could there possibly be a link between these generous donations from property developers and Luciana lobbying the government to cut their taxes? Once is a coincidence, twice is a case for the standards committee…