Working for Peter Hain is going to be something you would rather not have on your CV, so it can’t be easy for Matthew. Let this be a warning to all uppity snotty SpAds…
Later this morning Ken will announce that big-engine cars in the centre of London are so grave a threat to life as we know it, that they will be charged £25 per day to exist. The new congestion-cum-enviro-cum-spite charge will be called the Emissions Related Congestion Charge – ERCC
However, it has been established that the massive jams and diesel-fired pollution seen in East and North London does not actually exist. So there will be no need for any extension of the charging zone….
Guido suspects that Spencer doesn’t think Osborne’s own plans for non-doms are so brilliant either, he implausibly says the Tory version of the policy was “broadly welcomed” when he took City soundings. Broadly welcomed by whom?
Phil Hammond is defending the plans rather meekly, whereas Michael Fallon, a Tory member of the Treasury Select Committee, tells the FT bluntly “Chasing non-doms out of London is a huge mistake … Why do we want to lose all that business to Luxembourg or Dublin or Geneva?”
The US Embassy has made their view known and is lobbying hard to persuade the Treasury to change the wording of its legislation to ensure the charge falls within the scope of the double taxation treaty. The Chancellor’s plans will actually cost the Treasury money, according to a study by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners: the £30,000 annual levy will cost £2.1 billion a year as many residents will leave the country. The 116,000 non-doms are mostly not tycoons but bank, hedge fund and private equity staff who bring investment and prosperity. The problem for the Tories with having their policy stolen by Gordon is that they can’t attack his even worse version without highlighting the problems with their own. The Treasury and Osborne should realise that the elasticity in the Laffer Curve applies even more to foreigners.
Is it part of the not-another-relaunch “Brown Phase 2” that Riddell is waffling about this morning? Is it just a “There May Be Trouble Ahead, Lets Figure Out Our Excuses Unit”? Enquiring bloggers want to know…
Is this a good sign for the blues?
Politically motivated mud throwing, technical reporting error / potentially honest mistake.
Definitely dodgy, unethical rule bending
Potentially fraudulent or criminal activity
Purnell Fiddles Primary Residence to Dodge Tax
This is the classic property trick by politicians. Claim the mortgage subsidy allowance by saying your London home is your second home and the constituency home is your primary residence. When the MP comes to sell the London property this is a problem, only primary residences qualify to escape capital gains tax. Guido highlighted the primary/second home trick in December 2005 (see Four Lords a Fiddlin’). Guido is not going to give Purnell three pigs for fraudulent misrepresentation because he is so slippery he probably would escape prosecution.
David Davis Campaign Donation Declared by Lieutenants
A businessman who gave £20,000 to “essentially” support Basher Davis’ bid for the Tory crown had his donation declared by Andrew Mitchell and Nick Herbert. They say they used the money to support a researcher who worked on the Davis campaign.
Multi-Millionaire Paxman Pays Staff Below Minimum Wage
Well, well, well – according to his ex-staff he paid them £200 for a forty hour week, gave them no payslips, no contract and no agreed holidays. He treated them with his characteristic arrogance and high handedness. Answer the question Paxo – Did you pay tax and national insurance on their wages? The Screws story also re-hashes some of his affairs.
Peers Fiddle Tens of Thousands in Allowances
Labour peer Baroness Billingham, who has a flat in Hampstead and a country house in Suffolk claimed £26,983 in 2006-07 in overnight allowances inexplicably. Another Labour peer and former senior trade unionist Lord Brett, who lists his address in Who’s Who as a flat in Dolphin Square declares his main residence as his home in Cumbria allowing him to claim £27,887 last year. This scam is outright fiddling which Guido pointed to years ago.
Michael Ancram Claims £20,000 to Paint House
Yet more piggery, the multi-millionaire 13th Marquess of Lothian and Earl, Michael Ancram explains that the taxpayer had to paint his property and remove moss from the garden. Why?
Woolas got backing from Ann Cryer, Labour MP for Keighley, who described Pakistani culture as medieval. “This is to do with a medieval culture where you keep wealth within the family… If you go into a paediatric ward in Bradford or Keighley you will find more than half of the kids there are from the Asian community. Since Asians only represent 20%-30% of the population, you can see that they are over represented.”
The fact that MPs can claim expenses of £250 without a receipt has already been greeted with widespread incredulity. The fact we learnt today is likely to be greeted with even more. MPs can, apparently, also claim £400 a month for food without receipts.
Guido actually reported (MPs Get Fat on Your Taxes) the £20 per diem allowance back in October 2005. Do try to keep up Nick…
UPDATE :It is worth reading in full Sam Coates’ write-up of the Information Commissioner’s tribunal where the parliamentary resources director tries to justify not letting us know how MPs spend public money feathering their nests.
UK helps Liberia take big step towards debt clearance
The UK today assisted Liberia in taking a big step towards poverty reduction by helping it clear the arrears on debt it owes….
Alistair Darling went on to boast about how great this was for Liberia, which he described as a “HIPC”, a Heavily Indebted Poor Country. The 3 million inhabitants of Liberia have a government debt of $4.5 billion dollars, some £2.3 billion pounds or £767 per head.
Yesterday the ONS added £52 billion to the PSBR for Northern Rock taking the government’s admitted debts to 42% of GDP, busting Gordon’s already fiddled 40% golden rule. Gordon claims government debts stand at £536 billion, add in his off balance sheet fiddles like £725 billion of public sector pensions, £110 billion in payments due to companies in the next three decades under PFI and £18 billion of debt held by Network Rail and the figure is nearer £1.4 trillion, which is well over 100% of GDP. Now add on the private debts of credit card maxed-out Britons and the total debt is something like £2.7 trillion. Over £100,000 per household in Britain.
Which makes it seem very odd that Alistair Darling is bailing out the heavily indebted poor Liberians who have a tiny fraction of the debts that Labour has run up for Britons.
The killer line in the Electoral Commission’s determination is:
In respect of a possible offence under Section 56, the Commission has concluded that, while Wendy Alexander did not take all reasonable steps in seeking to comply with the relevant legislation, she did take significant steps. Having considered all the circumstances, the Commission has decided that it is not appropriate or in the public interest to report this matter to the Procurator Fiscal.”