Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hodge in Hypocrisy Shocker

The Department for Education are putting about a classic case of Margaret Hodge double standards this morning. Hodge has been spinning hard following today’s National Audit Office report on free schools, which it said had “achieved clear progress”. Hectoring Hodge bleats that “The Department has got to be much more rigorous about how it assesses applications for free schools and prioritises need and value for money”. For some reason she isn’t quite so negative when the free school in question is in her own constituency. 

In April last year Hodge was telling local voters that, actually, she thought the government should go even further on free schools – wait for it – asking for an extra £25 million to fund a new free school in her constituency. She explained her strong support for free schools by saying “the children of the borough deserve the best possible education”. So Margaret Hodge really doesn’t like free schools, especially the cost, unless they are in her own constituency that is…

UPDATE: All kicking off between Hodge and Liz Truss. Hodge accuses Truss of “deliberate misrepresentation”, while a spokesperson for Truss hits back:

“Margaret Hodge’s comments on school places in Barking are misleading. The DfE is providing Barking with £140 million for new school places in all types of schools, not just free schools and academies. This is more than double the amount given by the previous government and is separate to the £25 million free school Margaret Hodge campaigned for in her constituency. The truth is she has been found out saying one thing to her constituents and another to the rest of the country.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Margaret Hodge and Streamlined Benefit Payments

Another day and another chance for Margaret Hodge to enjoy some prime-time grilling at the Public Accounts Committee. Today it is the turn of DWP Permanent Secretary Robert Devereux, who is set to be hauled over the coals over Universal Credit. Deveraux’s career rests on whether he can explain why he signed off £34 million on abandoned IT systems and disprove allegations that he oversaw a culture of secrecy at his department that stopped civil servants giving politicians the whole picture. Fingers are being pointed at the mandarin, though Labour are adamant that IDS should be blamed instead. 

Hodge would be wise to remember that her party had problems of their own in government when it comes to benefit reform. In 2006 they cancelled a similar plan to streamline payments through the Benefits Processing Replacement Programme, but only after they had spent £140 million on IT for this “key strategic initiative”. They later had to admit they had somehow managed to spend another £10 million on it after the programme had been cancelled. So who was the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform at the time? Step forward Margaret Hodge.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hodge Blames Gordon For Vodafone Tax Dodge

Margaret Hodge isn’t wasting any opportunity to bleat about the £84 billion Vodafone/Verizon deal today:

“We must demand reassurance that HMRC has thoroughly examined this proposition to ensure British taxpayers get their rightful share of this massive profit. If there’s a flaw in legislation it has to be urgently addressed by Treasury ministers. I don’t understand how anyone can justify such a massive windfall without handing a fair share to the Exchequer. If this is an instance in which Vodafone has simply played the system then clearly they themselves have an obligation to UK consumers, on whom they depend for their business, to do the right thing.”

Flaws in legislation, you say? Well the two companies are exploiting the so-called “Substantial Shareholder Exemption” loophole to legally dodge the tax, the very same loophole used by Guardian Media Group when it sold Autotrader. SSE is a corporation tax exemption for businesses disposing of a substantial shareholding in a part of their business. The idea is that businesses should be able to restructure their businesses without having to worry about chargeable gains implications. And who was it introduced by? One Gordon Brown…

UPDATE: That “flawed tax law” Hodge is complaining about? She voted for it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

UKIP Call on HMRC to Investigate Hodge the Dodge

UKIP economic spokesman Godfrey Bloom has gone after Margaret Hodge, demanding that HMRC “investigate unanswered questions from C4 News, Sky News and Guido Fawkes about her ‘knowledge’ of the tax affairs of her family trust”:

“It beggars belief that Hodge stated that her family company paid ‘every penny’ of the tax it owed although later she admitted that did not know how much tax it actually paid. Yet, this woman is chairman of the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee. Hodge comes in at No 15 on the Times’ Politicians Rich List, with a mere £18m tied up on the family business, which is in a family trust so there is no inheritance tax to pay.  One rule them and one for the rest of the plebs?  I call on HMRC to investigate.”

Always one to help expose tax hypocrisy, here are a few questions HMRC should ask:

  • Why Hodge claimed that “I am a tiny, tiny, tiny shareholder” in Stemcor when her direct shareholding is worth £1.8 million.
  • Why Hodge holds several million pounds more worth of Stemcor shareholdings in trusts.
  • For what purpose Hodge holds these shareholdings in trusts other than to reduce the risk of a future tax liability.

As Hodge the Dodge said herself last week, “I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions…”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hodge the Dodge: Spot the Difference

Compare and contrast Margaret Hodge’s holier-than-thou hectoring for not answering questions with her own non-answers in her Kay Burley interview yesterday. Here is Hodge berating Amazon’s Andrew Cecil at the Public Accounts Committee:

“Well, I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions we ask. We will order somebody to appear before us who does that. It is just not acceptable. I don’t know what you take us for, but we need proper answers to perfectly proper questions, which are trying to establish the economic activity in this country, and therefore what would be a reasonable corporation tax due. That is our job. The idea that you come here and simply do not answer the questions, and pretend ignorance, is just not on. It is awful… I cannot believe you have come without the information-or they have deliberately sent you. We will order somebody who can answer the questions, in public… Dear, dear. Well, we will have to come back to this.”

And here is Hodge’s humiliating exchange on SkyNews yesterday:

MH: I’m not, I’m not, I told you, I’m not, I haven’t, you know I don’t have any dealings with the company day to day.

KB: But you did say that you were confident that every penny that should be paid in tax has been paid in tax. You’ve obviously looked into it?

MH: Yes, I’m confident.

KB: And 0.01% is enough?

MH: No it isn’t 0.01, it’s what they pay, what they pay, the profits they make on the business they transact in the UK.

KB: And how much is that as a percentage of tax?

MH: I, I, I mean I can’t give you that answer.

KB: But you did say that every penny has been paid in tax so presumably you have the figures?

MH: Sorry?

KB: You did say that every penny they should pay in tax has been paid…

MH: I, I also said to you I don’t work for that business. I’m a shareholder. I think you should ask the company if you have any questions.

“Dear, dear. We will have to come back to this”…

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hodge Can’t Dodge Krishnan on C4 News

All credit to Krishnan Guru-Murthy for asking the questions that Guido has been trying to get answered by Margaret Hodge for some time. Persisting even when Hodge threw up a smoke screen about the Telegraph apologising when it screwed up reporting the issues. You be the judge as to how credible you find Margaret Hodge’s answers…

Any tax lawyers who wish to anonymously comment, please do so in the comments or email Guido.Fawkes@order-order.com.

WATCH: Kay Burley Skewers Hodge the Dodge

Margaret Hodge got the full Kay Burley treatment this afternoon. After a day of grandstanding at her committee, she was left spluttering about her 0.01% tax bill. Hodge had the nerve to bring up the newspapers who retracted their own stories about Hodge and tax. She has never asked for a retraction from Guido for the stories that appeared on this blog, nor has she answered our questions about her family’s use of trusts…

Read Guido’s stories and unanswered questions here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hodge Admits Having Phone in Hand

Margaret Hodge has confessed to having her phone in her hand when she knocked a cyclist off his bike, as Guido reported this morning:

“Mrs Hodge had parked her car and the engine was switched off. As she was getting out of the vehicle she struck a cyclist with the car door. She acknowledges that the accident was completely her fault and that she should have been more careful, which she will be in future. She apologised profusely to the cyclist, who was unharmed. They shook hands before he went on his way. Mrs Hodge had her mobile phone in her hand as she left the car but was not using it.”

Presumably she was about to phone her accountant…

Hodge Accused of Knocking Cyclist Off Bike ‘While on Mobile’

20130426-085348.jpg Forget the questions about her tax affairs, here’s one Margaret Hodge didn’t dodge. Labour’s holier-than-thou Public Accounts Committee chairman has been accused of knocking over a cyclist in her car, while opening the door, with her mobile in her hand. Hodge strongly denies being on the phone when the incident happened, though she confesses she did have her mobile in her hand. Mysteriously a witness video by local Tory  by-election candidate Paul Ayer confronting Hodge has been pulled from YouTube this morning and a local news site has been silenced. First Harriet Harman, now Hodge, what is it with Labour’s limousine class?

UPDATE: Tory MP Philip Davies tells Guido: “To avoid any confusion Margaret Hodge should make a statement and clear up exactly what happened.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cosy Relationship Hodge the Dodge Ignores

20130426-085348.jpg Some strong words from Margaret Hodge and the Public Accounts Committee as they release their report on tax avoidance today. Apparently the Big 4 accountancy firms have an “unhealthily cosy relationship with government”, saying it creates a “ridiculous conflict of interest”. Readers will know of Hodge’s great expertise in this area, given that she worked for one of them, Pricewaterhouse, before she became an MP. Not to mention that Hodge’s friends on the frontbench such as Chuka, Balls and Rachel Reeves have all had PwC analysts on their payroll. Guido can reveal that Labour’s Shadow Treasury ministers Chris Leslie and Cathy Jamieson also currently have PwC employees working in their offices. For some reason Hodge hasn’t said anything about this, you might say, cosy relationship, but then she has form for keeping quiet about awkward questions…

UPDATE: Hodge comes in at number 15 on the Times’ Politicians Rich List (£) this morning with a mere £18 million fortune largely tied up in the family Stemcor steel trading business. She told  Michael Crick “I am a tiny, tiny, tiny shareholder”, an 8-figure shareholding is hardly what Guido would call “tiny”. Her shareholding is via family trusts which have the advantage that they won’t be subject to inheritance tax. Cunning.


Seen Elsewhere

UKIP Reshuffles | James Forsyth
David Ruffley’s Future Under Discussion by Tories | BBC
The LibDem’s Jewish Problem | Jeremy Brier
Israeli Ambassador’s Letter to Clegg | Twitter
What Became of Cameron’s Big Society Network? | Indy
SpAd Reshuffle | PR Week
Clegg Under Pressure to Expel Ward | Telegraph
Labour’s Teachers Trained in the Art of Brainwashing | Jago Pearson
R.I.P. John Blundell, Former IEA Director General | Atlas
UKIP Hasn’t Gone Away | ConHome
Ward: I’d Be a Terrorist if I Lived in Gaza | Breitbart


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Sarah Vine writes of Esther McVey…

“McVey told Grazia that she hasn’t married or had children because she ‘never found anyone to wind her biological clock’ … If I remember rightly, half the current Cabinet would have cheerfully ‘wound her clock’ if she’d given them a glimmer of a chance.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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