This morning Guido named and shamed Treasury minister David Gauke – in his own words – as “morally repugnant” to be criticising others for their tax arrangements, but it doesn’t stop there. It turn’s out that Gauke’s wife Rachel is a professional support lawyer for Lexis Nexis, a company which boasts of its ability to “support every tax practitioner on the front line as they deal with the tax collector“. According to her personal profile Rachel “specialises in corporate tax law…and has advised on corporate restructurings, M&A, investment funds and finance“. Sounds like it an awkward weekend in the Gauke household…
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke writing in The Times this morning says that they are going to name and shame tax dodgers. He also gives examples of what is fair and what is not:
Legitimate use of reliefs, for example taking out a tax-free ISA, is not tax avoidance. Buying a house for personal use through a company to avoid stamp duty, on the other hand, clearly is. Morally repugnant practices such as this are where the Government is cracking down.
David Gauke MP claimed £10,248.32 expenses back from taxpayers to avoid paying the stamp duty and fees involved in the purchase of his home in London. Not only is that in his own words “morally repugnant”, it is beyond hypocritical to lecture others against doing what he himself did. It is shameless.
On the day that the consultation into union-leeches is launched, Unison have put out a report about facilities time. In a complete shock the union-funded research has found that unions taking money off the taxpayer can only be a good thing. Needless to say it’s full of holes, but nice of them to show their hand…
Dave Prentis’ cronies are arguing that union bods in the workplace save money. This is fundamentally dishonest as it only takes into account one side of the picture. For every full-time pilgrim teacher, nurse or back-room pen-pusher that takes time off, the taxpayer has to pick up the tab twice by paying someone else to cover for them. For full-time pilgrims, the state ends up paying double the staffing costs.
This is not factored in to Unison’s hearsay case-study puff piece.
The consultation does not seek to end union officials being given time off, but the real question that needs to be addressed is why they should be paid out of public money when they are not on the job? Union members pay membership fees, the cost of pilgrims should be met from that.
It’s very simple.
UPDATE: It seems it is pilgrim day today. Cabinet Office sources are making all sorts of new information available this afternoon:
- In one Whitehall department a staggering 2,660 Civil Servants were doing trade union work during their paid hours, including 563 trade union representatives working on Health & Safety, and another 387 on Skills and Learning.
- A prison service official who worked 100% on trade union work was “promoted twice whilst in their trade union role, up to Grade 7 level” which can confer a salary of up to £61,038.
- In contrast another 100% trade union representative in a different department earned less than £20,000.
- In one department TU officials make up 4% of the overall workforce or 1 in 25 people.
- One department admitted that “no formal allocations [had been] made or central records kept” of the amount of time spent by representatives on some union activity, while another confessed that “no central monitoring takes place”.
- Only one department reported that they asked each representative “to apply to, and get the sign off from, the line manager in advance for the time they require” to take off – insisting that “reasonable notice (usually min 10 days)” must be given.
- Several departments reported that they held “no central record” of the numbers of representatives working on Health & Safety or Skills & Learning.
Overall there are a staggering 10,000 civil servants doing trade union work during paid hours, that’s 1 in 40 of the total civil service workforce. Unbelievable…
George Osborne’s Treasury has wreaked revenge on high-earning hookers after a £1,000-a-night tart was jailed over a £120,000 tax fraud. Donna Asutaits will go down for 16 months after being found guilty of evading taxes over a two year period in which she earned over £300,000. UKuncut will be happy…
Osborne is responsible for the HMRC cracking down on high-earning tax evaders, demanding that high-class call girls pay a whopping 45% of their earnings, making him the harshest and most lucrative pimp in Britain. Guido can’t imagine how George ever got involved in such a sordid business…
France’s socialist president François Hollande visited David Cameron at Downing Street today, but the afternoon press conference turned into a bit of an embarrassment for Dave as his opposite number threw up a few surprises from the right of the PM. Not only did Hollande promise he wouldn’t tax second homes owned by Britons south of the Channel, but he taunted George Osborne’s top rate of income tax as too left-wing:
He’ll be calling for an EU referendum next…
Guido hears that Rupert Murdoch’s decision to separate News Corporation’s money-making arm from its publishing arm left senior employees completely in the dark as to what lies in store for the future of the company. Chatting to News Corp employees last night, Guido was told chaos is reaching such a stage that hacks are only half joking when they say they have had to establish shadow newsrooms where the ultimate scoop is finding out whether or not they will be keeping their jobs. Talk about rogue reporters…
Guido also put it to them that News Group, the UK newspaper wing of the business, doesn’t pay any tax. The denial was pretty damning:
“Look, The Sun is the only paper that makes a profit, The Times loses money every day of the week. It’s pretty hard to pay any tax when you’re haemorrhaging money like that. The print media is on the way out, for sure.”
Did someone say dead tree press?
Yesterday it was the Tories advising their top donors on how to avoid tax through a controversial “legacy” scheme. The story had considerable traction and unsurprisingly provoked considerable outrage among Labour MPs:
Guido can now reveal that the Labour Party offers an almost identical scheme to help its supporters dodge inheritance tax as well. Labour’s “Leave a Legacy” programme offers advice on three different methods of leaving money to the party, even going as far as to suggest clever a legalistic wording of donors’ wills in order to minimise tax liability:
Labour have led the way on bashing tax dodgers, with everyone from the shadow cabinet to the backbenches queuing up to stick the boot in. Starting with trigger-happy tweeter Steve McCabe, Guido wonders what they have to say about their own party being directly involved in a tax avoidance scheme. They call that red-handed…
Dave might think that Jimmy Carr is morally repugnant but that has not stopped the Tories from advising their wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. The Conservative Foundation, an organisation run by an array of Tory grandees and city types, is offering donors the chance to dodge inheritance tax through a scheme in which they leave a “legacy” to the Tory party. The scheme promises to “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers, while its website explains how to take advantage of rules allowing tax-free donations to political parties. Although the scheme appears to have been set up on the quiet it is startlingly open about its intentions:
Cameron was always going to be a hostage to fortune over tax avoidance, now he faces the inevitable dilemma of having to deal with questions about his party’s wealthy financiers. He’s hardly making it easy for himself.