No, Cameron Did Not Answer Panama Claims in the Past

The news that David Cameron’s father ran an offshore fund which avoided paying UK tax is not new – four years ago the Guardian published an almost identical story revealing the existence of the “entirely legal network of offshore investment funds set up in tax havens such as Panama City”. The old Guardian story noted that since Ian Cameron passed away “it is unclear which family member owns them” because offshore investments are not included in the family will. Then, as today, Downing Street would not comment as it was a “private matter for the family”.

The ‘new’ information in the Panama Papers is just finer detail on the old story, though Cameron’s spokesman still refuses to comment on whether the PM has money invested in the fund, because they have “responded to these allegations in the past”. That isn’t true, last time they refused to give an answer. It is unlikely that Dave is a beneficiary – that would have been a risk tantamount to political suicide and we know he has since not exactly been rolling in it, the Camerons have largely been supported by Samantha’s father’s money in recent years. In the unlikely event it does emerge that the PM is the direct beneficiary of offshore money he would find himself in a situation similar to the Icelandic premier – he would have to go. It’s no good pretending he addressed this in the past, Cameron has the chance to clear this up once and for all…

IFS’s Damning Verdict On Osborne’s Budget

ifs copy

On last year’s £27 billion OBR windfall:

What Mr Osborne didn’t tell us yesterday is that rather than finding £27 billion the OBR lost £56 billion down that same sofa. As it happens, the total loss to the sofa across the two fiscal events is £29 billion.

That loss largely arises from changes in assumptions about future productivity growth feeding in to lower economic growth over the rest of the parliament. If the OBR is right about that we should all be worried. This will lead to lower wages and living standards, not just lower tax revenues for the Treasury.”

On Osborne’s golden public finance rules:

“Mr Osborne had three fiscal rules – the welfare cap; the rule which said debt should fall as a fraction of national income every year; and the rule to get to budget surplus by 2019-20. He broke his welfare cap in November, and it is now broken by a bigger margin. He told us yesterday he is on course to break his debt rule by the end of this month. The surplus rule is the last rule standing.”

On that same subject Dan Jarvis has a good line that “I’ve had goldfish that have lasted longer than Osborne’s rules”….

Tory Fury at Budget’s EU Stealth VAT

osborne EU

The EU-enforced tampon tax causing a cross-party rebellion isn’t the only example of Brussels stealth tax imposed in this Budget. Following a decision by the Court of Justice of the EU in June last year, the 20% VAT rate was also forced upon “energy saving materials”, previously taxed at just 5%. People who want to insulate their homes are being whacked by an EU tax hike. Worth reading John Redwood on this – it has gone down like a cup of cold sick with Tory backbenchers. 

Other areas covered by the EU’s barmy VAT rules include digital services like Netflix, now charged at the place of purchase. Not only this, British digital businesses selling products in EU member states are subject to local VAT rates, for example Croatian, Danish, and Swedish VAT rates of 25%, or even sky-high Hungarian VAT at 27%.

Osborne announced yesterday “We understand that tax affects behaviour. So let’s tax the things we want to reduce”By his own logic, the EU wants to reduce energy efficiency and online businesses…

Cracknell’s Coke Confession

Former Olympic rower James Cracknell, the thinking man’s Sol Campbell, has put his name to a new Policy Exchange report calling for a tax on sugary drinks. Cracknell, PX’s “Senior Research Fellow for Obesity and Physical Activity”, praises Mexico’s tax on sugar-sweetened drinks which caused purchases to fall by 12%, concluding:

“The human misery and drain on the public finances is so great that the government has no option but to intervene… [a sugary drinks tax] is on balance a sensible intervention to help prevent the rise in obesity”

Ironically this nannying tax would hit Cracknell himself. Three years ago, the failed Tory candidate confessed to Men’s Health his two “worst vices“:

“I used to put ketchup on everything… Now I just drink a lot of coke.”

Diet, presumably.

Of course, a tax on sugary drinks would disproportionately hit poorer families. And wouldn’t be noticed by multi-millionaire coke fiends like Cracknell…

H/T Christopher Snowdon

McDonnell’s Partially Published Tax Return

John McDonnell has published part of his tax return, declaring income of £61,575 in the year until April 2015, on which he paid £14,253 tax. Several eagle-eyed tweeters have pointed out that this is less than the £67,000 salary MPs were paid during this period. The discrepancy could possibly be explained by pension contributions, but the Shadow Chancellor’s team are in the Sunday Politics studio and aren’t responding to Guido’s texts. Sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation…

UPDATE: A chartered tax advisor gets in touch:

Either what he has published is a second job or he has been a numpty and put his MP earnings on the wrong page. MPs should use special pages called SA102MP for their MP earnings, not the normal employment pages. If he has used the wrong pages it doesn’t fill you with confidence about his competence to run the UK’s tax system!

hmp

So is it fakery or foolery from McDonnell?

UPDATE II: McDonnell now says he has published his “full tax return”, which was filled out by an accountant and can be viewed as a PDF here. Pension contributions do indeed account for the missing £5,000. Though where is his SA102MP form as required for MPs? HMRC say that form must be used if you were:

  • a Member of Parliament (MP)
  • a Minister in the House of Commons
  • a Minister in the House of Lords We deal with MPs and Ministers tax records separately.

He still has until midnight if he has forgotten…

Corbyn Guru Plugs ‘Joy of Tax’ Chez Ashcroft

Anglia Ruskin University are very excited to announce a series of free public lectures taking place on campus this autumn, where Corbyn economics guru and Cameron joke fodder Richard Murphy will “share his Joy of Tax”. According to the press release, loony left blogger Murphy “is credited with shaping Corbyn’s economic strategy, also advises trade unions on tax policy. He is the author of The Joy of Tax and a founder of the Tax Justice Network”. The contents of the lecture will not exactly be kind to, say, former Belize-based tax exile non-doms. Appropriate, then, that it “will take place on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus in the Lord Ashcroft Building”…

Shock: Labour Back Cut in Corporation Tax

“We believe that we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to corporations,” says Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. So Guido is not sure what he is going to make of his party supporting the Tories’ corporation tax cut in the Finance Bill debate last night. In a curious exchange between Treasury minister David Gauke and his shadow Barbara Keeley, Labour strangely backed the move:

Barbara Keeley: “Labour is in favour of support for businesses, which is what we need to discuss as we consider the clause. We want to help British businesses to invest in the UK and to enable long-term investment. We will support the corporation tax measures…”

David Gauke: “I begin by welcoming the support of the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South for the reduction in corporation tax… I certainly give way to the hon. Lady, who can confirm her party’s and, indeed, the shadow Chancellor’s support for this measure.”

Barbara Keeley: “I do not think it would be my place to confirm the shadow Chancellor’s support for the measure…”

David Gauke: “I note that the hon. Lady said that although she is able to make a statement about party policy as the Labour party Front Bencher in this Committee, neither the leader of her party nor the shadow Chancellor are in a position to do so. If that is the way the Labour party operates, that is one for that party, curious though it might be to the rest of us.”

The question of “Rate of corporation tax for financial years 2017-2020” – i.e. to be cut to 18% – was then put and agreed to.

Wonder what McDonnell makes of that!

Corbynomics Guru Gets Brillo’d

Obscure tax blogger and Twitter eccentric Richard Murphy is now unofficially advising Corbyn on his economic policy. Readers will remember Guido’s past stories on the hypocritical ‘tax justice’ campaigner, well today he got Brillo’d on the Daily Politics:

Including such gems as:

“One of the ideas I’ve got is to create modest amounts of inflation…

At the moment I would add to the deficit…”

Coming soon to a Tory attack ad near you…

Douglas Carswell v Owen Jones

Douglas Carswell wasn’t going to let Owen Jones get away with saying “I want to pay more tax”…

Who does he think he is, Charlotte Church?[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

How Sugar Tax Would Affect You

sugar tax

Prohibitionist doctors from the British Medical Association have published a report demanding an extra 20% tax on sugary drinks in order to fight obesity. Including VAT, that would raise tax on a can of deliciously refreshing coke to a whopping 40%…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Osborne Spectacularly Trolls Renewable Industry

Osborne’s Budget announcement that green energy producers will no longer be exempt from the Climate Change Levy is driving the renewable industry into meltdown. The levy used to only apply to non-renewable energy but, in a spectucular trolling exercise, now businesses have to pay this green tax even if they are purchasing green energy:

Caroline Lucas: “We’ve seen yet another example of reckless short-term policy making that prioritises the profits of polluters over the public interest in a safe and habitable climate”

RenewableUK: “It’s another example of this government’s unfair, illogical and obsessive attacks on renewables”

Greenpeace: “This will make it more expensive for business to buy electricity from renewable power.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Bob Crow’s Memorial Tax

BOB-CROW-MEMORIAL-TAX

The cut in housing benefit for under-occupied state housing was mis-named by Labour as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, for want of a snappier description. The official title of ‘Spare Room Subsidy’ was by comparison an also-ran. Despite being a benefit reduction the ‘Bedroom tax’ became the standard title used by the BBC…

Labour might call George Osborne’s proposal to make higher earners living in state housing pay market rates a ‘tax on success’ or an ‘aspiration tax’ or some such.[…] Read the rest

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Gordon’s Tax and Benefits Mess

tax+benefits

According to an ONS release today the mythical average household is £31 better off after taxes and benefits are taken into account. Think about all the complexities of tax collection collection and benefit calculation, the bureaucracy and time wasted. It really is time for a lower, flatter, simpler, single income tax…

The statistics also confirm that after 5 years of “we’re all in it together” that Osborne has raised taxes on the richest 20% and reduced the burden on the poorest 20%.  […] Read the rest

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Voice of Angel to Critics: “Hopefully Your Dick Will Fall Off”

church

Charlotte Church spent her Saturday marching with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – whose aims include “increasing taxes on the super-rich” and “closing tax loopholes”.

As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, this is the same Cardiff crooner who is the director of five companies all registered to the London address of Thomas Harris Accountants.[…] Read the rest

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Charlotte Church U-Turns on 70% Tax Pledge

church2

Charlotte Church’s mission to be reborn as a poundshop Russell Brand continues. The singer yesterday told an End Austerity Now protest that she would happily pay 70% income tax if it were to improve public services. In 2010 was reported to be worth £11 million.[…] Read the rest

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EU Forces Elected Government to Renege on Queen’s Speech Promise

queen eu

The government will be forced to back track on their Queen’s Speech promise not to raise VAT following a European decree. The decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union to ban the UK’s 5% rate of VAT on the supply and installation of energy-saving materials will force the government to raise VAT to the standard 20% rate.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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