Blunkett’s Tax Bill Problems

David Blunkett resigned in disgrace on 15 December last year, losing his ministerial trappings along with his ministerial salary. His salary dropped from £130,347 to a mere £57,485. Just as well that he gets a £15,000 a year rental income from his London home in Wimbledon, supplemented by the £10,000 he has trousered in the last two months as an adviser to Indepen Consulting Ltd.

Guido thinks it unusual that he was able, presumably it was authorised, to take a private sector position with Whitehall lobbyists only a month after resigning as a minister, the ministerial code specifies a three month cooling off period for ex-ministers. It is even more eyebrow-raising given that some of Indepen Consulting’s clients possibly stand to earn billions out of ID cards and the information systems for the proposed central population register.

Although Blunkett has his London home in Wimbledon, he still lives in the rather more grand, government-owned, £3m Belgravia pad in South Eaton Terrace that came as a grace and favour residence for the Home Secretary. Why he can’t move back to Wimbledon is not clear (the weekend retreat on the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth Estate is still handy for trysts when not at his Handsworth constituency pied à tierre nearer the proles constituents). Guido’s bean-counting accountant calculates that the taxable ‘benefit-in-kind’ that he has incurred on the Belgravia property since resigning is to date £20,750. Even more if he isn’t paying his own household bills. Given Blunkett’s amnesia with forms, I shall be reminding him of the updated figure until the last date for tax returns, or until he returns to Cabinet. Not going to be easy on his backbench pay…

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