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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Quote of the Day

Writing in this week’s Spectator Diary, the former Chancellor and Evening Standard editor attempted to encapsulate how Boris operates…

“My children have the measure of our prime minister. A couple of years ago, my son and I went for a lovely Sunday lunch at his house in Oxfordshire — where he has a Kalashnikov mounted on the wall. Boris suggested we play a game. A tug of war, but with a difference. The rope is tied around your waist and the contest takes place across a swimming pool. If you lose you end up in the water, fully clothed.

That’s Johnson for you: fun, inventive but ruthless. I suspect his brother Jo had one ducking too many.”


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