Osborne Demands Explanation Over Civil Service

Last night’s employment of Treasury Civil Servants in the production of a rapid rebuttal Labour party press release by Alastair Darling has not go unnoticed by George Osborne. He has written a complaint dressed up as a query;

Dear Permanent Secretary,

On 30th April 2007, the then Economic Secretary, Ed Balls MP told the House of Commons, “Information is not held on overseas income and gains that do not give rise to a tax liability in the UK.”

As the then Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo MP told the House on 8th March 2007, this is because non-doms are not required to disclose this information: “In general, individuals do not have to inform HMRC of their foreign income or gains unless this is relevant to their UK tax liability.”

Last night, the Labour Party distributed a press release which stated: “The Treasury’s initial estimate, on best information available, is that just 15,000 current non-domicile residents have foreign income in excess of £62,000.”

I am writing to ask you to explain why it is the case that information which the Treasury refused to give to Parliament appears to have been given to the Labour Party. Or, will you confirm that the statement made to Parliament this Spring remains the case.

As I am sure you agree, it is essential that the principle of civil service impartiality is not jeopardised, particularly during this period of speculation about a forthcoming general election.

I would be grateful if you could reply to me with an explanation, by this evening.

Yours sincerely

George Osborne
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

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