As Ed took to the stage the Tories thought they would have some fun with this morning’s Telegraph splash involving John Mills donating in shares rather than cash in order to, allegedly, minimise his tax bill. Osborne has written to the Miliband:
“The Labour Party registered a donation of shares in JML worth £1.65 million in January 2013, from Mr John Mills. By making a donation in shares rather than as a single cash dividend, it has been reported that Mr Mills managed to avoid a potential tax charge of £724,710. Alternatively, it is estimated that to make a donation of £1.65 million in cash Mr Mills would have had to earn £3.1 million, and pay £1.46 million to HM Revenue and Customs.
The tax affairs of individuals are a matter for them and HMRC. My questions are for you and the Labour Party rather than Mr Mills. Can you confirm that the Labour Party advised Mr Mills on how to avoid tax on his donation? As leader of the Labour Party, and given your previous statements on tax avoidance, such actions by your party appear to be directly at odds with your public statements. Most importantly, will you now pass the amount of tax that has been avoided to the Exchequer?”
You can expect the reply to be along the lines of sod off.
And you have to wonder how rattled the Tories are by this welfare shifting speech when they put the Chancellor up to be the attack dog, mid flow…