Shadow Chancellor Sold Out on 100% Top Rate of Tax

mcdonnell

These days John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are aligned with the right-wing capitalist running dogs of the Labour Party on income tax, favouring a 50% top rate. This is yet another policy position on which they have massively sold out. Just five years ago McDonnell’s pamphlet for the Trotskyite group Permanent Revolution, which Guido yesterday revealed included calls to arm the working class, demanded a 100% top rate of income tax for the richest in Britain. As well as a further 50% wealth tax to appropriate half their assets.

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From full communism to Miliband-lite as soon as he became Shadow Chancellor…

Retail Sales Surge #DespiteBrexit

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Retail sales surged in October, up 7.4% on last year and 2% on the previous month. How are the Remain media reporting the news? Here’s the Indy:

“Retail sales surged by 1.9 per cent in October, far outstripping City analysts’ expectations and showing continued strength of household consumption despite the Brexit vote.”

The Guardian:

“Official figures chimed with other indicators suggesting consumers have largely shrugged off the Brexit vote and defied gloomy predictions before the EU referendum.”

The BBC:

“The figures suggest consumer confidence remains robust in the face of uncertainty caused by Brexit.”

Bloomberg:

“The figures suggest the British consumer remains in robust health after driving the economy to unexpectedly strong growth in the three months following the decision to leave the European Union.”

Economists’ forecasts for the retail sales figures were close to 100% off. Experts…

Hedge Funds’ Dan Banks Another £20,000 From City Tycoon

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Dan Jarvis really doesn’t like it when you ask him about his hedge fund backers – trousering cash from City tycoons doesn’t fit with his carefully crafted image as a man-of-the-people who can unite Labour. Well, Action Dan has just banked another £20,000 cheque from Martin Taylor, a shady Mayfair hedgie and anti-Corbyn Labour moderate. Jarvis has had almost £60,000 off Taylor and a total of nearly £100,000 from City and business donors over the last few months, which is a lot of money for a lowly backbench MP. Ammo for the Corbynistas when Jarvis ends up spending hedge fund cash on his future leadership bid…

Vaz to Scrutinise Unexplained Wealth Laws

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Today’s Sun reports Keith Vaz has been appointed a member of the Criminal Finance Bill committee despite being under active police investigation. As Guido reported last month, Vaz’s role will include helping to scrutinise new plans to strengthen so-called Unexplained Wealth Orders, anti-corruption laws where assets can be seized if owners are unable to explain how they were funded. This is something of personal significance to Vaz, who in 2012 was subject to another police investigation which found up to £500,000 of funds believed to have been “of a suspicious nature” were paid into current and savings accounts in his name or linked to him:

“There are numerous unexplained payments into the accounts and large transfers between accounts that require further investigation… the level of funds received … are of a suspicious nature”

Vaz did not declare where the money came from. At one point detectives claimed £28,959 in cash was paid into an HSBC account held by Vaz, with no explanation. This is all without mentioning the mystery behind Vaz’s £4 million global property empire, which he has also never explained how he has been able to afford. Vaz is now scrutinising laws on unexplained wealth…

Baroness Scotland’s New Loo Seat Cost £307

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Baroness Scotland charged the taxpayer £307 for a new loo seat in a bathroom in her Mayfair home which cost £24,000 to refurbish. She has also admitted spending thousands to paint six rooms with top-of-the-range Farrow & Ball paint, despite previously dismissing reports as “outright lies, half-truths and innuendo”. Scotland spins in today’s Times that she was “furious about some of the money spent”, yet leaked emails show it was her staff who complained to her about the costs and pleaded with her to reduce her demands. In the email below the most senior Commonwealth official notes it is Scotland who “wants her bathroom completely done” and says the paint was her priority:

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Makes a complete mockery of Scotland’s previous statements. Remember her promise: “There has been no extravagance…”

Khan’s Troll Aide Paid Via Company, Pays No Income Tax

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Sadiq Khan’s new part-time aide and full-time internet troll is to receive her City Hall income through a personal service company. Amy Lame, who has attacked Amazon and Boris Johnson over supposed tax avoidance, paid no income tax last year.

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The Sunday Times reports Lame, real name Amy Caddle, will be paid her taxpayer-funded £35,000 salary for two days work a week via Amy Lame Ltd, allowing her to pay corporation tax rather than income tax despite being a public servant. Amy Lame Ltd is registered to an address in North London’s desirable Mecklenburgh Square, where a flat costs over a million quid. This appointment stinks – Lame is a completely unqualified z-list comedian who has been rewarded for her Labour fundraising with a fake job funded by the taxpayer. And despite her previous virtue signalling is now being allowed to take her salary in a highly tax efficient way…

Guy News Visits Baroness Scotland’s Mayfair Mansion

During her Today programme interview last week, Baroness Scotland invited listeners into her Mayfair home to show she was telling the truth that there is “no extravagance”. Guy News took her up on her offer…

PM Demands Answers From Baroness Scotland

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Theresa May has broken her silence on Baroness Scotland, demanding answers and insisting the Commonwealth Secretariat needs “reform”. The PM has said during her trip to India:

“The UK is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth – we believe as an organisation it has a role to play in dealing with shared challenges around the world such as human rights. We believe it does need to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. That means there does need to be reform of the secretariat. For Baroness Scotland, of course she needs to respond to the allegations that have been made. She will be judged on how she delivers on that need for reform for the Commonwealth secretariat to be operating effectively and efficiently.”

Baroness Scotland told Today she had the PM’s full support. Doesn’t sound like it. Have May’s furious Indian counterparts raised the recent revelations?

Baroness Scotland Does Not Deny Claiming Phantom School Fees

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Baroness Scotland does not deny claiming a taxpayer-funded school fees allowance for her adult children. The astonishing claim was made by a senior Commonwealth official in an internal complaint about Baroness Scotland’s “revised salary package”. According to Ram Venuprasad’s complaint, published below, Baroness Scotland demanded she was paid an “educational allowance” for her children. Guido has tracked down Baroness Scotland’s children – they are both grown up. There is no conceivable justification for either of them needing an “educational allowance” – unlike her predecessors who had school age children. 

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Over the course of the last week, Guido has repeatedly asked Baroness Scotland’s press office if they deny she is being paid an educational allowance. They refuse to deny it and do not contest the claim. This is the most shocking revelation so far – Baroness Scotland does not deny claiming a taxpayer-funded educational allowance despite her adult children having finished their education. Was she claiming to send them to Hogwarts?

Baroness Scotland Speaks: Extravagance? What Extravagance?

Baroness Scotland has surfaced on the Today programme where she insisted “there has been no extravagance at all” in her spending since she became Commonwealth Secretary General.

Scotland said it is “untrue” she demanded £4,000 for a mirror-lined cupboard. Here is the cost plan showing her demand for a £4,000 mirror-lined cupboard.

She said there is “no chandelier”. Read the emails where her staff complain about her demands over an “extremely expensive chandelier” here.

She said the total cost would be the original budget “plus the fees plus things that would come up”. Read her staff complaining about how expensive those “things that would come up” are here.

Scotland said she followed all procurement rules to hire her friend Lord Patel on £30,000-a-month. Here is a memo showing procurement practices were waived. 

She said her team she denied this all to journalists “again and again and again” before publication. Guido was in regular conversation with her press office until we asked about her Mayfair home. As soon as we started asking about this, they stopped replying. Given multiple opportunities, they did not deny any of these stories…

Baroness Scotland then invited Today listeners to come into her Mayfair home and see for ourselves. We accept, when can we arrange a viewing?

Clegg Makes £60,000 in a Month, £15,000 For Doing HIGNFY

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How much did Nick Clegg make for hosting Have I Got News For You last month? The new Register of Interests reveals he trousered a cool £15,000 for the 12 hour gig, which comes to £1,250-an-hour. Clegg upped his hourly rate for consultancy firm MCI, charging them £30,800 for a single speech in Amsterdam a few weeks later. It was 14 hours work, so £2,200-an-hour. Clegg also recently received a £20,500 second advance instalment for his new book. So in the last month, Clegg pocketed over £60,000 in outside earnings. He’s making a success of Brexit…

UPDATE: The Taxpayers’ Alliance point out: “Worth remembering that Clegg still receives a taxpayer funded £100,000 allowance for being the former Deputy PM.”

£1,200 to Move Baroness Scotland’s Chandelier

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Baroness Scotland’s taxpayer-funded refurbishment of her Mayfair home included a £1,200 demand to relocate her chandelier. Scotland asked for the opulent decorative lighting be moved from her sitting room to her dining room, at a provisional four figure cost to the taxpayer. Here is the listing in the cost plan obtained by Guido:

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Leaked emails show senior officials criticised this as “extremely expensive”, and noted that it “was not part of the tender or funds put aside”. The civil servant below warned “we do not have the funds”.

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Taxpayers were asked to pay £1,200 to move Baroness Scotland’s chandelier from one room to another. Now a light has been shone on her expenses scandal level extravagance… 

Baroness Scotland Asked Taxpayer For £33,000 For Posh Paint

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Baroness Scotland demanded the taxpayer pay an astonishing £33,000 for the most expensive paint on the market for her Mayfair home, despite objections from her senior staff. The cost plan for the grace-and-favour residence obtained by Guido shows that the “additional paint specification” ordered by Baroness Scotland was budgeted at £33,000:

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A senior official complained that the Baroness wanted paint from Farrow & Ball, a high-end manufacturer which the official described as “top of the range of commercially available paint”. The official then complains: “The contract allowed for Dulux”.

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Here another senior official emails colleagues explaining that “additional funds” were found to pay for the “more expensive paint”. Additional funds billed to you…

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The original agreement was that the Commonwealth residence in Mayfair would be painted with Dulux paint, Baroness Scotland then insisted they use Farrow & Ball at an additional cost of £33,000 to the taxpayer – ignoring the complaints of her senior officials. Only the best for the Baroness, paid for by the Commonwealth taxpayer…

India Protests Scotland’s Extravagant Spending

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Pressure is mounting on Baroness Scotland tonight after India expressed its anger at the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s extravagant spending. The Indian press says their government is “concerned“, reporting that “alarm bells went off” when they learned Baroness Scotland handed huge contracts to her friends and spent vast sums doing up her Mayfair residence, all paid for by the Commonwealth taxpayer. A letter sent by Baroness Scotland to the Indian high commissioner attempting to justify the lavish spending splurge has gone down particularly badly. The Indian press quote their corruption-conscious government as complaining:

“We are the fourth largest financial contributor to the Commonwealth. We have concerns in how the budget is being spent.”

The main Commonwealth contributors – Britain, Canada, Australia and India – are the ones paying through the nose for Baroness Scotland’s vanities. They are the ones who can stop her too…

Andrew Mitchell Puts Constituency Home Up For Sale

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Andrew Mitchell has put his constituency home up for sale, Guido can reveal. Thrasher may have decided to put the £350,000 Sutton Coldfield property on the market to help pay his million pound legal bill, though there has also been speculation that Mitchell feels he has no future in Theresa May’s regime and is considering his political future. Either way, Guido takes you through the keyhole…

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Described by estate agents as a “stunning” and “beautiful” two bedroom “period residence set within a prestigious town centre location”, Mitchell’s gaff boasts original features throughout as well as a “beautiful kitchen” and “luxury bathroom”. It is a bit too pine ‘n chintz for Guido’s taste.

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Outside there is an enclosed rear garden with patio and dining area:

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The property is on the market now – Andrew Mitchell’s constituency home could be yours for £350,000…

£4,020 For Baroness Scotland’s New Cupboard

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Baroness Scotland demanded the taxpayer stump up £4,020 for her new cupboard, Guido can reveal. The cost plan for renovations to her grace-and-favour Mayfair home, which cost taxpayers up to £450,000 overall, includes a £4,020 cupboard with “mirror clad interior”, as well as a Trompe style door for another £4,000. Only the best for the Baroness.

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Baroness Scotland could have easily bought a perfectly suitable cupboard and door for a few hundred quid. Instead she insisted the Commonwealth taxpayer pay over £8,000 for the highest of high-end furnishings. Not to mention a £5,000 vanity unit in her powder room. Her press office have declined to justify the spending. Stay tuned, this is the tip of the iceberg of Baroness Scotland’s Mayfair expenses splurge… 

Baroness Scotland Billed Taxpayer £5,000 For New Bathroom Vanity Unit

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Guido has obtained the cost plan for the renovation of Baroness Scotland’s grace-and-favour Mayfair home, revealing that she billed the taxpayer £5,000 for a new vanity unit in her bathroom. Her extravagant spending is reminiscent of the duck islands and moats of the expenses scandal. The cost plan shows how the taxpayer was provisionally billed £5,000 for Baroness Scotland’s vanity unit, £2,000 to tile her bathroom, £1,750 for new wallpaper in that room alone and £2,500 to fill in a window. Another £4,000 was spent on maintaining the decorative drapery over a window on the landing. This was all additional spending beyond the original budget, ordered by Baroness Scotland.

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When senior officials queried whether all this spending was really necessary, Baroness Scotland’s fixer Gary Dunn told them: “The SG [Secretary-General, Baroness Scotland] wants her bathroom completely done”. What the Baroness wants, the Baroness gets.

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Over the last 24 hours Guido has repeatedly asked Baroness Scotland’s press office to justify this spending. They have declined to do so. She demanded her bathroom was “completely done” and ordered a new £5,000 vanity unit – all paid for by the Commonwealth taxpayer. Back in 2009 MPs were forced to resign for similar scandalous expenses troughing…

Scotland Wanted £450,000 to Do Up Mayfair Home

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Baroness Scotland provoked outcry among senior Commonwealth officials after she billed £450,000 of taxpayers’ money to do up her grace-and-favour home in Mayfair – double the original budget. Below Guido publishes leaked memos in which officials complain about the huge amount of money being spent. The first memo shows celebrity interior designer Nicky Haslam was brought in to do up the property. A high-ranking official warns that Baroness Scotland’s additional renovations “will increase the total cost for the refurbishment from the original £230k to near £450k”.

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A second memo sees a senior official complain that Baroness Scotland’s demands have caused “a significant increase in cost” to “around double the price of the original specification”.

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And a third memo sees another official warn that “there are no spare funds in the budget”, so Baroness Scotland’s renovations mean “going further into reserves or cutting programme expenditure”.

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Just weeks into her job as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland doubled the budget for the refurbishment of her Mayfair residence. This is a huge amount of money and a significant portion of the whole Commonwealth budget, funded by Commonwealth taxpayers. Guido has asked the Baroness’ spin doctor how they justify doubling the budget. We have not received a reply…

Senior Official Accused Baroness Scotland of Misuse of Public Funds

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A senior official in the Commonwealth Secretariat formally complained that Baroness Scotland’s decision to hire a close friend on £30,000-a-month was a misuse of public funds. Below Guido publishes “frank and candid advice” written by a high-ranking official in the department, which raised concerns “pertaining to procurement, transparency and the use of public funds”. You will never see mandarins using language more explicit…

complaint

The official outlines how they “advised Baroness Scotland against making this appointment” of her friend Lord Patel. According to the official, Scotland extraordinarily replied that Patel “was very supportive during her campaign to become Secretary-General”. This is astonishing: a senior official is essentially alleging Baroness Scotland hired a friend on £30,000-a-month as a reward for him helping her election campaign…

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Sources with an intimate knowledge of the review Lord Patel carried out say it was not worth the paper it was written on. According to the official, this bombshell complaint was overruled by Scotland, who dismissed the advice and forced through the appointment of her close friend…

How Baroness Scotland Waived Recruitment Process to Give £90,000 Contract to Crony

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Guido can reveal for the first time how Baroness Scotland waived procurement practices in order to award a £90,000 contract to a close friend. Just days after taking office, Scotland instructed staff to hire her fellow Labour peer Lord Patel as a consultant to produce a review of the department.[…] Read the rest

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