Guido really likes this video from the wonks at the Centre for Policy Studies, it animates a very clear message, around the world lower taxes lead to higher growth rates.
The data is pretty clearly presented, are you watching Mr Osborne?
While mentioning his race-baiting, tax avoidance and warning that if he wins he will be on “probation”, the Guardian has held its snooty nose and endorsed Ken. In an attempt to give some lukewarm covering fire today they claim that Boris has been using campaign office space donated by Lycamobile who have not paid corporation tax – a brave line of attack given Ken’s voodoo accounting. Lycamobile did not pay tax because they haven’t made any profits yet. HRMC don’t tax companies on their losses. Which is lucky for the Guardian…
Guardian News & Media, which publishes the Guardian, doesn’t pay tax because it makes a loss every year. GNM is subsidised by its investment funds and its joint-ownership of AutoTrader. The joint-ownership is with, of course, a private equity firm. Some may consider the Guardian, on this basis, to be appalling hypocrites…
Labour’s second most famous backer Lord Winston has followed the lead of Alan Sugar and slammed Ken. Talking on the Daily Politics he questioned how the party had managed to select Livingstone. Just a week ago Lord Winston was the face of the Labour Party’s Election Broadcast. If he isn’t backing Ken, then why should any Labour supporter?
Meanwhile Ken has today promised to release all of his earnings, and those of Silveta, and the tax he has paid, signed off by an accountant. There are rumours of avian swine sightings too. At least he admits that his last figures were a load of…
As Parliament returns after an extended Easter break, here’s a handy catch up guide to what you have missed in the race to become Mayor of London…
An over overenthusiastic ‘elf and safety advocate ensured that Guido was ejected from last night’s Evening Standard debate, but thankfully they have sent over the video so you won’t miss a balanced audience boo and shout “champagne socialist” as Ken squirms and tries to justify, to no avail, his tax avoidance hypocrisy. He claims he has given so much in tax that he could pay for an aircraft carrier. Despite earnings of close to quarter of a million, Ken paid just under £40,000 in tax last year. An aircraft carrier costs £2.5bn.
Last night Ken promised on Newsnight to publish his accounts. He further said this morning “I will set out income to my company over the last four years, how much my wife and I received and how much tax was paid.” Instead we got a partial view of what he decided to pay tax on. Ken also claims that an accountant has signed these figures off, yet provides no evidence for this unlike the other candidates. He has still not published his company accounts and the clock is ticking.
Guido’s been speaking to bean counters today who are slightly puzzled by what Ken has put out. One writes:
“a) no book-keeper, let alone an accountant, has been near this – you never date down the left hand side – you run left to right;
b) Corporation Tax is paid on profits, not dividends – massive f**k-up here – tells you all you need to know about the integrity of these accounts.”
The meta-data on the .PDF document shows that it was drawn up not by an accountant, but by Mark Watts- Ken’s old Climate Change Adviser at City Hall. He got one of the crony pay-offs in 2008.
Apart from the 14.5% effective income tax rate – which Matthew Hancock points out is less than a City Hall cleaner pays – the main take-away from the part-publication is that by paying himself in dividends he is avoiding paying National Insurance, which employees have to pay. If you are employed you pay it at 12%. If you are self employed you pay it at 9%. If you are Ken, you don’t pay it at all.
He cannot say he is paying his fair share when he is avoiding paying National Insurance, which is the tax that pays towards the NHS. The question for Ken is a simple one. Why are you paying yourself in dividends rather than salary? There is only one answer. To avoid tax.
Boris’ figures have the accountants signature on them and Paddick has put his actual returns, plus a few personal details, out. Why so dodgy Ken?
Ken has released information on the income that he decided to pay tax on, while simply choosing to ignore the rest. When Silveta Ltd’s numbers from all of his media earnings are included, the true picture of his company wheeze becomes clear. If the Silveta Ltd had actually done anything Ken might have had a leg to stand on, but it did nothing in that time bar employ his wife to write a book. He’s a tax avoider…
When it emerged that Gordon Brown had made £1.4m since leaving office on the international speech circuit, his spinners were quick to point out claim that “not a single penny” had gone to Brown himself and instead it was all given to charity. But that’s not quite true.
The most recent set of abbreviated accounts for the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown (Ltd.) paint a different picture. Though they do not give a turnover, or how much actually went to charity, or how much was spent on “administration”, they do show that at least 20,934,300 pennies are being held by the Browns in cash. No income tax on that…
We now live in a country where caviar is untaxed and a hot pasty is. Guido isn’t sure that’s quite the fairness agenda the government were trying to push and the continued budget hammering is well deserved and will be ongoing. A 10% drop in the latest polls suggests that raising taxes instead of cutting spending isn’t popular. Who knew?
Guido suspects Cornwall is now off Dave’s Easter holiday destination list. His government has fiscally attacked their national dish…
And just when the government are getting it in the neck, walking Tory liability and Young Conservative Chairman Ben Howlett goes out of his way to help matters:
Just the image the Tories want right now…
Division 506 last night covered the 45p rate of incomes tax. A perfect time for Labour to cement their opposition to the cut after days of noise:
PROCEDURE (FUTURE TAXATION: RATES OF INCOME TAX)
That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the practice of the House relating to the matters that may be included in Finance Bills, any Finance Bill of the present Session may contain the following provisions about income tax taking effect in a future year—
(a) provision that for the tax year 2013-14—
(i) the basic rate is 20%,
(ii) the higher rate is 40%, and
(iii) the additional rate is 45%, and
provision about other rates of income tax.
The House divided:
Ayes 319, Noes 22.
This is despite the promise made by Ed Balls last Thursday that: “There will be a vote next week, and we will vote against the 50p change.” Instead they were whipped into abstaining. Just two Labour MPs bothered to turn up to vote.
Balls claims there was no vote.
Hansard says otherwise…
As far as Guido can tell, the last time a Ministerial Statement was rushed on to the Friday agenda was when we bombed Libya. Given that the government has bombed quite enough already this week, unsurprisingly this rushed distraction job is not having the desired effect. It failed to push the Granny Tax off of the front pages and has gone down like the proverbial dodgy pint. Theresa May is not helping matters by constantly talking about “pre-loading” to describe drinking cheap alcohol at home before going out. It seems she alone has coined this phrase…
UPDATE: Yvette just gave the Home Secretary a good going over declaring that May “is being used as human shield and she should have said no”. The Shadow Home Secretary also confirmed that there have only been three statements on a Friday in last decade. Two were concerning war and the other Swine Flu.
Apparently not. With his Mirror job; New Statesman, Public Affairs News and House Magazine columns; BBC and ITV contributions; his weekly slot on Sky News as well being as host on LBC, Guido imagines that our Kev must do though. We should be told!
In a tacit admission that his current tax affairs leave more than a little to be desired, Ken has told our friends at LBC that if he’s elected Mayor he will start to pay income tax. Why hasn’t he been doing this already?
“If I’m elected Mayor on May 3rd, I will have no other income, so the taxman will take it straight out the salary at City Hall. We’ll just close the whole thing down.”
Millions of Londoners will continue to pay their income tax on May 3rd, as they already do, whether they are elected Mayor or not. Is Ken suggesting that in the likely case that he loses, that he will continue to dodge income tax? Every time Ken opens his mouth he makes this growing problem worse…
Given that this was only put down as a 10 Minute Rule Bill in January, Tory MP Ben Gummer’s tax-transparency campaign looks set to be one of the more successful backbench tales of recent times. Given that Labour only managed to find a technicality on which to oppose it when it was debated in the House, can we now presume that Balls will be backing it? The Staggers is already starting to moan. Will Balls manage to find a line on why he doesn’t want taxpayers knowing how the government spends their hard earned cash?
Taking time out from photoshopping a fake campaign bus, Ken’s team have been whipping up support for tonight’s “eve of campaign rally” near Waterloo Station. Supporters have been lured in on the promise of speeches from the likes of election-jonah Eddie Izzard, Tessa Jowell and lefty wunderkid Owen Jones. Whoops…
Presumably the Ken team spent at least thirty seconds checking out what these speakers have had to say about Ken before they were invited to share at platform, and presumably Owen Jones is going to be repeating tonight his call for Ken to release his tax returns as he suggested on Sky News last week. Or is he a Chic-Ken?
Incase you missed that Owen says:
“People should always pay their taxes, there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever for tax loopholes, tax avoidance and that goes for Ken Livingstone, it goes for Boris Johnson and it goes for anyone else… I think all mayoral candidates, I think that would be perfectly good, perfectly positive, if they release their tax returns… I’ve made it clear there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.”
Chic-Ken is still refusing to do that…
There was one tiny silver lining for Ken though – when pushed Owen says that despite being a hypocrite, the tax mess does not rule Ken out of the race.
Hopefully Owen will have honed that line in time for the rally tonight…
Ed had his own muddles at his speech today, but this from his deputy is quite something:
Guido could watch this one again and again.
Guido just asked the two Eds about Ken Livingstone’s tax status at their joint press conference. Calling it a “desperate Tory smear” it was telling that Miliband had to stress it was all legal and pointed up that Boris was running a negative campaign. He might want to check some of the material being put out by his own party…
Nobody is suggesting that Ken has done anything illegal, just that he is a massive hypocrite. Guido even suggested that both the candidates release their tax returns, but it seems Labour are sticking to the blind eye approach on this one. Whether the public will be so forgiving of hypocrisy remains to be seen.
Following up, Guido asked Miliband about cancelling an appearance at an NHS rally on Saturday, citing illness, yet being spotted in the chairman’s box at Hull vs Ipswich that afternoon. Apparently it goes without saying that Ed loves the NHS more than football. You could have fooled the people of Hull…
Labour’s rapid rebuttal re-education squad are having kittens with the latest lefty figure to tell the truth about Ken Livingstone. This morning we had the Political Editor of the New Statesman call Ken a hypocrite, and now Jonathan Roberts, a Labour Parliamentary candidate, sums up on Labour Uncut what any Labour member with a spine must be thinking:
[…] Read the rest
“Your supporters will say I’m disloyal to the Labour Party, but don’t seem to mind you campaigning against our candidate in Tower Hamlets.Your supporters cheered you when you called tax avoiders “rich bastards”, but they don’t seem to mind the £50,000 you have allegedly avoided yourself.