- Telegraph View
Labour’s tax hypocrisy
Had this been a donation to the Tories, one can imagine the outrage in Labour ranks
John Mills agreed to make a donation in shares, following discussions with Labour money men that they now conveniently cannot recall Photo: Julian Simmonds
By Telegraph View
8:51PM BST 13 Jun 2013
The Labour Party was in high dudgeon yesterday about the tax arrangements of Google, after a critical report from the Commons public accounts committee. Leaving aside the fact that the party had 13 years in office to change the tax laws, and didn’t, Ed Miliband said it showed the “extraordinary lengths” to which the computer giant goes to avoid paying its share of tax. He added: “It needs to change.”
Can this be the same Ed Miliband whose party advised its biggest benefactor to pay his £1.65 million donation in such a way that it avoided at least £700,000, and possibly as much as £1.5 million, in tax? The businessman John Mills agreed to make a donation in shares, following discussions with Labour money men that they now conveniently cannot recall. Mr Mills has been refreshingly open about these arrangements, stating that he was encouraged to use the most “tax efficient” method.
Since this story was revealed by our correspondent Christopher Hope, we have heard nothing but bluster from Labour. The party claims it is paying tax on the share dividend, so cannot be accused of avoidance. But this is sheer sophistry, since the arrangement maximised the amount Labour received and, as David Cameron told MPs on Wednesday, diverted a substantial sum from the taxman. Party chiefs have even had the gall to describe the story as a Telegraph “propaganda campaign”, which is a gross calumny against this newspaper and its reporter.
Had this been a donation to the Tories, one can imagine the outrage in Labour ranks – and among the party’s media cheerleaders. Yet we have had nothing but obfuscation, arrogance and hypocrisy. Why should anyone take seriously a single pronouncement that Labour makes on the tax affairs of others, when it operates such double standards with its donors
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