Margaret Hodge: Labour’s scourge of tax avoiders is outed as a tax avoider (image source)
Ho hum – one week to go to the election and no news worth reporting, we see pictures of Cameron, looking shiny, Miliband looking confused Clegg looking resigned and Nigel Farage holding a pint of beer.
But there is nothing worth talking about.
Yesterday Cameron announced a tax freeze on Income Tax, National Instrance and VAT. Miliband and Ed balls called it a gimmick (which it was)
A few days ago Miliband announced a reduction in Stamp Duty. Cameron, Osborne and Clegg called it a gimmick because that’s what it was.
Green candidates continued to talk bollocks, SNP candidates continued to talk about when Scotland rules the world and Russell Brand recommended that his followers (who are not voting if they take his recent advice) should support Labour.
UKIP candidates continued to talk about the issues most voters want candidates to talk about but their words of common sense were not reported in the media.
Oh and former Labour Minister and current chair of the Public Accounts committee, Margaret Hodge (nee Oppenheimer), who was Labour’s most vigorous critic of tax avoidance by the super rich was exposed as a tax cheat. A report in The Times which is behind a paywall so check it out second hand at IB Times) reveals that Hodge used the Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) to transfer onshore 96,000 shares in a private steel trading business established by her father. The LDF is a controversial tax deal established in 2009 enabling the transfer of assets out of the Principality of Liechtenstein, a tiny European country with notably low tax rates, to the UK.
It was created as an incentive for those with undeclared income or unpaid taxes to repatriate their assets by offering preferentially time-limited tax liabilities, substantially lower penalties and no threat of criminal prosecution.
The Stemcor shares Hodge received in this way in 2011, following the winding up of the Liechtenstein Trust, were worth about £1.5 million. Her shareholding was properly declared in the parliamentary register of members’ financial interests, but she has not spoken of offshore vehicles or the LDF.
As Hodge has singled out the LDF system for criticism while using it herself her attitude would seem a tad hypocritical to say the least. But then what else would we expect from a member of Labour, the party that claims it speaks for the working class while really representing the interests of lawyers, tax eaters and ‘the stinking rich’ (including Margaret Hodge (nee Oppenheim).
You will not get to know much about the dodgy tax affairs of Margaret Hodge from mainstream media of course, to report fully the dishonesty and hypocrisy of an elitist might open a massive can of worms and take down most of the establishment.
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