There is much excitement on the wires about David Cameron’s attitude to tax avoidance. The PM’s just told ITV news:
‘He’s [Jimmy Carr] taking the money from tickets and as far as I can see, he’s putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding scheme.’
It is ‘completely wrong’, he said. Asked about today’s revelations in the Times, which include allegations against Cameron-backer Gary Barlow, the prime minister said:
‘[I will] look at that scheme … as soon as I get in front of my computer.’
Tax avoidance embarrasses the Conservative leader, especially as his government has not successfully curbed it. But two specific points emerge from Cameron’s statements this afternoon. First, Cameron is welcoming the press and others to examine his donors’ tax arrangements — assuming that they haven’t already done so (thinking particularly of the difficulty over Lord Ashcroft in 2009-10). This implies that Cameron has learned a lesson from the phone hacking furore: it’s better to be in front of a scandal than behind it.
And second, Cameron’s distinction between the cases of Carr and Barlow implies that some tax reduction schemes are morally repugnant but others may not be. It depends on the scheme in question. Critics will say that this is a distinction without a difference.Tags: Conservatives, David Cameron, Empire, Tax reform