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David Miliband using tax loophole for avoidance

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david milibandAnnual tax savings estimated at six figures!

South Shields’ part time MP David Miliband may add another couple of words to his CV having been variously described as a globe trotter, Labour leadership loser, former Foreign Secretary, chip shop connoisseur, banana waver, a man with high earning outside interests, and now a tax avoider!

Since losing the battle to lead the Labour party to his brother Ed, the man that Tony Blair pushed onto the people of South Shields is trying his hardest not to mirror the lifestyles and wage earning capacities of the majority of his constituents in South Tyneside by adding to the growing list of opportunities available to former cabinet ministers. Speech making has never quite been so profitable for former front bench performers, add this to consultancies, and the vice-chairmanship of Sunderland AFC and our rarely seen Member of Parliament can justifiably claim to have never had it so good!

Last November (as reported in the MPs Register of Interests), David Miliband joined the advisory board of the Sir Bani Yas Forum in Abu Dhabi, the Daily Mail reported that  he was paid almost £5000 for transport and accommodation for himself and a member of his staff, and also received £64,475 from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs! The article also claims that he receives pay at a rate of more than £21000 per day from the UAE, and his recent decision to do work for a Pakistani company, Indus Basin Holdings, earns him an additional £50000 per annum for five days work!

Rather than being paid personally and taxed through PAYE, like the majority of us, Miliband’s earnings are channelled through a company jointly owned by himself and his wife Louise, the Office of David Miliband Limited, and by exploiting both partners tax allowances and taking their income in the form of share dividends, it is estimated that Mr. Miliband is avoiding paying taxes to the tune of a six figure number. Laughing all the way to the bank!

You might want to complain about how much other people are paying David Miliband, personally I’m not that bothered, best of luck to him I say. I am a bit bothered by this stance over tax though, particularly as it was an area that the last Labour government intended to address. Alistair Darling was determined to close this tax avoidance loophole, and some couples were hounded through the courts by HM Revenue before it became clear that the practice was legal, then Labour declared :

‘The Government will therefore bring forward proposals for changes to legislation.’

Fortunately for Miliband, they never did, it must be just a little embarrassing for him though to be seen to be so out of step with his constituents, and to be seen as avoiding his full tax bill when many of those who struggle to keep up to date with benefits regulations are hauled through the courts.

Meanwhile in another article Oliver Wright suggests that David Miliband is still struggling to come to terms with his brother’s leadership and is happier to be a big earner away from Labour’s front bench, sadly Wright suggests that the two have an awkward relationship and only meet rarely at family events even suggesting that he still finds it very difficult to be in a room with Ed.

It does make me wonder what former South Shields MPs such as Arthur Blenkinsop or Chuter Ede would have made of their modern day successor.

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Written by curly

January 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm

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