Claim Miliband avoided tax ‘a lie’

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Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Labour has described claims that Ed Miliband avoided tax as a “straightforward lie”.

The allegations relate to the sale of the party leader’s share of his parents’ former home.

Mr Miliband has confirmed that his mother Marion set up an arrangement known as a deed of variation after the death of his father Ralph, which is understood to have altered provisions relating to the house in his will.

The Daily Mail said the deed allowed ownership of the property to be split between Mrs Miliband and her sons, and quoted experts who said that arrangements of this kind could be used to reduce inheritance tax liabilities on the eventual death of the widowed parent.

However, Mr Miliband has sold his share to his brother David, who also bought the remainder of the property from his mother.

A Labour spokesman said Mr Miliband paid capital gains tax at 40% on the sale and said any suggestion that he used the arrangement to avoid tax would be a “straightforward lie”.

The spokesman said: “Ed paid 40% capital gains tax when the house was sold in 2004/05. It can’t be tax avoidance if no tax was avoided.”

Mr Miliband had gone on the attack in recent days over allegations of tax avoidance activities linked to some wealthy supporters of the Conservative Party, telling the House of Commons that David Cameron was “a dodgy Prime Minister surrounded by dodgy donors”.

Asked about the deed of variation yesterday, he said: “It’s something that my mother did 20 years ago, that was a decision she made.

“Let me just say this: I paid tax as a result of that transaction, I’ve avoided no tax in that.

“No doubt the Conservative Party wants to smear mud today but, frankly, it’s not going to work. The story has been written before and I have paid tax on that money.”

Labour also denied that one of Mr Miliband’s aides had described the row over tax avoidance as a “Milly Dowler moment”.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson used the phrase in a blog earlier this week, when he described how Labour saw the allegations over tax avoidance linked to HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary as an opportunity to stand up to the rich and powerful, in the same way Mr Miliband did when he spoke out over Rupert Murdoch and phone hacking.

However, Mr Robinson later said the reference to the murdered schoolgirl, whose phone was hacked by journalists, was not a direct quote from one of Mr Miliband’s aides.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “I did not quote anyone re Ed M & Milly Dowler. Said his aides saw this as moment like that ie to stand up to powerful. Story re Millie Dowler’s phone being hacked was moment Ed chose to `stand up’ to Murdoch. Aides see parallel with HSBC story & tax avoiders.”

He later added: “Media foes of Ed M generating row re Milly Dowler. I reported aides saw this as moment to stand up to powerful like when that story broke.”

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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