The rumbled fraudster Hazel Blears has written out a cheque for over £13,000 to the Inland Revenue to pay the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on her taxpayer-bought property. She had avoided CGT by telling the Inland Revenue it was her main residence, after getting the taxpayer to pay her mortgage on the grounds it was her second residence.
Rather peculiarly, she did not post the cheque to the Inland Revenue, but handed it to a Sky News reporter. I know she is a supporter of the privatisation of the Post Office, but this is ridiculous. Plainly this stunt is meant to improve her image. But the sight of a “Public servant” who can at the drop of a hat dash off a current account cheque for over £13,000 is deeply unedifying. For more than half her constituents, that cheque was for more than a year’s income after tax and national insurance. It was nearly three years of the state pension.
There remain some questions. There will be interest and late payment charges due to the Inland Revenue. Has she agreed the sum with them? And has she calculated the sum due correctly? At the time of the sale, the rate applicable was 40%. £13,000 would indicate it was paid on profit of £32,000. But I am told by a Commons staff source the profit was actually “significantly more” than £32,000.