This Writer doesn’t believe a word of it – and I don’t think anybody else should, either.
There is no reason for George Osborne ever to have been unclear in his explanations of his own tax returns.
He has chosen to be.
Therefore, we must conclude that he has something to hide.
The amount of evidence is building up to an impossible level.
I think we need an independent public inquiry into MPs’ earnings – not their tax returns, but the amounts they have pocketed overall.
George Osborne may have lied about his earnings in 2012 when he claimed his earnings were less than the threshold for the top rate of tax of £150,000.
The question has arisen after Osborne revealed a summary of his earnings for the last financial year – showing his total taxable income reached £198,738 over 2014/15.
But Osborne hasn’t released information on previous years, and that’s where questions have arisen.
In an interview in 2012, when asked if he would benefit from a cut in the top rate of tax, Osborne claimed his earnings did not reach £120,000. That was the year Ed Miliband challenged cabinet members to raise their hands if they would personally benefit from cutting the 50p tax rate.
Osborne told BBC Radio 4:
I’m not a winner from this Budget. My salary is less than (the) £150,000 threshold… I’m not personally affected.
Asked if he was a 50p tax rate payer, he added: “I’m not actually, no.
Assuming he earned no dividends income that year, Osborne was still likely getting an income from renting out his London home, which would take him above £150,000.
But a Treasury source told the Daily Mirror last night that the Chancellor was talking about the previous tax year, even though he sounded like talking in the present tense.
The Chancellor and his office were absolutely clear about his status as a taxpayer, and that he was talking about the previous tax year.
Everyone can see every detail of his earnings today because of the unprecedented transparency he has now offered – the first Chancellor ever to do so.
But Osborne has only released his summary from last year, not since he was Chancellor.
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