In a recent speech Ed Miliband said about tax avoidance: “It is costing everyone who relies on our schools, our hospitals, our roads and our railways. It is costing everyone who pays their fair share of taxes, including millions of British businesses” and “The time has finally come to put an end to a society in which one group of people can play by different rules to the rest”.
But for 13 years – including when Miliband was a Treasury adviser – Labour did absolutely nothing to tackle tax avoidance yet David Cameron put tax dodging at the top of the global agenda at the UK’s G8 summit.
The biggest hypocrisy is with Miliband’s own tax affairs.
Miliband, with his brother, David, signed a “deed of variation” with their mother, Marion, after the death of their father Ralph, a Marxist academic, in 1994. This gave them each a 20 per cent stake in the four-storey house in Edis Street, Primrose Hill, north London, reducing the inheritance tax eventually payable on the estate.
Miliband isn’t the only hypocrite, that arch socialist Tony Benn also avoided paying tax on his estate.
And it is not just hypocrisy, it is gross ineptitude. After Miliband’s latest uninformed rant about Britain’s overseas territories David Gauke, a Treasury minister, said: “He doesn’t appear to understand that the UK is the only country in the OECD committed to a public central register. He wants the OECD to blacklist countries if they don’t do the same as us. But that would mean blacklisting every single country in the OECD apart from the UK – countries like the US, France and Germany”.