UK finance minister publishes tax details

11th April 2016, Comments 0 comments

Britain's finance minister and the head of the main opposition Labour party on Monday released details of their most recent tax returns after days of controversy following the publication of the so-called Panama Papers.

Finance minister George Osborne had a total taxable income of £198,738 (247,900 euros, $283,500) during the 2014/15 financial year, according to a statement from his accountants released by officials.

As well as his salary, this included £44,647 in the form of dividends from a wallpaper and fabrics company founded by his father and £33,562 in rental income from a house in London which he owns with his wife.

Osborne paid income tax of £72,210 for the year. The release stated he had "no offshore interests in shares or anything else".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's tax return showed that he had an additional income of just £1,850 for the year -- most of it payment for giving a lecture -- beyond his parliamentary salary.

Corbyn was, however, fined £100 by tax authorities for filing his tax return late.

Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to publish information on his tax returns over the weekend after admitting he held shares in his late father's investment fund based in the Bahamas.

These were sold before he became prime minister in 2010.

The prime minister on Monday addressed the House of Commons for the first time since the offshore investment scandal broke, in an attempt to reduce the pressure on him over his tax affairs.

He defended his position and announced an agreement with certain tax havens to oblige them to share information with police and law enforcement authorities.

But veteran Labour lawmaker Dennis Skinner was forced to leave the Commons by Speaker John Bercow after calling the prime minister "dodgy Dave".

The Panama Papers have prompted a debate about whether all politicians should be forced to publish their tax returns. This would be a major change in Britain where few have done so until now.

Cameron said he believed that while prime ministers, finance ministers and their opposition counterparts should in future declare details of their tax returns, all MPs should not have to do so.

"We should think carefully before abandoning the taxpayer confidentiality in this House," Cameron added.

© 2016 AFP

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