Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims

Exactly 30 days before Londoners go to the polls, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson clashed today over tax during and after an on-air row on LBC radio.

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Exactly 30 days before Londoners go to the polls, Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson clashed today over tax, with the Tory Mayor, “nose-to-nose” with his rival, screaming “it’s all f****** lies, it’s all f****** lies”.

The confrontation in a radio studio lift followed an on-air row in this morning’s LBC Mayoral hustings, which also featured Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddcik and Green Party contender Jenny Jones.

Watch it, from about 1:40:

Here’s what was said:

Boris Johnson: “I’m not going to comment on my tax affairs except to say this, I pay income tax, I’m proud of it, I think it’s pretty repr-, it’s pretty disgraceful to be attacked by Ken Livingstone, someone who’s deliberately set up a tax-dodging manouevre and then denounced everybody else who did so, which does not include me…”

Ken Livingstone: “Boris, you had the same arrangements…”

BJ: “That is a lie, that is an absolute lie…”

KL: “Boris, you had the Finland Station company…”

BJ: “My dear friend, that is an absolute lie, you’ve got to stop lying, you’ve got to stop lying.”

KL: “No, Boris, you had Finland Station, when you was an MP, that handled your television work, because I assumed, are you saying you didn’t have a company called Finland Station, are you saying that’s a lie?”

BJ: “If you’re saying I’d had a company to avoid paying income tax I’m afraid you are absolutely…”

KL: “But I haven’t got a company to avoid paying income tax, like you, I had a company to handle my media.”

Nick Ferrari: “Did you set up your own company called Finland Productions or whatever it might have been?”

BJ: “I have never used a company to minimise my income tax arrangements.”

KL: “That wasn’t the question.”

NF: “Have you set up a company called Finland Independent Films?”

BJ: “There was a TV production company which I was briefly a director of, yes, but I…”

KL: “To handle your TV income…”

NF: “You didn’t use it to explore tax efficiencies?”

BJ: “Absolutely not.”

NF: “No, efficiencies?”

BJ: “No.”

NF: “Always, you paid the full amount?”

BJ: “I always paid full income tax.”

KL: “The simple fact is here Boris and myself are are in the exact same position, we had our main income as an MP…”

NF: “Boris Johnson says he’s not in the same position – Mr Johnson?”

BJ: [Silence]

NF: “Ken Livingstone?”

KL: “Well, basically we both had media earnings, we both put them through a company…”

BJ: “No, that’s not true, that’s not true…”

KL: “That’s not to avoid being taxed on that. You don’t avoid tax, you have to pay tax on the money you take out…”

BJ: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, he’s lying, the guy’s a liar, the guy’s a bare-faced liar, he really can’t be allowed to…”

 


See also:

What happens to the ‘Boris Bus’ if Boris isn’t Mayor? 23 Mar 2012

Boris’s air quality failures are no longer funny – we need action not bluster 19 Mar 2012

Ken vows to “ease the squeeze”, saying Boris has “betrayed” Londoners 14 Mar 2012

The cost of Boris’s failure to deliver on his climate change promises 13 Mar 2012

Pound for Pound, you’re better off with Ken 13 Mar 2012


 

Following today’s debate, several questions remain for the Mayor to answer over Finland Station, including:

• Did he pay income tax on all of his earnings from Finland Station? Can he categorically say that he didn’t receive any income through dividends and instead pay capital gains tax of 18% (rather than paying income tax at 40%).

• When he sold his shareholdings in Finland Station to David Jeffcock and Barnaby Spurrier – did he pay income tax on the money that he received at 40%, or capital gains tax at 18%?

• Did he employ anyone?

For all his studio bluster and lift rage, until Boris Johnson comes clean about Finland Station, Londoners may conclude his attacks on Ken Livingstone over tax dodging ring more than a little hollow.

 


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15 Responses to “Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims”

  1. Foxy52

    WATCH: @MayorOfLondon and @Ken4London clash over tax dodge claims: http://t.co/WhnK7iLw reports @ShamikDas #LBCdebate

  2. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: WATCH: @MayorOfLondon and @Ken4London clash over tax dodge claims: http://t.co/KPBgQ9wg reports @ShamikDas #LBCdebate

  3. Shamik Das

    WATCH: @MayorOfLondon and @Ken4London clash over tax dodge claims: http://t.co/WhnK7iLw reports @ShamikDas #LBCdebate

  4. Martin Blakelock

    WATCH: @MayorOfLondon and @Ken4London clash over tax dodge claims: http://t.co/WhnK7iLw reports @ShamikDas #LBCdebate

  5. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims http://t.co/uM2l6UEy

  6. Freeman

    More drivel attempting to brush aside Ken’s hypocrisy.

    Boris has never branded members of society “rich bastards” who “don’t get it” whilst all the while practising the same form of tax avoidance. No one has ever accused Ken of acting illegally. They have accused him of being a hypocrite. Therefore even if Boris did have a company to reduce tax it is not the same attack that people are making on Ken. Brian Paddick actually put it very well in that debate. The fact that Ken is attacked is because of his hypocrisy, not because of his practise of using a Ltd.

    Secondly, why is it that Boris has failed to deliver on 9% of his pledges, Ken failed to deliver on 54%. Lets take party politics out of this for a minute. Who has done more of what they promised they would do? However you cut it the answer is Boris.

    I understand that Labour is desperate to get someone back in power, but Ken is the wrong man for the job. Labour would have been far wiser to put forward a younger, more forward thinking candidate.

  7. Selohesra

    Almost any other Labour candidate and Labour would have walked it – but you pick Ken with his dubious personal tax planning & his anti semetic & homophobic friends. It will now be pretty close

  8. Anonymous

    Boris was director for a year and only held a third of the shares. It doesn’t strike me as a tax dodge, especially as you can easily find it’s declared cash holdings for the last five years, and see that it has never held even a tenth of what resides in Livingstone’s company.

  9. Anonymous

    Odd how Johnson has avoided answering any of Kens specific questions. Ken asked:-

    1. Did [Johnson] pay income tax on all of his earnings from Finland Station? Can he categorically say that he didn’t receive any income through dividends and instead pay capital gains tax of 18% (rather than paying income tax at 40%)?

    2. When he sold his shareholdings in Finland Station to David Jeffcock and Barnaby Spurrier – did he pay income tax on the money that he received at 40%, or capital gains tax at 18%?

    3) Did he employ anyone?

    Boris’ response

    He said: “In relation to my business affairs and tax arrangements, specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour mayoral candidate and the opposition leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s mayoral candidate?

    “The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.

    “My salary as mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee.

    “Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved).

    “No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channelled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

    “To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

    “Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.”

  10. Mark Stevo

    Wow. Even by the standards of LeftFootForward and Das in particular this is pretty special. Not a word to say about Ken’s tax affairs?

  11. Anthony

    so below we’re saying that although Boris Johnson was director of a company to handle his media earnings he can’t have consciously been dodging tax because it doesn’t sound like it, but Ken clearly had been consciously avoiding tax because it sounds like it? This is absurd, why do we know that Ken was consciously avoiding tax but Boris consciously wasn’t? is Boris excused for his trick because he hasn’t attacked tax avoidance publicly? weird

    Boris is cracking under the pressure, he can’t handle tough questions and his priorities are all over the shop – way out of sync with Londoners.

  12. Ed's Talking Balls

    On the money. Absolutely no-one is going to be fooled by this. Hypocrisy is deeply unattractive in a politician. I think Livingstone is going to lose, chiefly because of this issue: what a fitting demise.

  13. Vote 2012: London | Left Foot Forward

    […] Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims 3 Apr […]

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