David Cameron’s ‘offshore fund row’ is a non-story blown out of proportion

By: Toby Gould, Editor

Source: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe
Has it come as a surprise that the Eton-educated, millionaire David Cameron (and his family) had investments overseas? Has it come as a surprise that Cameron senior invested his money in a variety of ways; some of it through tax havens? No.  Not at all – it simply confirms what we know about the Prime Minister: his father had a lot of money, and like people with a lot of money the money has been invested in a number of different places.

But if we actually look at what we’ve found out about the Prime Minister (that he previously held shares in the company Blairmore Holdings) then it is still hard to find what he has actually done wrong.  He said he made a profit of £30,000 on the shares when he sold them in 2010 and paid all required tax on that in the UK.  Cameron held shares in an offshore company which he profited from.  Is that a crime? No.  Is it even morally wrong?  That’s up to you to decide – but he did pay tax on the profits in the UK.  This wasn’t a tax-avoiding scheme.

There are people out there who have used countries such as Panama to hide their financial activity and cheat governments out of tax.  There are millionaires who do engage in illegal activity to hide their money from the tax man and there are people who use so-called ‘aggressive’ tax-avoidance methods to pay an unfair amount of tax.  If the Prime Minister was engaged in any of these things then, given what he’s previously said about tax-avoiders and tax-evaders, the criticism he is facing would be absolutely justified. Unfortunately for Labour, and those who wish to portray him as a selfish and evil Tory, the evidence just isn’t there.  The media are also to blame.  Of course they are drawn to controversy like parasites.  The newspapers will love getting quotes from Labour MPs about how terrible the Prime Minister is and how he isn't really human at all.  I can only assume they're hoping something more comes out that truly incriminated Cameron. But, for now, they're trying to make a fuss about something that, really, is just a non-story.

The real problem for the Prime Minister has been the handling of the story.  It took a week to get this information out and the statements that Number 10 kept releasing were not helping.  For example the statement which contained: “There are no offshore funds/trusts which the prime minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future” was always going to attract further questions.  The whole situation was poorly managed and it has allowed those who oppose him politically to use it to their advantage.
David Cameron’s ‘offshore fund row’ is a non-story blown out of proportion David Cameron’s ‘offshore fund row’ is a non-story blown out of proportion Reviewed by Student Voices on 17:23 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. Nope Toby. It was a non-story but his obfuscation, his cryptic statements, his initial absolute denial and having to drag clarity out of him has made this a story. Cameron has done nothing illegal yes, but the monies he made from selling the share he had in his fathers trust (Blairmore) could be ill-gotten. Its 2006 prospectus boasted the fund wasn't subject to UK income tax or corporation tax, so the fund from which he held his stake (the 5000 units paid no uk corporation tax, even though Mr Cameron did). He cannot lecture anyone on tax avoidance (ala Jimmy Carr) when he has (however tacitly benefited from it). Come on Tobes...

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    1. If there is a story here then, yes, it is about why it took so long for him to come out with it. Where on earth have you got that it could be ill-gotten from? There is no information whatsoever to back that up. He still paid tax when he sold them and it's not really wrong to hold investment funds offshore - why should you be taxed three times on the money at all? There's also no evidence of him aggressively avoiding tax in the same way that Jimmy Carr did and when his total share was worth just £30k (which he aid tax on) it's hardly benefited him; his salary as PM is over three times that - then consider all the other money he has.

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