Tonight David Cameron will host Guests including Welsh business leaders, Sports personalities and politicians. Along with today's Points of Light award winner Reverend Jan Gould a Vicar from Cardiff who has set up a thriving community music group for children. The Welsh catering company ‘Graham Tinsley’ who were met by Stephen Crabb Secretary of State for Wales set up the celebrations for the St David’s Day reception held at 10 Downing Street. The menu showcased Welsh produce, including Welsh beef, cheeses and cakes.
Comment

In the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, should Cameron resign?

HE SHOULDN’T RESIGN

Adam Muspratt

David Cameron has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet the kerfuffle over his private finances has ruptured in a sickening storm of sneering accusations, a motion which is spearheaded by the refusal to consider the actual facts.

The only fault of the PM is his inability to deal with a crisis, he should be screaming the moral case for his actions, not giving into the hysterical lynch mob by flinging tax forms left-right-and-centre. Unfortunately he has made himself look a guilty figure with his fingers in the till, and as such, the media and the vocal minority have had their dubious suspicions confirmed. They say “we’ve got him,” “he’s a greedy this-and-that,” and “a rich toff only out for himself.” Enough of this nonsense.

Those who would wish to see David Cameron resign, please consider the following if you can avoid from frothing at the mouth in envy at the PM’s affluent background (let’s be honest, it’s probably what it is).

The main points of discussion are his off-shore investments and his inheritance. To tackle the former, and to cut a long story short, “a man makes a modest investment and pays all of his tax” as so succinctly quipped by tax lawyer, James Quarmby, to the BBC. This didn’t fit the narrative of course as the BBC presenter then stumbled through a series of “um’s” and “well’s” in the onslaught of Quarmby’s tax expertise. It’s kind of a microcosm of this whole episode in all honesty.

The type of fund that the PM benefited from is subject to distributor funds, this means that every penny that the fund makes goes onto a tax return, so all tax is paid in a completely above board manner. People set up off shore funds not to avoid tax, but because they are easier to create due to relaxed laws. “There is no tax efficiency in this fund, it is a terrible way to avoid tax” as further noted by Quarmby. Furthermore, the firm, Baltimore Holdings was moved to Ireland in 2010 which is full member of the EU. Hardly a dodgy off-shore investment, it’s a standard vehicle for investing in foreign stocks. Millions do the same thing through their pension funds.

Secondly, the money that the PM inherited from his mother. What an awful woman she must be, giving her son £200,000 after his father died, why didn’t she wait until she passed on so that £70,000 could go to the government?

I don’t think there is a parent in this country that wouldn’t want their children to do better in life, it’s a basic human instinct and to decry it as “immoral” is nonsensical. The Cameron family operated above board and paid no more tax than they should have. “Man receives monetary gift from his mother in the same manner that millions have across the UK” would be an appropriate headline for this non-story. In-fact, Chas Roy-Chowdy, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, surmised that “he seemed to have been doing all the wrong things in terms of minimising his tax bill.” I feel that there is a trend here among tax experts.

The fact is that money moves between spouse’s tax free, and the PM’s mother is still alive. This means that no inheritance tax has to be paid on the money she transferred to him. Besides, it had already been taxed as part of his father’s earnings.

It’s the inheritance tax itself that is immoral, and the only surprising thing about this story is that people are outraged by what millions across the UK are already doing. I wouldn’t even go as far to suggest that it’s a “loophole” it’s simply what any sane person would do and it’s perfectly advertised on Gov.uk.

It’s damming that this witch hunt was started by people who saw guilt by association of the PM being a Tory, and well, incredibly rich – but the electorate already knew these things since they voted him into office.

We learned nothing new from this episode, except that he inherited some money and owns some shares. What shockers those morsels of news are! Envy is a debilitating condition, and quite widespread it seems.

I don’t know how sensible tax planning makes you a bad person, it’s not sneaky it’s what you’re supposed to do. To suggest the PM should resign over this is absurd quite frankly.

 

HE SHOULD RESIGN

Sam Saunders

With social media in uproar this week after the revelations of the business activities of David Cameron’s late father were revealed in the so-called ‘Panama papers’ information dump, you could be forgiven for thinking that the writing was on the wall for David Cameron and his premiership. Despite the uproar, Cameron has remained stubbornly in office, although his approval ratings have now dropped below those of Jeremy Corbyn for the first time. Whilst he remains in his job however, this seems to be the perfect time for a Cameron resignation.

What I mean by this is not that the political climate is right or that it is at a time of Cameron’s choosing. This revelation, that the prime minister and his wife owned shares in an offshore company, flies in the face of everything that the government has been attempting in terms of cracking down on tax avoidance, especially in recent months. The ‘triumph’ of getting Google to pay around £130 million in tax recently was seen by many as a sign that the Conservatives were still lazy on this particular policy; people deducing that the Tories are still on the side of the mega rich and big businesses. This modicum of tax that Google paid was seen as a huge success by the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, but all of that work has now been undone by the recent allegations about both individuals, especially as the spotlight has changed to the chancellor after his tax return was released.

I suppose the main reasons for a resignation at this time are thus. The idea of even owning shares in an offshore trust means that Cameron is a hypocrite and has not only damaged his own reputation but most of the progress that had been made to make the Tories appear more friendly and open to the whole country. It means that one of the lynchpin policies of the majority Conservative government is now in tatters, as the general populace and the other MPs in the Commons are unlikely to trust the Prime Minister on tax avoidance strategies ever again. Also, this latest debacle comes at a time when Cameron is still reeling from several recent and high profile defeats, as well as a lot of negative press. The defeat over working tax credits last year, the more recent defeat over changes to Personal Independence Payments and the fallout over the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith have damaged Cameron, and I believe that this damage may be irreparable.

Cameron is also presiding over one of the worst periods of Tory infighting over Europe in recent memory, something which will only get worse as the referendum approaches. Given the record of austerity started by the coalition and this government, the rest of the negative press Cameron has received and the ongoing Europe feud within the Conservative Party, it is my view that he should resign. It’s time for another MP to have a go at steering the government for the remainder of this term, because, if nothing else, I believe the country will benefit if Cameron were to resign.

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