Tonight the Daily Telegraph has sensational news that more than 40 Government Ministers, including nine Cabinet Ministers, have acted contrary to specific advice from HMRC in offsetting the cost of accountancy advice against their tax liabilities. HMRC has issued a statement to the Telegraph contradicting what some Ministers have been stating that they were exempt from normal tax rules.
Dozens of Ministers now face an investigation into their tax affairs. In case anyone seeks to suggest that I somehow being biased, the Telegraph confirms that it believes that senior Conservatives are not believed to have offset their accountancy costs in this way. It seems to be a peculiarly Labour scam.
If this story stands up (and I have no reason to believe that it won’t) it looks VERY bad for Labour. Working within lax expenses rules is one thing but to be seen to be fiddling your tax returns at the heart of Government is appalling. It is highly unusual for HMRC to issue such a public statement, especially when it is considered that it answers to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Each Minister will now be under pressure to pay back the tax they saved by this apparently illegal offset.
Following my previous article on the Reading Post’s plans I was contacted by a representative of their editorial department to brief me on their full plans. However, I was asked not to reveal the details until today. So now I can bring you an exclusive!
The essence of what I wrote previously is correct but there is more to it and the Post team are very excited about their plans. The intention is that both editions will be more “up-market” and even the free paper on Friday will not have a “throwaway” feel about it. As I stated before, Wednesday will be the main sold edition with all the usual property and other supplement, totalling about 180 pages.
The Friday edition of around 72 pages will be known as “GetReading”, after the website title and will be fully interactive with the website. It will also be sold in newsagents for 40p as well as being delivered free across Reading. The Post believes it is the first case of a website spawning its own newspaper. I am told it will have “lots of news, comprehensive Royals pre-match coverage, 2 pages of letters, features, what’s on for the weekend and it will be on sale all weekend, probably until the Tuesday of the following week”.
The announcement was originally scheduled for tomorrow but has been brought forward to later today. I look forward to seeing the redesigned paper and very much hope that it secures the future of the Post. It is healthy to have some competition amongst the local printed media.