Andrea Leadsom received £70,000 donation from family firm with parent company controlled in tax haven

Leadsom given £700,000 as Osborne cracks down on avoidance schemes

Andrea Leadsom, a high-flying Treasury minister, received more than £70,000 from a family business, the parent company of which is controlled out of the Virgin Islands tax haven.

The payments, which appear to be within the letter of the rules for political donations, have been criticised because of the contrast with the Treasury’s stated aim of combating tax avoidance by chanelling money through off-shore firms.

Entries in back numbers of the MPs’ Register of Members’ Interest, which have since been removed from the current Register, show that in 2010 and 2011 Ms Leadsom received a series of payments varying from £5,000 to £20,000 from a firm called Gloucester Research, which later changed its name to GR Software and Research.

The money was used to pay the salaries of staff in Ms Leadsom’s Westminster office after her election in 2010 as MP for South Northamptonshire.

Gloucester Research was a London-based firm, which meant that the donations conformed to a strict rule banning political donations from abroad.

But what the Register did not reveal is that Gloucester Research was owned by Pans (UK) Holdings, based in the secretive offshore haven. Both are among a host of companies controlled by Ms Leadsom’s sister’s husband, Peter de Putron. It emerged last week that Guernsey-based Mr de Putron had made donations of £816,000 to the Conservative party, also through GR.

As well as Mr de Putron, Ms Leadsom’s husband Ben Leadsom is a director of GR Software & Research.

The Labour MP Tom Watson said: “These very large donations might be within the rules, but it certainly isn’t right that a Treasury minister has been taking money in this way. Most reasonable people will see this as completely unreasonable.”

A spokesman for Ms Leadsom said: “The donations are made by UK companies, employing hundreds of UK staff, and generating UK profits – they are fully transparent and properly declared.”

A Tory spokesman added: “All donations to the Conservative Party are fully permissible and declared to the Electoral Commission in accordance with the rules.”

The most recent accounts for the company – which are for 2012 – show a blizzard of transfers of money and loans between GR Software and other du Putron companies including his hedge fund DP Management.

It made £14m in profit but managed to get its tax bill down from what would have been £3.4m at the standard corporation tax rate to just £386 thanks to writing off balances of other group companies.

The company, which has an address in Bloomsbury, central London, makes clear that it donated £155,500 to the Conservative party in the year to 31 December 2012, plus £463,750 to the Open Europe think-tank.

The revelations of Ms Leadsom’s financial links come at a time when the Chancellor George Osborne has undertaken to clamp down on “aggressive” tax avoidance. This has included claiming millions of pounds in back tax from the comedian Jimmy Carr, the singer Gary Barlow and two other members of Take That, and other users of controversial tax-avoidance schemes.

On Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, suggested that wealthy individuals and large companies who aggressively avoid paying tax are breaking Christian teaching. “There’s a passage in the Epistle to the Romans that says pay your tax,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

“People have a duty to make a proper contribution to society, proportionate to their income. Therefore, if they’re doing very well, they should be paying quite a lot. There have to be serious questions about some of these tax avoidance schemes.”

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
filmEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

£35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering