Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg admit paying tradesmen cash in hand
Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg were among politicians who today admitted to paying tradesmen cash in hand after a Treasury minister condemned the practice as “morally wrong” if the aim was to help them avoid tax.
The comments by David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, put senior political figures on the spot over their domestic arrangements.
Mr Johnson confessed he often produced a bundle of notes to settle his bills. The Mayor of London said: “I have certainly paid a lot of cash in hand.”
It is a rarer practice in the Clegg household. An aide to the Deputy Prime Minister said: “Nick has very occasionally paid in cash - but not to allow someone to avoid tax or in exchange for a lower price.”
His Liberal Democrat colleague, Vince Cable, took a similar line. Asked if he had ever paid cash in hand, the Business Secretary replied: “Of course. It’s perfectly legal and perfectly moral, providing you are not doing it with the objective of avoiding tax.”
But the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, side-stepped the same question at an Olympics press conference. He said: “David Gauke was saying that tax-dodging is wrong and personally I haven’t dodged tax.”
The Home Office minister, James Brokenshire, answered: “Would I make cash payments to avoid VAT? No, I certainly would not.”
Ed Miliband, on a visit to Paris, was also opaque on the question. The Labour leader said: “What I say is that the job of government is to pass the right laws to clamp down on tax avoidance – that’s the most important thing.”
Treasury sources stressed that Mr Gauke’s comments were aimed at householders who pay with money in return for a discount – and know the recipient would avoid tax as a result. They said: “Our priority remains to tackle large-scale aggressive avoidance by the richest in our society.”
Tariq Dag Khan, from the tradesmen recommendation website Rated People, said the minister’s comments would “do little to help tradesmen who are struggling in a difficult economic climate.” He said: “There is little or no alternative to cash payments for many tradesmen."
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...