David Cameron joins the attacks on Jimmy Carr over 'morally wrong' scheme to avoid tax

But Prescott accuses PM of double standards with tweeted reference to Lord Ashcroft

David Cameron was accused of hypocrisy last night after he joined the outcry over celebrities trying to avoid taxes through complicated schemes sheltering their income.

Mr Cameron denounced the stand-up comic Jimmy Carr as "morally wrong" for putting his earnings into a "very dodgy tax avoiding scheme".

Carr is reportedly among high-earners who cut their tax rates to as little as 1 per cent by channelling cash through a Jersey-based company.

But Mr Cameron refused to be drawn on separate claims that Gary Barlow and other members of the Take That pop group had also put their money in a scheme designed to avoid tax. The disclosure was embarrassing for him as Barlow campaigned alongside the Tory leader at the last general election and received the OBE last week.

A drive against tax avoidance schemes was one of the high-profile measures in the Budget in March.

Last night the former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott accused Mr Cameron of double standards.

He pointed to Lord Ashcroft, the former Tory deputy chairman, who was not domiciled in Britain for tax purposes despite sitting in the House of Lords. Lord Prescott tweeted: "So if you're a comedian and avoid tax, the Tories condemn you. If you're a millionaire donor and avoid tax, you get a peerage! #ashcroft"

When it emerged in 2010 that Lord Ashcroft was a non-dom, Mr Cameron said: "I've always taken the view that someone's tax status is between them and the Revenue."

But yesterday, during a visit to Mexico, Mr Cameron singled out the "Jimmy Carr scheme", saying: "People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes."

Carr, who has lampooned wealth bankers, reportedly protects £3.3m a year by putting cash through Jersey-based K2. It transfers salaries into a trust, which then lends the cash back to the investors. Because they have technically received a loan that can be recalled, the money is not liable to income tax.

Confronted about his financial arrangements during a show in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Carr told a heckler: "I pay what I have to and not a penny more."

It has also been alleged that Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and the Take That manager Jonathan Wild invested at least £26m in a scheme run by Icebreaker Management Services. They are said to be among 1,000 people who contributed £480m to an investment scheme described by HM Revenue and Customs as a tax shelter. The company maintained yesterday it operated "within the law".

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Solar Business Development Manager – M&A

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Accountant,Reconciliations,Bristol,Bank,£260/day

£200 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Accountant, Reconciliations, Bristo...

Test Analyst

£20000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An experienced Tes...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried