David Cameron must be questioned over tax affairs by Parliament's sleaze watchdog, Jeremy Corbyn demands

Prime Minister earned enough to benefit from Chancellor George Osborne's cut in top rate of tax from 50p to 45p

Oliver Wright
Political Editor
Sunday 10 April 2016 11:05 BST
David Cameron should be questioned by parliament says Jeremy Corbyn

Everyone involved in public life should be made to publish their tax return, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested - as he called for David Cameron to be questioned by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog.

In his first major intervention in the Panama tax row, Mr Corbyn said the Prime Minister’s disclosure of his income and the tax he paid on it over the last five years simply raised more questions than it answered.

Documents released by Downing Street on Saturday showed Mr Cameron paid more than £400,000 in tax on an income of around £1 million over six years from 2009 to 2015.

They also revealed Mr Cameron had been given a £200,000 gift by his mother following his father's death - which could potentially avoid inheritance tax.

Number 10 said the two payments of £100,000 in 2011 came on top of the £300,000 Mr Cameron inherited from his father, Ian, as the Prime Minister's mother, Mary, attempted to "balance" the sums received by their children.

The payments by Mary Cameron to her son in May and July 2011 were given tax free, and will only become liable to inheritance tax of up to 40 per cent if the Prime Minister's mother dies within seven years of handing over the money.

Mr Corbyn said he was still not satisfied that Mr Cameron was being fully frank about his income or his tax affairs describing them as “more than a little odd” and pointing out that the Downing Street’s position on the issue appeared to change “every 18 hours to 24 hours”.

He added that he believed Mr Cameron’s tax affairs were a legitimate question for Parliament when it returns this week, adding it was for the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to “question him on this”.

“I want to see the (tax return) papers,” he said.

“We need to know what he’s actually returned. Why he put this money in overseas trusts in the first place and whether he made any money on it before 2010. There is a case for him to answer questions before Parliament.”

Mr Corbyn also called for greater disclosure of MPs financial records – suggesting that everyone in public life possibly including journalists should have to publish their tax returns.

"People in public office, you have to know what they're earning, where it's come from... what influences it's under,” he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

Mr Corbyn added it would be a “good thing” if anyone involved in politics, including journalists, published their tax return.

The information released by Number 10, in a schedule drawn up by accountants, showed the Prime Minister had a taxable income of more than £200,000 in 2014-15 and paid almost £76,000 in tax.

The figures show that, on top of his income as Prime Minister, his 50 per cent share of the rental income on the Camerons' family home in London amounted to £46,899, he received £9,834 in taxable expenses from the Tory party and £3,052 in interest on savings in a high street bank.

The figures reveal that when he first entered Downing Street in 2010, he benefited from a £20,000 tax-free allowance as part of his £142,500 salary, although in subsequent years he did not take advantage of the long-standing perk available to occupants of Number 10.

The information shows Mr Cameron earned enough to benefit from the cut in the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p.

The cut, announced in 2012 for people earning more than £150,000, came into effect in April 2013.

Mr Cameron said he was publishing the information to be "completely open and transparent" about his financial affairs.

The disclosure came after he admitted botching the handling of the row over his finances, telling Tory activists it had "not been a great week".

The tax return figures show that in 2009-10, while leader of the opposition, Mr Cameron paid £43,483 income tax on a total taxable income of £129,225.

In 2010-11, after entering Downing Street, he paid £56,155 on a taxable income of £157,286 - benefiting from the little-known £20,000 tax-free "prime ministerial expenses deduction".

In 2011-12 his income rose to £200,919, boosted by his share of the rental income from the Notting Hill home vacated by the Camerons when they moved in to Downing Street, and he paid £77,987 in tax.

In 2012-13 Mr Cameron paid £72,472 tax on an income of £189,506; in 2013-14 he paid £76,288 on his £200,735 income.

Although Mr Cameron's gross salary as Prime Minister stood at £142,500 between 2010 and 2015, the variations in the taxable amount came through the way his pension contributions were treated and the different approaches taken to the £20,000 tax-free allowance.

The Prime Minister voluntarily cancelled out the allowance by declaring the equivalent amount as taxable income between 2011-12 and 2013-14 before waiving it entirely from 2014-15.

The figures show the Camerons receive rent of more than £90,000 a year on the Notting Hill property.

Mr Cameron's 50 per cent share of the net rental income, minus expenses, was £45,041 in 2011-12, £46,700 in 2012-13, £47,764 in 2013-14 and £46,899 last year.

Interest from his high street savings accounts amounted to £26 in 2009-10, £87 in 2010-11, £365 in 2011-12 before rising to £2,701 in 2012-13, £6,681 in 2013-14 and £3,052 in 2014-15.

Mr Cameron's savings benefited from the sale of £72,000 of shares when he entered No 10, with the gains on some shares wiped out by losses on others, resulting in a capital loss of £2,507, and around £40,000 in cash from an account with a stockbroker.

Mr Corbyn said he would publish his own tax return "very, very soon" and insisted there were "no surprises there".

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