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Monday 6 March 2017

Guido Fawked - Corbyn Tax Smear BUSTED

[Update at end of post]

Leading figures in the Labour Party have been demonstrating their commitment to openness by publishing their tax returns, perhaps spurred on by the flat refusal of Chancellor Philip Hammond to do so when challenged on The Andy Marr Show (tm) yesterday. So shadow chancellor John McDonnell has released his return, and so has party leader Jeremy Corbyn. So far, so straightforward.
But waiting in the wings, as all too often, were the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, ready to pounce on Jezza’s tax return and pass severely adverse comment upon it. This duty was delegated to newly anointed teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, who duly discovered - or believed he had discovered - that Jezza had missed his opposition leader’s payment off his return.
So it was that the Fawkes folks proclaimed£40,000 missing from Corbyn’s tax return”, and far too many other pundits took the claim as true. But as Zelo Street has warned time and again, one should never, but never, take Wickham, who lies when he draws breath, on trust. “It is an offence not to declare income correctly. Remember he messed up last year’s tax return too and had to pay a £100 fine” gurgled Wickham happily.
Smile, while your pants are burning ...

But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. For starters, Corbyn’s tax return did have the opposition leader’s payment on it, albeit under “Pensions and state benefits”. And the amount of that payment was not £40,000: the tax return was for 2015-16, and Jezza did not become Labour leader until September of that year. So he didn’t get £40,000.

Still, if at first you don’t succeed, well, suck some more seed, eh? And so it came to pass that Wickham was back on the attack this morning. The Fawkes rabble were wrong about Jezza missing the opposition leader’s dosh off the tax return - but now they had found that the amount shown was £27,192, and Government accounts said he’d had £30,587. So Wickham was still right - well, sort of. Wasn’t he?

Well, no he wasn’t, and as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, £27,192 is a pretty good approximation of £40,000 per annum, pro rata for the period from September 2015 to early April 2016 - and the Fawkes mob claimed £40,000 yesterday, remember?

And two, Jezza’s team has confirmed that the £27,192 figure comes from his P60. Which is issued by … his employer, not by him or his accountant. The numbers declared by Corbyn are therefore almost certainly correct - the discrepancy could be an employer’s pension contribution … made by that same employer.
But what is clear is that Alex Wickham has once again been caught not just lying, but also giving the rest of the press pack a serious bum steer. One of these days they are going to get wise to the Fawkes rabble and their propensity to peddle Fake News.

Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return has nothing missing. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1605 hours: news has just arrived on Zelo Street to confirm that my assumption that the discrepancy between the £30,587 shown on the Government accounts and the £27,192 shown on Jeremy Corbyn's P60 - and therefore his tax return - of £3,395 was a pension contribution was correct. MPs are members of a contributory pension scheme.

On top of all that, Corbyn's tax return shows a donation of £5,420 to charity. This amount is the MPs' pay rise which Corbyn decided he would forego - and said at the time he would indeed donate the amount to charity. So the claims by the Fawkes rabble are 100% wrong, which is quite an achievement, even for practised liars like Alex Wickham. Another fine mess, once again]


Anonymous said...

"the discrepancy could be an employer’s pension contribution "

More likely a National Insurance issue - once you are over 65 you no longer pay it.

SteveB said...

simple mistake for the boy to make. P60 is the form given just after tax year end by the EMPLOYER. But since it is unlikely that Wickham has ever had a real employer he would never have seen one.

I'd go with Tim's sugestion that the £40,000 pa/ pro rata includes pension contributions which are then deducted before the tax is calculated. (see www.gov.uk/tax-on-your-private-pension/pension-tax-relief ) So the number in the P60 box with the big star that clearly says tell HMRC this number will be less than actual earnings if you have a contributory pension.

JP Janson De Couet said...

The Guido Fawkes blog appears to have gone completely mad and is posting angrier and angrier justifications of its nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Why oh why is this blog not covered by ofcom in anyway. Plus why do the simple journalist at the BBC and Telegraph not fact check themselves before using this sack of shit blog. Sloppy lazy journalism

Blog Complaints Commission said...

They have been hanging around Toryville for so long the bad math is catching.