UKIP tax Miliband

Releasing a graphic referencing the (false) claims that Ed Miliband colluded to avoid inheritance tax on his father’s estate, the Kippers have decided to claim they have a “zero tolerance” stance on tax avoidance:

“UKIP has a zero tolerance approach to tax avoidance, no matter how important you think you are.

Perhaps someone should let their party leader and donors know about this new policy.

Nigel Farage, who was exposed last year for setting up an offshore trust in the Isle of Man, this week found himself backing millionaire party supporter Stuart Wheeler over his suggestions that “not all tax avoidance is bad”.

Meanwhile the latest figures from the Electoral Commission show more money from Aaron Banks — given by a company which paid just £12,000 corporation tax on a turnover of £19.7 million and is owned via a tax haven.

Last October Banks claimed he upped his donation to UKIP out of spite, simply to show how rich he is:

“I woke up this morning intending to donate £100,000 to UKIP and I understand Mr Hague called me a nobody.

“So, in light of that and because I am a strong advocate of leaving the European Union, I have decided today to donate £1m to the party and not the £100,000 we originally agreed.”

While Banks and his company have given £210,000 from November, the remainder is non-cash donations of hospitality and “consultancy services” — and that only gets us to £610,000.

So where is the rest of the money? Can we Belize a word he says?

Peter Oborne

With the chief political commentator of the Telegraph quitting in disgust citing the influence of paid advertising over editorial, it is perhaps appropriate that a rebuttal of Peter Oborne’s charges should be launched from another daily organ of Toryism — and one helmed by a former Telegraph comment editor — ConservativeHome.

Having begun his concluding paragraph with the words “My friend”, a sure warning of inbound criticism, Paul Goodman suggests archly that Oborne decided to eviscerate his former employers on OpenDemocracy not out of principle — but because they refused to retain him as a non-staff columnist:

“The timing is odd, since Seiken is no longer at the helm. And Peter may wish, in retrospect, that he had gone public before the Telegraph told him in response to his resignation that his column would be discontinued.

Ouch.

UPDATE: Goodman not a happy bunny …

Defence minister and Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry (majority 389) is attempting to charge businesses in her area for “meeting” her Treasury counterpart Priti Patel at an event on the evening of Thursday 26 March:

“Priti wants to hear your questions and comments on how the Government can continue to do the right thing by business.”

But Scrapbook can’t help wondering what the utility of this information will be — given that parliament will have finished sitting earlier that day and will be officially dissolved at midnight the following Monday.

Priti Patel Anna Soubry event

The evening meeting takes place in a local restaurant and is curiously billed as “not a party political event”. The cost is £25 for a buffet.

So where is the money going, exactly?

Charlotte Leslie donor U-turn

A Conservative MP has retreated from a pledge to return £5,000 from a tax-evading donorafter Tory colleagues refused to hand back £20,000 from the same man and another involved in the scheme.

Charlotte Leslie leads The Times’ special election section with a glowing article on her rejecting cash from Hugh Sloane, whose company Sloane Robinson Investment Services was ordered to pay £12 million to HMRC after its tax arrangements were ruled unlawful by a tribunal.

But the article was amended online (£) just after midnight following a hasty U-turn by the Bristol MP, who decided that she would keep the money despite the illegal tax evasion — because there was no criminal prosecution.

Ms Leslie indicated that she would return any donations from someone who had been found guilty of tax evasion. However, last night she issued a statement saying that as “there was no criminal prosecution of Hugh Sloane or of his company for tax evasion”, she would not be taking any action.

The refusal of fellow Tory MPs Angie Bray (marginal Ealing Central and Acton) and Nicola Blackwood (ultra-marginal Oxford West and Abingdon) to hand back £10,000 each from Sloane and his business partner George Robinson was undoubtedly a decisive factor in the volte face. Sloane told The Times that neither he or his company owed outstanding amounts to HMRC.

Charlotte Leslie certainly knows a thing or two about problematic donations. The former SpAd was forced to apologise to the Commons last year after failing to declare thousands of pounds to parliamentary authorities — because she is dyslexic.

Leslie received £10,000 just days after a company whose campaign she had supported in parliament won a favourable ruling worth tens of millions of pounds.

noel-gallagher-nigel-farage

The ageing but ever quotable rocker Noel Gallagher …

On Nigel Farage:

He doesn’t look like he could be mentally capable of running a corner shop, far less a fucking country.

On the Tories:

David Cameron, he’s trying to be your mate. “Oh, I really like The Jam.” Thatcher was just like, “I’m fucking you in the arse, fuck what you say.” You can kind of respect that.

Some 18 years after he was hosted by Tony Blair at a ‘Cool Britannia’ reception in Downing Street, Gallagher told The Quietus that he will definitely be voting in May:

“I’ll pick the most ludicrous thing on the fucking ballot. Last time I voted for a little guy who was standing round here as a pirate.”

Disability benefit: spin and reality

The Tories’ back-of-a-fag-packet proposals to force addicts in receipt of benefits to accept treatment are unfunded — despite potentially costing millions to implement, Scrapbook can reveal.

According to the DWP’s own figures, nearly 90,000 people receive disability benefits where their drug or alcohol problem is their “primary disabling condition”. The department admits this is likely to be an underestimate.

But when asked by Scrapbook what money would be made available to fund the required additional places in addiction treatment services — which are already stretched (or in some areas virtually non-existent) following cuts — a spokesman responded:

“Supporting people back into work is – and will continue to be – a priority for our health and care services.

The news comes after Buzzfeed reported comments from Health Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston that David Cameron would effectively be asking doctors to break the law:

“A doctor would not only find themselves in breach of the law, they’d find themselves at risk of being struck off”

“So in fact, his proposal is utterly unworkable in terms of the existing law.”

This stunt dressed up as a policy looks dead in the water.

Adam Memon CPS

There can be no complaints about think tank wonker Adam Memon when it comes to his stated aim of promoting his employer’s work in the media. The Centre for Policy Studies’ head of economic research has seen his research cited in national newspapers at least twice — to underpin Tory attacks as the election hots up.

David Cameron cited Memon’s research to back up his claim that Labour tax proposals would cost 100,000 jobs:

“Figures from the Centre for Policy Studies, an independent think-tank, estimated the likely impact of Labour’s policy to increase corporation tax from its current low levels.

And Memon was quoted alongside Iain Duncan Smith in a Sun article which was again based on his research and begins:

“At least 750,000 extra families will be trapped on benefits if Labour wins the next election, a report reveals.

“Authors Adam Memo [sic] and Tim Knox say: “The size of the state is strongly related to welfare dependency in the UK.

“Adam from the CPS” … or, as his friends and associates used to call him, “Adam from Tory HQ”:

“Adam joined the Centre for Policy Studies in January 2014, having previously been at the Conservative Research Department.”

Still, it’s good to know that the Tory donors which fund CPS are getting their money’s worth.

Unbelievably, the CPS even have the temerity to attack charities for refusing to reveal who funds them — despite themselves having the second lowest rating from transparency website Who Funds You.

UPDATE I: More from the “independent” CPS, which was actually founded by, errr, Maggie Thatcher:

CPS and Margaret Thatcher Foundation

UPDATE II: A reader gets in touch to highlight a past machinations. As a student, Memon was forced to withdraw from the race to become president of UCL’s Conservative Society after he was exposed as the beneficiary of a conspiracy to flood the AGM with new members.

Taylor Swift with Sarah Palin

Having reportedly written “Republicans do it better” on her MySpace page as a yoof, perhaps the producers of Saturday Night Live thought it would be a good idea to sit Taylor Swift next to Tea Party crackpot Sarah Palin for their 40th anniversary special.

Unfortunately, they forgot about the bits where she called the US first lady a “role model”dated a Kennedy and pointedly refused to laugh at anti-Obama jokes at a country music awards ceremony.

The Shake It Off star said of his election in 2008:

“I’ve never seen this country so happy about a political decision in my entire time of being alive. I’m so glad this was my first election.

Well, it’s as good a reason as any to reprise this: