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Record £12bn tax haul boosts Osborne

Largest monthy surplus since the 2008 bailout

CHANCELLOR George Osborne got a gift from his tax-dodging chums yesterday as official figures showed a big boost to public finances last month.

Official statistics revealed a record self-assessment tax take of over £12 billion in January — creating the largest monthly government surplus since the 2008 bankers’ bailout.

But that figure includes billions in bosses’ bonuses paid out late to exploit a 2013 Tory tax cut.

And the government still had to borrow another £86.1bn to shore up its finances in the 12 months to January — pushing Britain’s national debt to £1.464 trillion.

Mr Osborne claimed the flattering accounts last month showed the country was “on track” to meet forecasts for borrowing and deficit reduction, both of which have been wildly missed in the past.

Deploying the Tories’ well-worn mantra, he said the news was “further proof that the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

But he dodged the real reason for the £1.7bn leap in January self-assessment income compared to 2014.

Billions in bonuses were stored up by the wealthy in 2013 to exploit a Conservative decision to slash income tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent for people earning over £150,000 a year.

That cash was included in last month’s self-assessment returns and led to the bumper tax haul.

Analysts had actually predicted a far higher increase of up to £3bn — still short of the cash needed to hit the Tories’ financial targets for 2015.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The poor performance of wages and job quality is the key reason the government’s deficit reduction plans have failed.

“Today’s statistics suggest that even their most recent forecast may be missed, with self-assessment tax receipts still down on expectations.”

Labour shadow Treasury secretary Chris Leslie also dismissed the Chancellor’s boasts.

“Today’s figures are distorted by bonuses at the top which were delayed from 2012-13 to 2013-14 to take advantage of the top rate tax cut,” he said.

“This is something which has cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.”

 

 

Labour challenge Osborne to come clean

LABOUR challenged Chancellor George Osborne to come clean yesterday after he appeared to wash his hands of any responsibilty for the tax-dodging scandal involving British millionaires and HSBC’s Swiss wing.

Speaking on the subject for the first time since the news broke two weeks ago, the Tory said it would not be “right” for him to get involved in the cases which saw a paltry single prosecution by HM Revenue and Customs result from the cases of over 1,000 known evaders.

Labour shadow Treasury secretary Chris Leslie said the Chancellor had failed to answer “any of the key questions.”

“He cannot continue to duck responsibility for HMRC’s failure to act or the decision to make Lord Green a Conservative minister,” said Mr Leslie.

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