I'm loving this latest piece by Andrew Porter in the Telegraph, which to me stinks so heavily of a black-op anti-Blears briefing from Downing Street it's almost laughable.
It reports that her resignation was actually "due to capital gains tax avoidance on another property". However, when you read the story and look at the details it's obviously a hatchet spin job because it doesn't contain a single new revelation. It says,
Hazel Blears’ resignation as Communities Secretary was partly triggered by the discovery that she had allegedly avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of another property.Oh really Mr Porter? You just learned that did you? Did you not pay attention to her own statement (mirrored with date stamps on PoliticsHome) back when she wrote the cheque last month? She said,
The Telegraph has learned that the £13,000 that Miss Blears repaid voluntarily last month, in the wake of expenses disclosures about the sale of her Kennington flat, was not allegedly to cover just one property.
"When selling that Kennington flat, and also one in Shad Thames before I became a minister, I checked the rules for the Inland Revenue in terms of designating a property as your main home. I followed those rules as they meant there was not any liability for capital gains tax.....Note the reference to "flats", plural and the reference to two locations? Also the reference to a third address in the statement on her own website from last month? The "new revelation" that the cheque was for more than one property isn't new at all. So, the claim by Andrew Porter and the Telegraph that,
What matters is what people think and feel about the issue. I have therefore written a cheque to the Inland Revenue for the equivalent amount had I been liable for capital gains tax when I sold the flats."
It was presumed that the amount was for the Kennington flat, but that allegedly is not the case.It would only do that if you were a complete idiot and failed to pay attention to what was said at the time; or perhaps are taking a line being briefed to you from those with an interest in discrediting Blears before she publicly attacks them?
The disclosure that the £13,000 allegedly included “back tax” for another “flipped” property deal will lead many to suspect that she resigned today before the details were disclosed.
Update: The Telegraph has amended their story to say the information was public knowledge already. Funny that.