Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8947
AFTER YEARS of dodging the question, Tory grandee and fundraiser Lord Ashcroft, has revealed that he is indeed a tax-exempt 'non-dom'.
His company Bearwood Corporate Services Limited has been the largest single contributor to the Tories since 2005.
The Tory deputy party chairman's non-domicile status means that he has not paid a penny in tax on his substantial overseas earnings and holdings (estimated at £1.1 billion) as he is registered in the Central American tax haven of Belize. He also is its permanent UN representative.
Ashcroft was given a peerage under Tony Blair's government in 2000. His title was conditional on giving up his Belize residency, something that he has only now agreed to do in anticipation of the release of information on his peerage by the Cabinet Office.
A red-faced David Cameron, all too aware of his narrowing poll lead over Labour, winced: "You have to respect people's privacy and you have to respect the view that someone's tax status is a matter between them and the Revenue."
His lordship declined to comment on paying any back taxes and Cameron declined to say whether he would return Ashcroft's multi-million pound donations to the Tory party.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR 'I wouldn't harm a fly' Gordon Brown, the Labour Party is unable to politically capitalise on the Tory Party's misfortune. It turns out that one of Labour's biggest donors, Lord Paul - the country's 88th richest person - is also a non-dom.
Paul attempted to deflect any criticism with the excuse that his donations to Labour had come from his British company, not from him personally.
Last year it was revealed that his lordship had claimed £38,000 in expenses for a flat as his main residence outside London, even though he admitted never having spent a night there.
Asked whether he would consider changing his tax status as Lord Ashcroft has indicated he will do, Lord Paul said: "Let's wait for the law to pass. It is not a question right now." That means "no" then.
On 27 February, 3,000 people marched through Holloway in north London in a noisy demonstration organised by the 'Defend Whittington Hospital campaign'. They were protesting against the threat to close the accident and emergency and maternity units at Whittington Hospital.
A closing rally included speakers from several different workplaces including the local bus garage and from the hospital's Unison union branch. Other speakers included David Lammy the Labour MP for Tottenham and the LibDem leader of Islington council, both of whom hypocritically support this campaign whilst supporting policies of public sector cuts and privatisation that are responsible for this crisis in the NHS.
Socialist Party members sold 90 copies of The Socialist and handed out 1,000 leaflets with the demands: "No to NHS cuts and privatisation" and "build a national movement to defend the NHS."
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature