As a result of the Panama Papers scandal, a fair few British politicians have published their tax returns. In the case of some Tories, the release of their details has further inflamed, rather than subdued, the public’s anger over income inequality and tax avoidance by our governing elite.
Not to be outdone, the right-wing press has come to the Conservatives’ aid, doing some of their own digging into Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return. On Tuesday morning, The Sun revealed that the Labour leader is facing “serious trouble” for, wait for it, not declaring £450 in earnings.
Or, that’s the breaking news The Sun would like you to believe.
On closer inspection, it appears that the opposite may be true. Corbyn seems to have overstated his earnings, according to Politics Home.
The earnings in question are for lectures Corbyn gave, and for him taking part in surveys. His tax return declares that in the year 2014-15 he earned £1,850 in earnings from these sources. But Politics Home have deduced, from the register of MPs’ financial interests (PDF, p77), that Corbyn only earned £1,580 for these services during that period. That means the Labour leader paid unnecessary tax on earnings of £270, and is actually due a rebate from the taxman.
Corbyn is probably very grateful to The Sun for ensuring journalists checked their claims and found that out.
Of course, it is imperative that the Labour leader pay his fair share of tax. But it is telling that the mainstream media is scratching around for Corbyn’s crumbs whilst largely defending Cameron’s attempt to fleece the taxpayer for a large piece of the economic pie.
Since the Panama Papers revelations, many newspapers have insisted on the legitimacy of tax avoidance due to it being legal, and even moral. And this is no surprise, considering that many media organisations benefit from the current rules. But they’re missing the point, which Corbyn made clearly in parliament on 11 April:
do members opposite realise why people are so angry? We’ve gone through six years, six years, of crushing austerity… much of this could have been avoided if our country hadn’t been ripped off by the super-rich refusing to pay their taxes.
Quite right, and the only way to ensure they do now pay their taxes is to overhaul the system. But we can be sure that most of the media, and the Conservative government, won’t be a cheerleader for that.
– Read the Panama Papers here.
– Join the People’s Assembly “March For Health, Homes, Jobs And Education” on Saturday 16 April.
– Support The Canary to continue providing alternative news.
Image via Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?