120K a year Boris Johnson ally accused of “breathtaking arrogance”

29th February, 2012 2:50 pm

Regular readers will remember Barnet Tory and London Assembly member Brian Coleman. Almost six months ago, Coleman behaved in a manner that – even by his standards – was disgraceful, when he told a constituent to “live in the real world” after she appealed to him for housing help. Coleman completed his response to that constituent with the delightful “This correspondence is now closed.”

You’d have thought that after the negative publicity his behaviour received last time, then Coleman might have learned the error of his ways.

Sadly not.

The Barnet Tory was contacted recently by another local resident regarding an issue with parking, following a petition which collected 300 names:

“The 28-year-old sent an email to the Totteridge representative on Saturday to make his case and cited examples of a similar scheme in Camden. But he was amazed to receive one response within 24 hours describing the idea as “unworkable”….After the first email, Mr Sakol thanked Cllr Coleman for replying but urged him to consider the issue and pointed out the elected council member’s duty to represent his residents. The London Assembly member’s response simply stated: “I think this correspondence is now closed thank you.”

Coleman then proceeded to compound his error by hanging up on the local paper when they rang him for a comment. That has led the Barnet Times to launch a remarkable attack on the London Assembly member. In an editorial, the local paper said:

“Manners maketh the man, or so they say. Sadly, Brian Coleman seems to enjoy giving taxpayers the impression he does not have any.”

They go on to argue that he behaved in a “disgraceful display of how elected representatives should not behave”, branded his tactics as “more akin to a dictatorship” and accused him of “breathtaking arrogance”. The whole editorial really is worth a read, and shows the kind of people Boris Johnson is willing to surround himself with. Not only is Coleman a Tory London Assembly member, he’s also the Chair of the Local Fire and Emergency Planning Authority too, meaning he picks up £120k a year from the public purse each year.

With this kind of behaviour, does that sound like value for money?

  • AnotherOldBoy

    £120K a year is nothing.  Mr Livingstone earned £232,000 in 2009 (or rather, his company received that money and paid corporation tax on its profits: Mr Livingstone senisbly arranges his affairs so that his tax bill is lower than it might otherwise be).
     
    Having a candidate like Mr Livingstone means that you have to tread carefully!

    • Slakah

      It shows Livingstone is a hypocrite and one of those ‘rich bastards’ he was bleating on about. Anyway back to the issue raised in this article, Brian Coleman is not fit to be a councillor misanthropy isn’t really a trait which lends itself to public office. Maybe his talents would lend themselves more to being the editor of the Sun?

      • rwendland

        I don’t see that leaving money in the company is much different tax-wise than putting it into a pension fund – both defer tax.  Both avoid tax in the year the money is made, and when the money is actually paid to the individual, in subsequent years, it is then subject to income tax.

        In fact with a pension you can take 25% tax free when you retire, which you don’t get by leaving it in the company.  So possibly Ken is in fact losing out by not sticking it in a pension fund.

        According to the HMRC advice you can carry on pension  contribution to age 75, so that does not restrict Ken doing that.

        It is not clear to me this is a wheeze that gains Ken much.  He does seem fairly rich though, but I thought tories approved of that!

  • Cari_esky5

    The issue here is Coleman not Livingston. what do you think about Coleman and his attitude, AnotherOlsBoy?

  • AlanGiles

    If you’ve ever heard Coleman on LBC Radio, you would know what a bumptious ignorant little man he is. He seems to revel in a brusque arrogant reputation -he is Norman Tebbit without the charm.

    • treborc

      We have these people in all parties Blunkett gets paid from a welfare to work company, Mandy gets money from well god knows where, David Miliband makes his fair share.

      I suppose if i was offered money for giving a speech I would take it pay the tax on it, then again avoidance is not illegal we are told as for morals they did not feed the kids.

      I really think since this is a London matter I will leave London to vote in who they want

  • ovaljason

    And yet not a single word from Mark Ferguson on the Livingstone tax avoidance scandal.

    Mark, I hope you appreciate that it is the blind loyalty of activists like that provides the cover for  Brian Coleman and Ken Livingstone to get away with what they do.

    Is this what you came into political activism for? To watch a mayoral candidate use advanced tax avoidance tactics to rob the NHS of funds, but still support him just because he wears the same colours as you?

  • Amber Star

    Mr Livingstone earned £232,000 in 2009 (or rather, his company received that money and paid corporation tax on its profits: Mr Livingstone senisbly arranges his affairs so that his tax bill is lower than it might otherwise be).———————–
    No, he doesn’t. It would only save tax, if the £232,000 was a salary which was disguised as corporate income. If the money was not a salary from an employer then he hasn’t avoided any tax at all.

    • AnotherOldBoy

      Utter tosh! The £232,000 was earnings from Mr Livingstone’s various paid activities.  Had they not been diverted to a company he would have been liable to pay income tax on them just like any other self-employed individual. 

    • Hugh

       That’s nonsense. He’d be liable for the top rate of tax if he’d just declared the work as self employed income (which it clearly is).

  • “£120K a year is nothing.  Mr Livingstone earned £232,000 in 2009”
    Mr Livingstone, in 2009, wasn’t an elected representative being paid out of the public purse and being repeatedly rude and dismissive to the individual residents contacting him for help. So how are his earnings and tax “issues” in any way relevant to this story? Oh, right, they’re not.

    •  What are these ‘tax issues’?

      Clear attempt going around to turn a non-story into something apparently important.

      At least have the guts to directly refer to what you’re insinuating.

  •  He has to pay income tax whenever he pays himself or someone else though? Or more properly put, the recipient does.

    I don’t see why Ken’s behaviour is different to companies generally?

    He is well off, because he was on the same wage as Boris Johnson.

    Before Boris’s second salary, that is…

    Which brings us on to the issue at hand…

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