Johnson must confirm no other ministers have used tax loopholes, Starmer says

Keir Starmer has called on Boris Johnson to publicly confirm that no other cabinet ministers have used measures to reduce their tax liability amid the ongoing row sparked by revelations concerning Rishi Sunak’s tax arrangements.

Following recent reports that Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, had opted out of paying income tax on cash earned overseas by claiming ‘non-dom’ status, the Labour leader argued this afternoon that “the scale of the Chancellor’s hypocrisy is difficult to swallow against the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis”.

Murty owns a £670m share in her father’s global IT company, Infosys, from which she received £11.6m in dividend income last year. By claiming non-domiciled status in the UK, Murty is estimated to have saved £2.1m a year in UK tax.

“We now know that the Health Secretary – the former Chancellor – also knows his way around a tax reduction scheme. To appoint one Chancellor with suspect tax affairs is sloppy, to appoint two is a habit,” Starmer said.

Former Chancellor and current Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Sunday Times that he had claimed non-domicile status for six years while working as a banker, before becoming an MP, between 2000 and 2006. He also admitted to holding wealth in an offshore trust until he became a minister in 2012.

“It really is one rule for them, and another for everyone else. For every day this chaos continues, energy bills are going up, prices are going up, and this government isn’t doing anything to help people paralysed by the cost of living crisis,” Starmer said.

“Boris Johnson needs to bring this saga to a close and confirm that no other sitting Conservative minister is doing or has done anything to reduce their own personal tax bill, while they preside over the biggest tax hike in 70 years.”

Sunak requested on Sunday that the Prime Minister launch a Whitehall investigation into his own tax affairs, telling Johnson that he was “confident” that everything had been properly declared since he became a minister in 2018.

The Chancellor is also facing pressure over whether holding a US green card while in his government role represented a conflict of interest. He gave up the document, which declares an individual a “permanent US resident”, in October last year.

There were reports that the Chancellor was considering his position over the weekend. He moved his family out of their Downing Street residence, back to their home in Kensington. His allies, however, have said that the move is related only to wanting to be closer to his daughter’s school.

Angela Rayner wrote to the Prime Minister on Sunday asking several questions, including whether Sunak has ever benefitted from the use of tax havens and whether he has received any updates on his blind trust since becoming Chancellor.

Yvette Cooper told the BBC on Sunday that Labour is “carrying out a “review of all the tax exemptions and tax arrangements”, but the Shadow Home Secretary stopped short of saying that the party would scrap the non-dom tax status.

Fellow Labour frontbencher Steve Reed told Sky News this morning that the opposition party is looking to close tax loopholes as it is “not fair that extremely wealthy individuals are able to dodge their own taxes”.

Momentum has called for Labour to commit to scrapping non-dom status, describing the move as a “no-brainer”. The left-wing group tweeted earlier today: “The public are rightly fed up of the rich not paying their fair share. By calling for the abolition of the non-dom loophole, Labour would show it’s in touch with public outrage and put clear red water between our party and an unpopular Tory elite.”

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