In Brief

Paradise Papers: Labour councils avoid £12m in UK tax

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn branded ‘hypocritical’ as offshore dodge revealed

Two Labour-led councils avoided paying a total of more than £12m in UK stamp duty tax by routing property purchases through offshore companies, according to new Paradise Papers revelations - leading to accusations that party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a hypocrite for criticising the Queen’s tax arrangements.

Sefton Council, in Merseyside, bought a shopping centre for £32.5m through a Luxembourg company, saving itself £1.6m in stamp duty, The Times reports. And Warrington Council bought a Cheshire business centre for more than £200m using an offshore company, avoiding tax of about £10m, says the newspaper.

Sefton Council told The Times: “We paid all the tax due and will continue to do so.” Warrington Council said their decision to use an offshore company was made to help expedite the purchase, adding: “The only tax not being paid… is a one-off payment of stamp duty land tax.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that Labour’s London headquarters is rented from a tax-exempted property trust fund based in Jersey, and that Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell receives a Westminster Council pension that is drawn from a fund managed by a Guernsey-based firm.

The revelations are “humiliating” for Corbyn, says The Sun. Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg called the Labour boss “ill-informed”.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable branded Corbyn a “hypocrite” after the Labour leader this week implied that the Queen should apologise after leaked Paradise Papers documents suggested the Queen’s private estate invested £10m in offshore tax havens.

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