Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Housey Housey: Another Game of Family Fortunes


Mr Dale is getting quite a bit of stick for sticking up for the Winterton's tax avoidance and "Family Fortunes" game.

The Wintertons do not have to push the envelope like this whatever their advisers may say. As well as being in the lowest quartile (even decile) on exes claimed they are in the lowest quartile on attendance etc.

The word up here in the NW is that they mostly stay in Cheshire kissing babies and opening supermarkets and making ill-advised jokes about cockle pickers at rugby dinners. Not to mention presenting prizes at races and fun runs. Which is where Tarus (10k Champ) and myself and dogs (5k Champs) met old Sir Nick in summer 2006.

Quite a good way to meet and greet "enemy" MPs as it goes. Also bagged Ken Clarke that way.

UPDATE: Swear blogger Devil's Kitchen would string them up. (PG)

3 comments:

Evan Price said...

Sadly, the allowance scheme that permits the Wintertons to act in this way is at fault - and there are other MPs that have benefited from this too, on all sides.

On the other side, the IHT regime requires that a person retain no personal benefit from a gift for the gift to be effective. So, if I transfer my home to my son and continued to live there, the law would in effect say that the gift was of not effect for the purposes of IHT on my death. However, if I retain no benefit, and pay market rent for my occupation of the property, then the gift becomes effective and provided that I live for long enough, the home does not get added back to my estate on my death.

The legitimate avoidance of IHT is increasingly common and increasingly it is done by many on middle incomes who have discovered that their home is worth more than the IHT threshold.

The fact that this has combined in the Winterton's case with an absurd allowance system doesn't, in my view, justify the scorn poured on them; I agree that they were unwise to agree to participate in this particular scheme on political grounds - but it is the rules surrounding the allowance that creates the problem and combined with the gifts with reservation of the benefit rules from HMRC, this combines to make what would otherwise be a perfectly sensible tax mitigation scheme into something that creates political outrage.

Chris Paul said...

I agree Evan. Mostly. The allowances system is a terrible thing. Though when some of your colleagues on the Tory Blogging Benches crit things that are relatively trivial something as brazen as this is bound to attract attention.

One cannot throw toys on Balls-Coopers and say Wintertons are nothing!

And there are far worse things about them. the casual racism from missus and the lack of attendance from both for example. Though as I recall they do seem to get called quite a bit to speak at PMQs - including Blair's finale.

Evan Price said...

Personally speaking: the Balls's (should I have added the apostrophe?) are effectively doing a similar thing to the Wintertons. They are using the allowance system to their advantage. The significant difference between the two concerns the additional use of what is now a commonplace tax mitigation scheme (to avoid using contentious language).

As I have written on my blog, the concentration on alleged corruption, when all that is occurring is a legitimate use of inadequate allowance schemes, is silly - we will undoubtedly end up somewhere far worse - and the petty minded idiots will then be looking for the slightest infraction, intended or not, to damn their opponents, bringing the whole system further into disrepute.

The example I would use? Look at the furore over the absurd law, rulings and guidance over party and poltical funding.