Ken Livingstone Releases Tax Details After Pressure From Boris And Brian

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Ken Livingstone released the details of his tax affairs on Thursday afternoon, having initially said he would only do so if his rivals for London Mayor published the full details of their household incomes.

The Labour candidate for Mayor has been under pressure to explain his tax arrangements, having been accused of avoiding the taxman by paying himself through a company, which attracts corporation tax at 20% rather than higher rates of income tax.

The figures, published on Ken's election website, suggest Livingstone paid just under £35,000 in tax last year on a total income of £94,500 - a rate of 36%.

The figures confirm that since losing the London Mayoral election of 2008, Livingstone's income has increasingly come from company dividends, rather than from a direct salary.

The U-turn by Ken on Thursday afternoon followed his apparent reluctance to follow Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick - his two main rivals in the London Mayoral Election - in publishing their tax figures.

Johnson's tax details suggest that he has not earned any money via a company in the last four years, despite being accused of this by Livingstone earlier this week.

According to the records which go back to April 2007, Boris has only earned money either through a direct salary - primarily since May 2008 as Mayor of London, and from freelance work, the bulk of which is thought to be his column in the Daily Telegraph.

Boris made the disclosure after four of the seven candidates for Mayor of London agreed to do so during a hustings debate on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday.

The disclosure seems to suggest that Livingstone was wrong in his allegation that Boris earned money through corporation tax via Finland Station. It also piled the pressure on Ken to disclose the precise nature of his earnings.

Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick also released details of his tax affairs on Thursday (PDF), they showed that he was paying around 24% tax on his earnings. Last year his police pension of nearly £64,000 formed the bulk of his income.

Green candidate Jenny Jones has said she will publish full details of her income "early next week". In addition to her London assembly salary of just over £53,000, she has declarations in her register of interests on the City Hall website, including "occasional writing" for the Guardian and work for the National Police Improvement Agency.

Earlier, in refusing to publish their candidate's individual tax affairs, Ken' campaign said: “We believe household publication is necessary for full disclosure as the question of Ken’s income and his wife’s income and their tax has been central the coverage of this issue. Publication of Ken’s returns alone will not address many of the questions that have been raised.

“The only way to answer all the questions about this issue and to move the debate on the real issues facing London is for full household income disclosure.

"This should apply to all the candidates equally to avoid any further questions about the income and tax affairs that may or may not be applicable to them through their households."

Ken was immediately criticised for apparently failing to join other candidates in disclosing their full income, with Brian Paddick tweeting:


Brian Paddick
I'll show you mine, will you show me yours?

The row over alleged tax avoidance was ramped up earlier this week when a feisty debate on London's LBC radio station between Boris and Ken spilled out of the radio studio and into a lift. Ken Livingstone had alleged that Boris had previously had similar arrangements with Finland Station.

This caused Boris and Ken to have a blazing row, with Boris describing Ken's allegations as "f*****g lies".

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