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Why Is Angela Rayner Facing Questions Over Her Tax Arrangements?

Angela Rayner pictured in Birmingham earlier this week (Alamy)

4 min read

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner is facing questions over her tax arrangements relating to the sale of her former council house.

Rayner has denied any wrongdoing and said that she will not publish her "personal" tax advice over the matter.

On Wednesday, Greater Manchester Police confirmed they are "reassessing" their decision to not investigate the situation, following a complaint from a Conservative MP

Why are Angela Rayner’s tax arrangements under the spotlight?

The issue relates to the sale of an ex-council house Rayner previously owned in Stockport, Greater Manchester. She has been accused of avoiding paying capital gains tax on the sale in 2015. The claims first emerged in the biography Red Queen written by peer Lord Ashcroft, published this month. 

According to gov.uk, capital gains tax is a tax on the profit when you sell an asset that has increased in value. The tax is paid on the “gain” – the increase in value – rather than the overall amount of money you receive for selling the asset. 

You do not pay capital gains tax when you are selling a main residence, but HMRC rules state that married couples and civil partners can only count one property as their main home. 

Rayner’s house on Vicarage Road was bought for £79,000 in 2007. In March 2015 the house was sold for £127,500, equating to a gain of £48,500. 

Vicarage Road was claimed to be the main home and therefore the tax was not paid. However, there have been claims that for some of this time she was primarily living at an address in Lowndes Lane owned by her then-husband The couple separated in 2020. 

In a Sunday Times article, tax expert Dan Niedle estimated that Rayner could owe around £1,500 in capital gains tax. 

What has Angela Rayner said about the situation?

Rayner has denied any wrongdoing, but said on Thursday morning that she does not plan to publish her “personal tax advice” over the matter, but that she would gladly provide this to authorities investigating the matter. She did however add that she would be prepared to publish the information if Conservative ministers agreed to do the same. 

"If we're all going to have a level playing field and we suddenly decide that Conservative ministers need to hand over their tax affairs, if you show me yours, then I'll show you mine,” Rayner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday.

Since the allegations first came to light, Rayner has said she did receive tax advice relating to the sale. She has previously told BBC’s Newsnight that the stories were “manufactured to try and smear me”. 

Why have the police been contacted?

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are reassessing their decision to not investigate the claims against Rayner. Concerns have also been raised about whether correct information was given by Rayner with regards to the electoral roll. 

According to The Times, Conservative MP and deputy party chairman James Daly had raised concerns with the police about their earlier decision to not investigate.

Earlier this month GMP said the force had found no evidence that an offence had been committed, but in a statement yesterday they said: “We have received a complaint regarding our decision not to investigate an allegation and are in the process of reassessing this decision. 

“The complainant will be updated with the outcome of the reassessment in due course.” 

A Tory source told PoliticsHome: "Nobody is asking Angela Rayner to publish 15 years of her personal affairs. She is simply being asked to explain why she remained on the electoral register at an address which she didn’t live at for 5 years according to her neighbours.

"For someone who aspires to be in charge of housing and electoral law policy that doesn’t seem a huge ask."

What has Labour leader Keir Starmer said?

Speaking at Labour’s local elections campaign launch on Thursday, Labour leader Keir Starmer defended Rayner.

“Angela has my full support and my full confidence today and every day as we work together to take the Labour Party back into government so we can serve the interests of working people,” he said.  

 

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