George Osborne forced to deny he has benefited from offshore trust

Posted On: 
6th April 2016

George Osborne today denied having money in an offshore trust - after he was accused of cutting short an interview while being asked about his own tax arrangements.

George Osborne spoke about his own tax affairs during a visit to the Ocado Customer Fulfilment Centre in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Credit: 
PA Images

The Chancellor was being interviewed by ITV News when the discussion turned to his own financial affairs.

 

 

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It came as the so-called 'Panama Papers' row over the use of tax havens by wealthy individuals, including David Cameron's late father, rumbled on.

Mr Osborne was asked whether he "benefited from any offshore funds" now or would in the future.​

He replied: "Well we've made very clear the arrangements that we have, they're all declared in the register and the like. But I thought it was very striking you had a Labour MP this morning praising the Prime Minister's leadership at home and abroad on this issue of tax evasion, where frankly this British government has done more than any previous British government to make sure people pay the taxes that are owed."

After answering the same question twice more, the Chancellor then walks away as the interviewer tries to ask him again.

Treasury sources insisted Mr Osborne had not tried to cut short the interview, and stressed he did not use tax havens.

One source said: "George has no offshore interests, in shares or anything else, and as he made clear earlier all his interests are properly declared in the register of interests."

The row came as Downing Street issued a fourth statement clarifying Mr Cameron's own financial affairs.

A spokesman said: "There are no offshore funds/trusts which the Prime Minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future."

Number 10 had initially said the Prime Minister's tax arrangements were "a private matter",  but Mr Cameron eventually made a public statement at an EU referendum event in Birmingham.

He said: "I own no shares, I have a salary as Prime Minister and I have some savings which I get some interest from and we have a house which we used to live in and which we now let out while we're living in Downing Street, and that's all I have. I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that."

Shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon called on Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron to give more details about their arrangements. 

He said: "Questions remain [about Mr Cameron] and now it seems like George Osborne is being dragged into the row. It’s time for the drip, drip of revelations to end - David Cameron needs to put the record straight once and for all and so does George Osborne.

"When it comes to ensuring tax fairness, the Conservatives clearly have a problem from top to bottom in their party. They say one thing and do another."