Jeremy Corbyn attacks media and Cabinet Office as he hits back in tax row

Posted On: 
6th March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn launched a furious attack on "media barons" as he came out fighting in the row over his tax return.

Jeremy Corbyn says "media barons" are opposed to his tax plans.
PA Images

The Labour leader also accused the Cabinet Office of failing to help clear up the confusion which followed the publication of the document on his website yesterday afternoon.

The seven-page form showed Mr Corbyn’s income in 2015/16 totalled £114,342 and that he paid £35,298 in tax.

READ IN FULL: Jeremy Corbyn's 2015/16 tax return

Labour 'confident' Jeremy Corbyn paid correct tax after salary confusion

Confusion as Jeremy Corbyn tax return fails to mention income from being opposition leader

But it did not list as salary the £30,000 he received for being opposition leader, on top of his £75,000 MP's wage.

Instead, it included £27,192 as "public office" under the heading "other pensions and retirement annuities".

Mr Corbyn's office was initially unable to clear up the confusion, insisting that all "relevant documentation" had been supplied to a professional accountant to prepare the tax return.

But in a statement issued this afternoon, a spokesman for the Labour leader insisted it was "complete and accurate".

"The payment he received in 2015-16 as Leader of the Opposition of £27,192 appears on the return as a ‘benefit’ rather than as pay because that is how it is categorised by HMRC," the spokesman said.

"This figure is calculated after deducting the waivers Jeremy has made of earlier increases to the benefit. These waivers were also made by his predecessor, Ed Miliband. A parliamentary pension contribution of £3,395 was also deducted.

"We are disappointed the Cabinet Office did not clarify this and explain the figure used on the P60 yesterday in answer to media inquiries they received.

"It is also a matter of concern that some media organisations made entirely false claims without verifying or confirming the facts, and we expect these now to be corrected.

"The owners of the media companies that have attempted to cast doubt over Jeremy’s transparent and accurate tax return are of course among those who could stand to lose from the tax transparency and justice the British people demand.

"Jeremy believes firmly in transparency. These media barons have tax questions of their own to answer. Tax avoidance and evasion deprive the public purse of billions in revenue for vital services and is unfair on those with much lower earnings who pay a higher proportion of their income in tax."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also published his 2015/16 tax return, but his opposite number Philip Hammond yesterday said he would not be doing so.

Downing Street also said this morning that Theresa May has "no further plans" to publish hers.