David Cameron admits he and wife Samantha made thousands from offshore fund

Posted On: 
7th April 2016

David Cameron has admitted he made thousands of pounds from an offshore fund set up by his late father.

David Cameron has admitted he and his wife benefited from an offshore fund
Credit: 
PA Images

In a dramatic revelation, the Prime Minister told ITV News that he and wife Samantha invested £12,497 in the Blairmore fund in 1997.

They sold it for £31,500 in January 2010, four months before he first entered Downing Street.

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Because their £19,003 profit was below the couple's joint capital gains allowance of £20,200, they did not have to pay capital gains tax.

However, Mr Cameron insisted the pair declared the annual dividends they received from their investment to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and paid full income tax on them.

His statement comes after days of controversy over the Camerons' financial affairs after it emerged his father Ian had set up the fund in Panama in the 1980s.

Number 10 had initially said the Prime Minister's tax arrangements were "a private matter", but Mr Cameron was eventually forced to make a statement insisting he and his family did not benefit from any offshore trusts now and would not do so in the future.

But in his ITV interview, he said: "I’ve been very clear about the future.  I’ve said I’m not going to benefit from any family trusts.  I’ve been very clear about the present: I don’t own any shares, I don’t own any unit trusts or any investments like that.  I own two homes, one of which I rent out, and I have a salary as Prime Minister.  So my affairs are very transparent.  Happy to make them more transparent.
 
"But I should deal with the past as well, because of course, I did own stocks and shares in the past, quite naturally, as my father was a stockbroker.  I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become Prime Minister, I didn’t want anyone to say you’ve got other agendas or vested interests or all the rest of it.

"Samantha and I had a joint account, and we owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010.  That was worth something like £30,000."

He added: "I paid income tax on the dividends, but there was a profit on it but it was less than the capital gains tax allowance, so I didn’t pay capital gains tax, but it was subject to all the UK taxes in all the normal ways.

"So I want to be as clear as I can about the past, about the present, about the future, because frankly, I don’t have anything to hide, I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established and all the rest of it.

"I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud, as you can see, and for my own, I chose to take a different path from my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, who were all stockbrokers, and I’ve got nothing to hide in my arrangements and I’m very happy to answer questions about it."

'DIFFICULT FEW DAYS'

The Prime Minister said he had suffered "a difficult few days" and admitted he was upset that his father's reputation had been damaged.

But he insisted Ian Cameron was not a tax avoider.

"A lot of the criticisms are based on a fundamental misconception, which is that Blairmore Investment, a unit trust, was set up with the idea of avoiding tax.  It wasn’t.  It was set up after exchange controls went, so that people who wanted to invest in dollar-denominated shares and companies could do so, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way.

"It was reported to the HMRC, the Inland Revenue.  It reported itself every year.  It was properly audited.  It wasn’t a family trust.  It wasn’t for the benefit of one particular family; anyone could have bought units in it.  And crucially, if you were a UK citizen and bought units in it, then you paid income tax on the dividends, and you paid capital gains tax when you sold the shares.  So you’re subject to full UK taxation.

"So that’s what it was.  There are many other unit trusts like it, and I think it’s being unfairly described, and my father’s name is being unfairly written about."

Mr Cameron also said he was "very happy" for the Prime Minister and opposition leader to publish their tax returns - something he has previously vowed to do.

He said: "Whether we do it, you know, every year or  starting now or going back a couple of years.  Whatever.  I’m very happy with that.  And that will be a big change so we shouldn’t, you know, dive into it and suddenly insist everyone has to do it.  But I think if people really want prime minister, potential prime minister, as I said before, I’m relaxed about that and I’m happy to do that."