RAPID RESPONSES

Red-handed Ken

[Re: Ken Livingstone is blameless in his tax planning, yesterday]

Doug Richard misses the point in his article regarding Ken Livingstone’s tax affairs. No criticism has been made of the practice of an individual setting themselves up as a business to regulate their income. All the condemnation of Livingstone stems from his past comments where he condemned tax avoidance. He stated in newspapers that those
who establish themselves as companies were “rich bastards” who “just don’t get it” and shouldn’t be able to vote or stand for Parliament unless they were paying their “full share of tax”. It’s in this light that Livingstone should be judged. His remarks are hypocritical and display a staggering lack of judgement. He can’t be trusted on his promises and is therefore the wrong man to run London for the next four years.

Priti Patel,
Conservative MP for Witham

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Nice savings

I largely agree with Doug Richard, but he forgot to include national insurance (NIC) in his calculation of Ken Livingstone’s tax savings. NICs are the big saver in taking dividends rather than salary, at 13.8 per cent marginal rate from the employer plus 2 per cent from the employee. By taking dividends, Mr Livingstone is paying tax at 46 per cent rather than 58 per cent.

Simon Robinson
Email: theforum@cityam.com