Labour accused of six-figure tax avoidance ploy

The Labour party has sold its headquarters through a corporate vehicle,
inviting accusations of hypocrisy over its avoidance of tax through the set-up.

The arrangements caused the Treasury to miss out on about £200,000 in stamp
duty, reports said.

The questions came about over the sale of the party’s former HQ at 16 Old
Queen St earlier this year.

A spokesperson said: ‘The sale of 16 Old Queen Street was conducted entirely
appropriately and on usual commercial terms, and any suggestion otherwise is not
only grossly misleading but absolutely untrue.’

Labour sold the holding company containing the property, 16OQS Ltd, which
meant a 0.5% stamp duty tariff instead of a 4% levy. This corresponded to a dent
of £210,000 to the
Treasury coffers.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, a Treasury spokesperson for the
Liberal Democrats
said: ‘For the governing party to use a device like this is the unacceptable
face of tax avoidance.’

Asked whether the same strategy would be employed in the future after the
controversy caused by this instance a source said: ‘I am not going to talk about
the future,’ but did confirm that ‘there are no plans for further sales’ at the

Related links:

Pre-Budget report 2006 – our comment

PBR 06: Shadow chancellor blasts Brown’s

PBR 06: Brown to bring in billions on tax
avoidance crackdown

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