I’ve just been pointed to the website for the Richmond Park Tories which lays out recent Conservative policies. Such as….
6. Tax the Super Rich and “non-domiciles”.
The over-seas population, living in this country, would make a financial contribution to it. Tax loopholes for the super rich would be closed by reducing the complexity of the tax system. This will pay for the previous two measures.
It is, of course, hugely embarrassing for the Tories that Zac Goldsmith – candidate in the seat – has emerged as a non-dom, meaning that he does not pay tax on earnings from outside the UK. (Yesterday the 34-year old said he did pay income tax on UK-generated income.)
It is a striking hit for Lord Oakeshott, Lords Treasury spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who helped unturf the revelations. And it adds to the anti-Tory narrative which depicts the party as lotus-eating, fox-hunting, Bullingdon Club toffs.
So too does David Cameron’s attempt (tongue-in-cheek or otherwise) to persuade Annunziata Rees-Mogg to campaign under the name ‘Nancy Mogg’.
The Lib Dem attack would have more bite, however, if Goldsmith had spoken out against non-doms in this country. Endorsing the Tory policy of charging such residents £25,000 a year does not make him a hypocrite. An analogy: you can drive cars and fly in planes and still accept the need for green taxes.
What would also be awkward is for someone to find a quote from the party leadership castigating non-doms. Are there any out there?
Well yes, it transpires that David Cameron has explicitly said that non-doms “don’t pay sufficient tax in this country” – even if he hasn’t quite derided them as ghastly sponges.
Andrew Neil: If you had known about our financial situation then what you do now would you still have announced a cut in IHT?
David Cameron: Well as I’ve said, the only reason we were able to make that pledge even then and the only reason we are able to stick with it now – and remember it is a pledge for a Parliament – is because we have identified a rich group of people, non-doms who don’t pay sufficient tax in this country, in order to fund that pledge.
Andrew Neil and David Cameron, Daily Politics, 05 October 2009
Irony alert. Zac is giving a speech tonight in which he will address the issue of “how do we spend our collective wealth?”