Friday 15 December 2017

Gary Barlow 'wrong' to avoid tax says UK Labour leader Ed Miliband

Gary Barlow
Gary Barlow

Ed Miliband has joined criticism of singer Gary Barlow's financial affairs, saying the star was "wrong" to dodge paying million of pounds in tax through an avoidance scheme.

But he insisted that the "biggest responsibility" lay not with wealthy individuals but with government to deal with the issue.

Barlow and two other members of Take That have refused to comment on reports over the weekend that they are in line for tax bills totalling tens of millions of pounds after a court ruled a partnership in which they invested was a tax avoidance scheme.

Songwriter Barlow, along with bandmates Howard Donald and Mark Owen and their manager Jonathan Wild, apparently invested £66 million into two partnerships styled as music industry investment schemes.

The Labour leader told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, when asked if the star had behaved unethically: "I do not think it's right. I think it's wrong. I think people should pay their fair share of taxes.

"The biggest responsibility of all is not with the individual - of course individuals have responsibility - but it's on government to say we are not just going to stand idly by, we are going to do something about this."

Judge Colin Bishopp ruled that 51 partnerships, set up by Icebreaker Management, were to secure tax relief for members and HM Revenue and Customs is now expected to demand repayment.

It was alleged in 2012 that Barlow, Donald, Owen and Wild invested at least £26 million in a scheme run by Icebreaker Management.

At the time Take That's lawyers insisted the band mates believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and that all four named paid "significant tax".

Prime Minister David Cameron has criticised the use of "aggressive" avoidance schemes but dismissed calls from some Tory and Labour MPs for Barlow to give up his OBE.

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