‘Non-dom’ tax row dominates day of campaigning

Ed Balls on BBC News

A video has emerged showing Ed Balls telling BBC News that abolishing non-dom status could cost Britain money. Image: BBC News/ YouTube

  • Labour announce plan to abolish non-domicile status, which helps UK residents living abroad to cut their tax bills.
  • Conservatives ridicule the announcement, with George Osborne calling the policy ‘a total shambles’.
  • A video from January shows Labour’s Ed Balls saying that ending non-dom status could cost Britain money, but Labour accuse the Tories of cynically editing the footage.
  • Nicola Sturgeon is met by SNP supporters and hecklers in Aberdeen.

Labour plans to abolish non-dom tax loophole

In a speech this morning, Labour leader Ed Miliband said that the Labour party would get rid of the ‘non-domiciled’ status if they came to power.

‘Non-dom’ means that you can avoid paying full UK taxes despite being a UK resident by proving that your permanent home is outside the country.

It’s often seen as a scheme that mainly benefits the very rich.

Mr Miliband called non-dom status an ‘arcane, 200 year-old loophole’.

The Labour party’s Twitter feed reiterated the message that this is an outdated piece of regulation, posting pictures of William Pitt and saying that the status was created by him during the Napoleonic wars.

Ed Miliband’s party also claimed ‘The Tories won’t act on tax avoidance’.

Conservatives ridicule Labour announcement

The Conservatives have attacked the Labour plan to end non-dom status, with chancellor George Osborne calling the policy ‘a total shambles’ and saying that the announcement is a sign of Labour’s economic incompetence:

What you’ve seen from the opposition today is classic policy making from an opposition that has no economic credibility and as a result the policy has unravelled this morning. […] our approach has been to increase the levy on non-doms. That’s made sure we’ve raised over £1bn in tax for this country and we don’t put at risk the jobs in Britain that depend on foreign investment.

Meanwhile David Cameron has been on the campaign trail in Bolton, visiting a primary school.

The Prime Minister has been announcing Conservative plans to get students to retake SATs if they perform badly, but the announcement has been overshadowed by the non-dom debate.

Embed from Getty Images

Video shows Ed Balls saying that ending non-dom status could be costly

The Conservatives have also accused the Labour party of contradicting themselves, pointing to footage of Ed Balls on BBC News in January saying that abolishing the non-dom status altogether could end up ‘costing Britain money because there will be some people who then leave the country.’

But the Labour party claimed that the Conservatives circulated a version of the video that they’d edited in a deliberately misleading way, cutting out the final sentence in which Mr Balls said that the Labour party should and would be tougher on the non-dom status.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in Aberdeen

Nicola Sturgeon has been in Aberdeen city centre, ahead of tonight’s BBC Scottish leaders’ debate.

She’s met with criticism for refusing to rule out a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Many of the people who met her in Aberdeen were SNP supporters, although she was also heckled by a group of people who were apparently UKIP supporters.

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