It will be enormously welcome if George Osborne ends overseas residents’ exemption from capital gains tax in the Autumn Statement. It is, however, preposterous to describe this as “Mr Clegg’s plan” as the Daily Telegraph does on its front page today.
I first publicly pressed the issue of this disgraceful tax loophole left by Labour two years ago, and had the Today programme pick it up and interview me on it. This interview was heard by the Prime Minister, who later that morning highlighted the case I had made at a meeting of the Conservative Parliamentary party.
I followed up again at PMQs last month and I know that in the intervening period Treasury officials have been working to iron out some of the technical difficulties involved in applying capital gains tax to non-residents.
Success has many parents, and of course Nick Clegg claims to have sown his oats widely, but his paternity claim here is simply false. Indeed, one reason I have continued to campaign on this issue is that I thought I might be pushing on an open door, because it is something I have discussed with George Osborne long before the last election and formation of the Coalition.
Clegg claiming credit for others’ work to close tax loopholes now rather reminds me of his performance this time last year on the EU Budget.
While I was garnering support from enough MPs to vote a motion through Parliament to cut the EU Budget, Nick Clegg opined that there was “absolutely no prospect” of a cut in the EU Budget. When the Prime Minister successfully followed through and cut the EU Budget Nick Clegg then claimed this reflected his personal diplomacy and EU network.
Can we believe anything this man says?