On Sunday British Prime Minister David Cameron did his best to mitigate the mounting calls for his resignation as a result of the discovery of his involvement in tax haven schemes brought to light by the release of the Panama Papers last week. Cameron took quite an unusual course of action and did a release of his own, publishing his income tax returns from the past six years.
Cameron initially was only set to divulge his tax information for 2012 but it seems as if the pressure from the public is what led to him showing so many years of his earnings on Sunday. His initial attempt to deny any involvement in the tax shelter scheme that the Panama Papers release showed his father was involved in was met with nothing but doubt from the people and on Saturday thousands protested against him. Truthdig revealed that about 5,000 of the British people were outside clamoring for the end of Cameron’s leadership even while the Prime Minister was speaking to a group of the Conservative party’s ministers at a hotel in Covent Garden, claiming a week that has been less than stellar.
“I know I should have handled this better, and don’t blame No. 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me.”
During that meeting, David Cameron admitted that his response to the revelations that he had profited from the offshore tax haven through his father should have been dealt with earnestly. The bulk of that profit came from him selling his shares of the company, Blairmore, back in 2010, a company which had avoided paying UK taxes for over 30 years. Cameron became Britain’s Prime Minister in May of 2010, months after he sold his shares in Blairmore and Reuters has him claiming that he himself paid all the taxes associated with it since it became his investment, one worth 30,000 pounds.
The tax records released are showing that the Prime Minister can lay claim to quite a sizeable fortune having made 9,501 British pounds, which is $15,297, in profits. He also has an inheritance from his father in the sum of £300,000 after his passing, and since then he has also received two payments of £100,000 from his mother in 2011 in what Independent UK wrote as being a lovely step to “balance out” the legacy that Cameron and his siblings currently possess.
Of course the release of his tax records are not exactly have the desired effect on the people. Many news outlets are focusing on the donations of Cameron’s mother and calling it a measure to avoid the inheritance tax which the country has, though the Downing Office has denied this. The protest yesterday revealed that Cameron’s growing unpopularity was only deepened by the Panama Papers revelations but was not necessarily inspired by it.
Here's a look at what David Cameron has said in the past on British tax dodges https://t.co/G59L3RTsYH— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) April 10, 2016
One of the main problem that David Cameron faces is the accusation that he has portrayed complete hypocrisy. The Conservative party has been claiming to lead the fight against the global effort to crack down on offshore tax havens, and in 2012 the Minister made a comment, which has been widely quoted by the media, that the tax avoidance schemes of a famous comedian were “morally wrong.”
The trust that the people lost in their government may not be so easily won back, as shown by the fallout in Iceland which actually led to the resignation of their Prime Minister. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn promised to release his own taxes and spoke out against Cameron benefiting from the kind of “secretive offshore account” which he spoke out against.
“It took five weasel-worded statements in five days for the prime minister to admit that he has personally profited from an undeclared Caribbean tax haven investment deal.”
[Photo Courtesy of Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images]