Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

PM wants money 'Back For Good'

David Cameron has previously said it was not 'necessary' to remove Gary Barlow's OBE
David Cameron has previously said it was not 'necessary' to remove Gary Barlow's OBE

David Cameron adopted Take That lyrics today as he hit back against calls to condemn Gary Barlow's tax affairs as morally wrong.

The Prime Minister insisted the Government has told people it wanted "your money back for good" - a nod to the band's 1995 number one single Back For Good, written by Barlow - as shown by its action against "aggressive tax avoidance schemes".

Mr Cameron had previously said it was not "necessary" to remove Barlow's OBE after the Take That star was ordered to pay millions of pounds in tax he retained thanks to an avoidance scheme.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Labour's Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) asked the PM: " Is there a good reason why you won't condemn the tax affairs of Tory-supporting Gary Barlow as morally wrong?"

Mr Cameron replied: "I couldn't have been clearer that I condemn all of these aggressive tax avoidance schemes, and more than just condemning them, this Government has taken action - legislative action - to say to people, to coin a phrase, 'We want your money back for good'."

The chorus of Back For Good includes the lyrics: "Whatever I said, whatever I did I didn't mean it, I just want you back for good."

It goes on: " Whenever I'm wrong, just tell me the song and I'll sing it, you'll be right and understood."

Mr Cameron's defence of Barlow came despite him previously condemning comedian Jimmy Carr for investing in a similar tax scheme.

Barlow lives in the PM's Witney constituency and supported the Tories at the last election.

Barlow and two other members of Take That have refused to comment on reports that emerged last 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.

The singer, along with Howard Donald, Mark Owen and their manager Jonathan Wild, apparently invested £66 million in two partnerships styled as music industry investment schemes.

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 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 bandmates believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and that all four named paid "significant tax".

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