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George Osborne dodges questions on family's tax affairs, terminates interview

'Do you now or will you in the future benefit from any offshore funds?'

Published 06/04/2016

George Osborne interview: Treasury sources say the interviewer simply asked more questions than had initially been agreed [File photo]
George Osborne interview: Treasury sources say the interviewer simply asked more questions than had initially been agreed [File photo]

George Osborne has repeatedly evaded questions on whether he has personally benefited from offshore funds – then appeared to terminate the live interview.

The Chancellor, who was being interviewed by ITV News during his visit to the Ocado Customer Fulfillment centre in Hatfield, was asked: "Do you now or will you in the future benefit from any offshore funds?"

Mr Osborne responded saying that members of the Commons register all their interest in the register of members' interests.

He added: "But I thought it was very striking you had a Labour member of Parliament this morning praising the Prime Minister’s leadership home and abroad on this issue of tax evasion where frankly this British government has done more any previous British government to make sure they pay the taxes that are owed.”

He was then asked a second time “are you going to benefit at all?” and again referred to the government’s record on issues of tax avoidance.

 “As I’ve said all of our interests as ministers and MPs are declared in the register of members’ interests and we’ve made our position very clear,” he said.

“As I said this Conservative government has done more that any Labour government or any previous government to tackle tax evasion, to tackle tax avoidance, to get money into the exchequer that is owed to the public,”

When the reporter went on to ask another question, Mr Osborne said “thank you” and terminated the interview. 

Treasury sources told the Telegraph the interviewer simply asked more questions than had initially been agreed and the interview ended.

Prime Minister David Cameron also came under pressure this week to give a clear explanation of how he, or his immediate family, stood to benefit from Blairmore - the company set by his late father, Ian, in Panama and the Bahamas, and which has avoided ever paying tax in Britain.

Downing Street had issued three partial answers about the fund on Tuesday before clearing up today whether his family would gain in the future from the investment fund.

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