Jeremy Corbyn says 'nothing hidden' as Labour rejects claims over tax return
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted there is "nothing missing, nothing hidden" in his tax affairs, as Labour rejected allegations he failed to properly declare his income as Leader of the Opposition.
The party said it was confident the details of Mr Corbyn's tax return were in order after the leader faced questions over his earnings.
Details released on the Labour leader's website on Sunday said he earned £114,342 in 2015/16, on which he paid £35,298 in tax.
However he faced questions as to why he only declared receiving £27,192 as Leader of the Opposition on top of his basic MP's pay when the Government's consolidated fund accounts showed he was paid £30,587.
Having initially been unable to explain the discrepancy, Labour said the difference was due to the deduction of a parliamentary pension contribution of £3,395.
A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said that the figure had appeared on the return as a "benefit" rather than as pay because that was how it was categorised by HM Revenue and Customs.
"This figure is calculated after deducting the waivers Jeremy has made of earlier increases to the benefit. These waivers were also made by his predecessor, Ed Miliband," the spokesman said.
"We are disappointed the Cabinet Office did not clarify this and explain the figure used on the P60 yesterday in answer to media inquiries they received."
Earlier, Mr Corbyn said in a statement: "Transparency invites scrutiny. I welcome it, as should all those seeking highest office.
"My taxes (are) fully paid, nothing missing, nothing hidden."
His tax return showed he earned £77,019 from all employments, £36,045 from UK pensions and state benefits, £1,200 profit from self-employment, and £78 in interest from UK bank and building societies during the period.
On top of his MP's pay of £74,000 and a £3,760 allowance for representing a London seat, the Leader of the Opposition was also entitled to a further £63,489 in 2015-16, although Mr Corbyn did not qualify for the full amount as he only became leader part way through the year.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond have rejected calls by Labour to release their latest tax statements and it appeared there was no agreement within the Labour hierarchy about the move.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: "I would always normally follow Jeremy Corbyn's lead but I think we are going to have to discuss this as a shadow cabinet if we are all going to publish our tax returns."
The Prime Minister's official spokesman pointed out that Mrs May had published her tax returns as part of the Conservative leadership contest in July last year, but said she had "no plans" to do so again.
"There was no commitment given and there is no long-standing convention to publish and no plans to do so," the spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing.
A spokesman for John McDonnell said Mr Corbyn's tax return was not discussed at Monday's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), which the shadow chancellor addressed.
He added: "There is a serious concern for democracy in our country, when you have the Chancellor refusing to publish his tax returns and now the Prime Minister is refusing to publish hers, and she only previously published a summary just like George Osborne and David Cameron.
"You now have a level of transparency at the top of the Labour Party that you do not have in Government, which in the start of the week of the Budget is very, very worrying.
"And this Labour Opposition has been more transparent on taxation and our positions on the economy than any Opposition in history at this point in the electoral cycle."