Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Arlene Foster reveals her earnings in wake of Panama Papers controversy

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also reveal their tax documents

By David Hughes & Jonny Bell

First Minister Arlene Foster has released her tax return documents in the wake of the Panama Papers which has engulfed world leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Belfast Telegraph, on Monday, exclusively revealed that the First Minister Arlene Foster was set to publish her tax returns.

Mrs Foster's tax returns show she earned £78,212.00 before tax in the year 2014/15 and was taxed a total of £20,528.00.

She received a total of £65,553.00 in expenses payments received and balancing charges.

On Monday the UUP's Mike Nesbitt, said he would too would be "happy" to publish his tax returns.

Mr Nesbitt's papers show he had an income of £52,754 in the 2014/15 financial year and paid £10,698.60 in tax.

They also show that the UUP leader spent £69,238 in office costs and expenditure.

Click through the pictures to read the documents.

First Minister Arlene Foster releases tax return

UUP Mike Nesbitt's releases tax returns

SDLP leader Colm Eastwood publishes tax return 

Mrs Foster said she would make her last tax return public, and publish future ones in a bid to boost public confidence in politics.

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has also published his tax return for the year 2014/2015.

The SDLP leader's documents reveal he was paid £41,168.00 before tax in the year 2014/2015 and was taxed a total of £6,231.00.

The DUP leader's move comes as the Prime Minister faces growing pressure over his tax affairs.

David Cameron's personal finances have come under intense scrutiny over links to his father Ian Cameron's offshore business interests, with Mr Cameron taking the unprecedented step of publishing his tax returns.

He is just one of several world leaders embroiled in the fallout from the leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which thrust the issue of offshore tax avoidance and dodging back into the spotlight.

Yesterday, the leaders of four of Scotland's political parties published their tax returns in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Among them was the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, who also pledged to do the same each year she remains First Minister.

Now Arlene Foster has done the same.

"A few weeks ago at my Spring Conference I told delegates: 'We must set the standards in public life and not just meet them. If, in the months and years to come, that means taking difficult decisions to help restore confidence in the political system, I will take those decisions'," she said.

"As soon as I receive my last tax return (for 2014/15) from my accountant I will publish it.

"I also commit to publishing my tax return every year thereafter. As DUP leader and First Minister, I want the public to be reassured that I pay my taxes in an open and transparent way."

However, her move will put pressure on other party leaders to do the same before the Stormont election in May.

David Cameron will face questions from MPs today for the first time since the row over his personal finances broke.

The Prime Minister will make a statement in the Commons on steps to investigate the Panama Papers revelations and tackle tax evasion as MPs return to Westminster following the Easter break.

In an attempt to be transparent about his own finances, Mr Cameron took the unprecedented step of publishing details of his tax returns, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted Mr Cameron still had "big questions" to answer about an investment in an offshore trust set up by his father.

Downing Street also revealed that Mr Cameron had been given a £200,000 gift by his mother following his father's death, a move which could potentially reduce inheritance tax liabilities.

Number 10 said that the two payments of £100,000 in 2011 came on top of the £300,000 Mr Cameron inherited from his father Ian as his mother Mary attempted to "balance" the sums received by their children.

The information about the Prime Minister's finances showed that he paid more than £400,000 in tax on an income of more than £1m over six years from 2009 to 2015.

The disclosure followed the furore over the Panama Papers data leak and the revelation that Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha made a £19,000 profit on shares in an offshore trust set up by the Prime Minister's father which were sold in 2010.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon's return for 2014-15 revealed she had a total income of £104,817 and was charged £32,517 in income tax. An SNP spokesman said: "The First Minister's only income is the salary she receives as an MSP and First Minister.

"Nicola Sturgeon pays tax on her full salary entitlement but only draws her salary at its 2008/09 level - the balance is automatically paid to the Scottish Government for use in general public spending.

"As a result, in 2014/15 the First Minister paid around £3,000 into the Scottish Government consolidated fund."

Belfast Telegraph

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