Radio listeners, including accountants in London, were treated to an on-air argument last week when the current Mayor Boris Johnson and rival candidate Ken Livingstone clashed over tax.
Ken Livingstone was recently accused of tax avoidance, accusations he claims were smears as he went on to say Mr Johnson had done the same thing during his time as an MP.
During the radio debate, the Mayor of London said Livingstone was a bare-faced liar before adding that he had always paid the correct amount of income tax.
Mr Livingstone had opened a website attacking Johnson, but after the debate he closed it down saying the battle for the top job had become “dark and negative”.
For weeks the claims have been flying about that Mr Livingstone received his salary through Silveta Ltd so he only needed to pay corporation tax instead of the full amount of income tax. The issue has been brought up by Tory MPs on several occasions during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Livingstone’s defence seems to rest on the fact that he employed three people and he couldn’t pay them on a casual basis. Nobody in this country employs staff and then pays income tax on their salaries, he explained. He also claimed that both he and Mr Johnson put their media earnings through a company, but that didn’t mean it was tax avoidance because you pay tax on your withdrawals.
The run up to the election on May 3rd was never going to be full of jolly bantering, but voters may not be too impressed to hear the two main candidates ripping each other to bits live on air!