Top MP compares Prince Charles to Starbucks

Tony Gosling tony at
Sun Jun 30 20:26:07 BST 2013

Charles in tax storm as top MP compares the 
Prince to Starbucks and calls for him to pay more
Margaret Hodge MP demanded overhaul of Prince Charles' tax arrangements
Charles has never voluntarily revealed tax arrangements of Duchy estate
Duchy spokeswoman pointed out it is not a public body or taxpayer-funded
By Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin - PUBLISHED: 
00:41, 30 June 2013  | UPDATED: 00:41, 30 June 2013


Lucrative: Prince Charles with his wife Camilla, 
Duchess of Cornwall, benefits from the Duchy estate

Prince Charles is today facing calls to pay his 
‘fair’ share of tax after his financial 
arrangements were compared by a leading MP to ‘immoral’ tax avoiders Starbucks.
Margaret Hodge, chairman of the powerful Commons 
Public Accounts Committee, demanded an overhaul 
of Charles’s tax arrangements which mean he only ‘voluntarily’ pays income tax.
His lucrative Duchy of Cornwall estate is exempt 
from corporation tax and capital gains tax.
Labour MP Mrs Hodge, who will next month hold a 
parliamentary hearing into the Prince’s tax 
affairs, compared the arrangements to those of 
the coffee shop chain Starbucks.
She once branded the company ‘immoral’ for 
reportedly paying just £8.6?million in 
corporation tax in 14 years of trading in 
Britain, although it agreed to pay £20?million after  the outcry.
She said the heir to the throne should be 
required by law to pay income tax, while the 
Duchy should pay taxes in the same way as other businesses.
Mrs Hodge said: ‘We’ve just had the example of 
Starbucks voluntarily agreeing to pay £20?million 
in corporation tax, and while the payment of some 
tax is welcome, I don’t think anybody should pay a voluntary contribution.
'It should be a fair system that is transparent 
and is set and you pay your dues. And I think that goes for everybody.’
The MP added: ‘There are concerns over why the 
Duchy of Cornwall doesn’t pay corporation tax and 
whether a fair share of tax is paid from the 
profits and income raised in the Duchy.’
Household expenditure: The Duchy of Cornwall 
provides Prince Charles' income and pays the 
expenses of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Her comments come in a Channel 4 Dispatches 
investigation into Charles’s business 
arrangements through the Duchy of Cornwall, which 
provides income to the heir to the throne and 
pays the household expenses of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Accounts published only last week showed the 
portfolio of land, property and investments 
provided Charles with a record £19?million profit 
last year, on which he paid £4.4?million in tax 
made up of ‘voluntary’ income tax plus VAT.
The Dispatches programme, to be broadcast 
tomorrow, seeks to lift the lid on the Duchy’s 
individual property dealings and transactions 
which it claims the Royal estate has never voluntarily revealed. These include:
The £1.3 million-a-year income in rent it 
receives from the taxpayer for Dartmoor Prison because the Duchy owns the site.
The £38 million purchase of a huge warehouse 
distribution unit in Milton Keynes from which it 
receives more than £2 million in rent a year from supermarket chain Waitrose.
The Hole in the Wall bar in Exeter from which the 
Duchy takes ten per cent of the profits.
The programme also says it has discovered that 
the Duchy made millions of pounds selling off 
farms that it bought from the Prudential in 2000.
Two such sales in Oxfordshire led to the Duchy 
earning £9.3?million which, says Dispatches, 
could have netted the estate a £6?million profit.
But because the Duchy of Cornwall pays no 
corporation tax or capital gains tax, it could 
have avoided paying more than £1?million in tax 
on the deals, the programme claims.
Last night, the Duchy of Cornwall defended its arrangements.
A spokeswoman said: ‘The Duchy of Cornwall is a 
private landed estate. It is not a public body, 
nor is it funded by the taxpayer.
‘The Prince of Wales chooses to use his income 
from the Duchy, rather than public money, to 
cover the great majority of the cost of the 
public duties of both himself and the Duchess of 
Cornwall, as well as the  Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.’
The spokeswoman added: ‘The Duchy probably 
provides more financial information within its 
annual review than any other private landed estate within the UK.’ 
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