David Cameron has admitted that he and his wife, Samantha Cameron, had shares in his father’s offshore wealth fund, Blairmore. The Camerons invested £12,497 in 1997, and sold the stake in January 2010 – four months before Cameron became Prime Minister -for £31,500.
As the profit fell below the capital gains tax threshold, they paid no tax following the sale, though Cameron insisted in an interview with ITV News that the shares’ dividends were subject to British income tax.
In the interview, Cameron stated:
I’ve been very clear about the future. I’ve said I’m not going to benefit from any family trusts. I’ve been very clear about the present: I don’t own any shares, I don’t own any unit trusts or any investments like that. I own two homes, one of which I rent out, and I have a salary as Prime Minister”, but added. “I did own stocks and shares in the past, quite naturally, as my father was a stockbroker. I sold them all in 2010, because if I was going to become Prime Minister, I didn’t want anyone to say you’ve got other agendas or vested interests or all the rest of it.
Cameron came to the defense of his father, who died in September 2010, insisting that he was not a tax avoider, saying:
[A] lot of the criticisms are based on a fundamental misconception, which is that Blairmore Investment, a unit trust, was set up with the idea of avoiding tax. It wasn’t. It was set up after exchange controls went, so that people who wanted to invest in dollar-denominated shares and companies could do so, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way.
The fund, Cameron said, “wasn’t a family trust. It wasn’t for the benefit of one particular family; anyone could have bought units in it. And crucially, if you were a UK citizen and bought units in it, then you paid income tax on the dividends.”
Cameron added that he would be happy for both him and the leader of the Opposition to publish their tax returns, saying: “whether we do it, you know, every year or starting now or going back a couple of years. Whatever. I’m very happy with that.”