The Times today reveals that former Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, Lord Robert Sheldon dodged paying inheritance tax by giving his house to his son, Terry in 2003. The problem is that Lord Sheldon claimed the property to be his primary residence, yet it is alleged that he never lived there and fraudulently claimed £130,000 of expenses on the property over the past six years courtesy of the taxpayer.
House prices in the Darley Avenue area of Didsbury where Lord Sheldon's house is located (pictured right) are recently valued at £600,000. Taking today's house price, Terry Sheldon would be owing £110,000 in inheritance tax thus depriving Her Majesty's Treasury.
Sheldon's home in London is rather cushy too, it is located a stones throw away from the Ritz Hotel on Ryder Street. The apartment is in St. James's Chambers and according to the Times, properties in the area sell for an average of £1.1m.
It isn't the first time that Lord Sheldon has been involved in controversy. In 2000 a complaint was made about Lord Sheldon failing to fully declare his directorships and shareholdings. The complaint alleged that questions asking for aid from the government for manufacturers and exporters which Lord Sheldon asked in Parliament were a conflict of interest with the companies he owned which manufacture textiles and are traded across the globe. It was revealed in the investigation that in 1998, Lord Sheldon's companies made a total profit of £1.2m.
The whole situation stinks due to Labour defending high levels of inheritance tax saying it is reasonable, yet one of their Lord's is actively dodging it. The irony is that Lord Sheldon was once a Financial Secretary to the Treasury and in his later years as an MP, he served as Chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee scrutinizing public spending. Sheldon is a hypocrite of the highest order and his contempt for the public purse means that he should be stripped of his Lordship.
Those wishing to register a grievance with Lord Sheldon can do so by contacting him at: 27 Darley Avenue, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2ZD.
UPDATE: The Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, the group who successfully campaigned to make MPs expenses public, has made an official complaint with the House of Lords authorities.
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