Angela Rayner cleared by HMRC following tax row over sale of former council house

29 May 2024, 21:05

Angela Rayner accuses Tories of using "desperate tactics" after Police drop probe into council house row
Angela Rayner accuses Tories of using "desperate tactics" after Police drop probe into council house row. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

Angela Rayner has been cleared of any wrongdoing by HMRC following a row over the sale of her former council house.

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HM Revenue and Customs confirmed on Wednesday that Angela Rayner owed no capital gains tax following the sale of her former Stockport home, adding that no further action was required.

The tax authority concluded that “no capital gains tax is due” after questions were raised by a Conservative MP as to whether Rayner lived at the property, on Vicarage Road, when she sold it in March 2015.

It came despite her husband at the time living just a mile away.

Greater Manchester police confirmed that no further action would be taken following a probe into Ms Rayners affairs, with the MP accusing the Tories of using "desperate tactics" in the run-up to the election.

The allegations related to claims she broke electoral law through information she gave about her living situation a decade ago, namely the property being her primary residence.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner during a visit to Gillingham Football club, May 23, 2024
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner during a visit to Gillingham Football club, May 23, 2024. Picture: Alamy

Police confirmed that tax matters were no longer under their jurisdiction and had passed on the information collected over the course of its six-week investigation to HMRC and Stockport council.

The council later responded: “We have also concluded that no further action will be taken on behalf of the council.”

Up until now, HMRC had refused to confirm whether an investigation was taking place into Rayners affairs.

Following the announcement, Rayner said in a statement: “I welcome the conclusion of the police investigation, and confirmation that no further action will be taken," she says in a statement.

"We have seen the Conservative Party use this playbook before - reporting political opponents to the police during election campaigns to distract from their dire record.

"The public have had enough of these desperate tactics from a Tory government with nothing else to say after 14 years of failure."

Ms Rayner has faced scrutiny about whether she paid the right amount of tax on the 2015 property sale of her council house because of confusion over whether it was her principal residence.

The tax authority concluded that “no capital gains tax is due” after questions were raised by a Conservative MP as to whether Rayner lived at the property, on Vicarage Road, when she sold it in March 2015.
The tax authority concluded that “no capital gains tax is due” after questions were raised by a Conservative MP as to whether Rayner lived at the property, on Vicarage Road, when she sold it in March 2015. Picture: Alamy

The investigation was then launched following a complaint from Tory deputy chairman James Daly that she may have lived primarily at her then-husband's address, despite registering to vote under her own.

The claims may have resulted in a breach of electoral rules if she was found culpable.

The MP for Ashton-under-Lyne had previously promised to resign if she was found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Following the news, Ms Rayner said she was "grateful to all those who have stood by and supported me and my family".

Adding: "My focus now is squarely on securing the change Britain needs, with the election of a Labour government.”

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A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “Following allegations about Angela Rayner MP, Greater Manchester Police has completed a thorough, carefully considered and proportionate investigation. We have concluded that no further police action will be taken.

“The investigation originated from complaints made by Mr James Daly MP directly to GMP.

"Subsequent further contact with GMP by members of the public, and claims made by individuals featured in media reporting, indicated a strong public interest in the need for allegations to be investigated.

“Matters involving council tax and personal tax do not fall into the jurisdiction of policing. GMP has liaised with Stockport Council and information about our investigation has been shared with them. Details of our investigation have also been shared with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).”

Deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks during her visit to the Backstage Centre, Purfleet, May 16, 2024
Deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks during her visit to the Backstage Centre, Purfleet, May 16, 2024. Picture: Alamy

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The police have now completed their investigation into claims made by the Conservative Party deputy chairman and have concluded that no further action will be taken. Angela co-operated fully with the police investigation throughout.

"Angela has always been clear that she was not liable for capital gains tax on the sale of the home she owned before she was an MP, that she was properly registered to vote, and paid the appropriate council tax. She took expert tax and legal advice which confirms this.

"This draws a line under the matter."

Questions about Ms Rayner's living arrangements initially surfaced following suggestions in a book by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft that she failed to properly declare her main home.

The unauthorised biography alleges that the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne bought her former council house, in Vicarage Road in Stockport, Greater Manchester in 2007 under the right-to-buy scheme.

Her then husband was listed at another address in Lowndes Lane, about a mile away, which had also been bought under the right-to-buy scheme.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The police have now completed their investigation into claims made by the Conservative Party deputy chairman
A Labour Party spokesman said: "The police have now completed their investigation into claims made by the Conservative Party deputy chairman. Picture: Alamy

In the same year as her wedding, Ms Rayner is said to have re-registered the births of her two youngest children, giving her address as where her husband resided.

Ms Rayner has insisted that Vicarage Road was her "principal property" despite her husband living elsewhere at the time. She has faced questions about whether she should have paid capital gains tax when her home was sold and if she paid the correct amount of council tax.

Mr Daly had alleged she may have made a false declaration about where she was living on the electoral register.

It is understood HMRC looked also into the matter at Ms Rayner's request and concluded there was no capital gains tax liability.

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