A spokeswoman for the chancellor said he had done nothing wrong and had had the arrangement approved. Darling let his flat "to cover its costs" and declared that in the register of members\’ interests, she said, adding that he paid council tax on his Downing Street residence and was taxed "on the benefit of living there".
Paying tax on the benefit of living there, eh?
I\’m not sure that\’s actually correct. I remember when Cook and Blunkett were still using grace and favour places after having resigned from the Cabinet. There was some discussion of the point that they should have to pay for the value of living there. No, not when they were a Minister, everyone agreed that they didn\’t have to do that, but when they were not a Minister, then they should.
The thing about this is that some of these grace and favour places are so valuable that no one on a Ministerial salary could afford to pay even the income tax upon the benefit.
The Foreign Secs 6 bedroom place in Carlton Terrace for example (think that\’s right). Or those apartments in Admiralty Arch. And maybe Number 11 as well.
What do you think? £10k a month about right for a rental of such a place? And paying £4 k a month income tax on such a benefit?
I don\’t see people doing it really, do you?
So why has Darling said he is?