Singer-turned-left-wing-luvvy Charlotte Church has claimed that she would be “absolutely fine” with paying a 70 per cent tax rate if it meant better public services. Her position appears to have shifted somewhat over the years, as in 2003 she was publicly indignant at the thought of paying a mere 40 per cent.
Church, 29, shot to fame as a child singer, making millions from her classical music compilations singing traditional hymns and arias. But like many celebrities before her, she has since jumped on the liberal bandwagon, most recently by protesting against the democratic election of the Conservative government, whom she described as “the bogey men”.
Yesterday she appeared at a press conference to confirm her support for an anti-austerity march planned for later this month, where she made her comments on tax rates, saying:
“I have paid all my taxes since I was 12-years-old and I would be totally happy it if was raised to 60 per cent or 70 per cent. I would not move away, I would not have an offshore account.
“That would be totally fine for better infrastructure and public services, and more of the Scandinavian model which I see as far more progressive, than we currently are.
“I would be absolutely fine with that.”
Yet in 2003, while hosting the popular comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You, Church, then aged 17, appeared to be aghast at the prospect of paying a 40 per cent rate on her earnings.
Quizzed by the show’s resident team members Ian Hyslop and Paul Merton on her earnings, which she was due to gain some access to, Church denied that she was then worth £16 million, telling Hyslop “You read too many papers.”
“It’s nowhere near as much as that! I have to pay 40 per cent tax and everything”
Hyslop replied sardonically: “Oh you’re kidding!”
To which Church retorted: “I can’t vote! So why should I pay a government who I don’t necessarily support 40 per cent?”
Hyslop replied: “I think it’s to do with schools and hospitals and public services.”
The government at the time was Labour, presided over by Tony Blair. Miss Church has revealed that she voted for Labour in the 2015 election, but has since switched allegiance to the Green Party, which ran on a highly redistributive manifesto.
Perhaps Miss Church fears one day having to rely on the state to get by, as last year she admitted that she will have to work for the rest of her life to sustain her lifestyle. At one stage the Welsh songstress was reputed to have amassed a fortune of £25m, but accounts filed for her company in June 2014 showed that she had just £3m left to her, after blowing the lot on expensive vacations and designer clothes.
“I will have to work for the rest of my life. I can’t just sit back. Not only because I’d be totally torn to [retire], but because I have to,” she told the BBC. According to the Telegraph, she also admitted to having been investigated a number of times by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) thanks to media speculation over her fortune, saying: “I’ve been getting investigated by the taxman year on year because the papers keep on printing I’m worth £9m, £11m, £22m, £25m. So the taxman’s looking in my accounts saying where are you hiding all this money then? I’m like, ‘There isn’t that. It’s a lie.'”
Today the entertainer has been coming under fire for her comments, with many pointing out that if she is so minded she can simply write a cheque to HMRC donating a larger portion of her earnings to the state. She has taken to Twitter to hit back at her critics, modestly saying that she doubts her example would be followed by many other high net worth individuals (h/t Guido)
I’m disappointed at the vitriol directed my way, if I gave 70% of my earnings to HMRC voluntarily, not only would it not last long as our…
— Charlotte Church (@charlottechurch) June 4, 2015
Public services cost 100s of billions to fund but I doubt it would encourage the richest in this country to get a conscience and follow suit — Charlotte Church (@charlottechurch) June 4, 2015