Angela Rayner says tax affairs story was manufactured to ‘smear’ her

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has accused the Conservative party of attempting to “smear” her and insisted that controversy about her tax affairs was “manufactured”.

The shadow housing secretary has faced scrutiny from Rishi Sunak’s party over whether she paid the right amount of tax on the sale of her former council house due to confusion over whether it was her principal residency.

“I’ve been very clear there’s no rules broken,” she told BBC’s Newsnight programme. “They [the Conservatives] tried to manufacture a police investigation.

“They [the police] said there’s no issues there. I got tax advice which says there was no capital gains tax. It’s a non-story manufactured to try and smear me.”

A book by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, Red Queen? The Unauthorised Biography of Angela Rayner, suggested that she failed to properly declare her main residency, leading some to suggest that Ms Rayner may owe capital gains tax on the sale of her property.

Ms Rayner insists the house on Vicarage Road, Stockport – which she sold in 2015 for a reported £48,500 profit before she entered parliament – was her “principal property” despite her husband living elsewhere at the time.

Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner has insisted there was no wrongdoing in her sale of her Stockport property (PA Wire)
Deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner has insisted there was no wrongdoing in her sale of her Stockport property (PA Wire)

Government guidance says tenants can apply to buy their council home through the right-to-buy scheme if it is their “only or main home”.

HMRC rules state married couples or civil partners can only count one property as their primary residence.

Earlier this month, Greater Manchester Police said there was no evidence that Ms Rayner had committed any offence after Conservative MP James Daly asked them to investigate if she had given false information.

“I was a home care worker, you know, I didn’t have an accountant,” she said. “I had, as most people would: you put your house on the market, you get a legal conveyancing solicitor, and you get an estate agent.

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“But since those allegations were put to me, I got expert tax advice to make sure that I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

She continued: “No, I wasn’t aware of the HMRC rules… when I sold that property.

“I sold it as most people would put it on the market, got the solicitor and the estate agents, etc. Since those allegations were put to me, the tax laws on capital gains tax and principal private residency, etc, is very complex, including marriage.

“I got that advice that is categoric that I do not owe any capital gains tax on that.”

The Conservative Party was approached for comment.