Ken Livingstone promises to take a pay cut. Well, he can afford it…

When a product is hard to shift, you cut the price. Not enough voters are buying Ken Livingstone’s election promises at the moment – can’t think why – so Ken’s launched a money-off sale. Of himself.

In the Guardian, Ken has promised that he will take a tax pay cut if he is elected mayor in May. He’s offering to reduce his mayoral salary by “at least” five per cent, saving Londoners £7,150 annually. That’s – let me see – a big-value 0.1p a year each!

Not sure this’ll have us rushing to the polling stations on its own, Ken – you’ll probably have to think up some more bargain deals. How about a free Lee Jasper with every Ken Livingstone purchased?

There’s one rather glaring problem, of course. As I revealed on Sunday, Ken is one of those progressives who only appears to believe in progressive taxation for other people. He has been using what he describes as a “tax avoidance option:” channelling his very substantial earnings (£232,000 in 2009) through a personal company, paying 21% corporation tax (a lower rate than my cleaner) instead of 40% income tax, splitting his income with his wife (even though it was earned solely by him) and depriving the Revenue of at least £50,000 in tax (a conservative estimate.) This despite his condemning tax avoiders as “rich bastards” who should not be allowed to vote.

It’ll take more than a 5% pay cut to make up for taxpayers’ losses on that canny little deal.

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