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UK taxpayers subsidising the Glazers' takeover of United?

5th November 2007

In May 2007, Trafford MP Bev Hughes asked the then Minister of Sport, Richard Caborn, on behalf of one of her constituents, whether the Glazers are getting tax relief on the interest on the loans they took out to buy Manchester United.

The answer, received by the constituent some six months later, on November 1st 2007, is that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport do not know whether the Glazers are getting tax relief from the UK Government on the loans they took out to buy United but they did ask Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

HMRC have apparently not examined their records to establish whether any of the requested information is held because

"HMRC has a statutory duty of confidentiality under section 18(1) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA)"

They're not saying

and they're not saying even if this request was made under the Freedom of Information Act because this information is exempt from the requirement to be disclosed.

It is interesting to note that nothing helpful along the lines of "we can't tell you the exact details but in this situation businesses normally do/do not get tax relief on the interest on the loans they took out" was added to HMRC's reply and that may be an indication as to how HM Government think such information may be received.

In fact, if the Glazers had taken over Manchester United under normal private equity arrangements then they definitely would be receiving tax relief on their loans.

Therefore, it has to wondered that if this is not also the case here why HM Government has not fallen over itself in the rush to make that point.

After all, if the Glazers are getting tax relief on the interest on the loans they took out to buy Manchester United then that would mean that the UK Government is providing subsidies, paid for by all British taxpayers, to overseas "Billionaires" so that they can take over one of our best known sporting and cultural institutions in the face of highly vocal objections from and to the detriment of, the fans that have supported that club for generations

and if that were true then maybe HM Government would try and avoid having to say so...

...possibly by taking months to reply, even after having been sent several reminders and then, when they've got no choice but to reply, couching their responses in only the most noncommittal of terms, so as not to really say anything...?

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