Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP is under pressure after admitting what his spokesperson calls ‘an honest administrative mistake’ in declaring property interests.
It is understood that the Labour Party is set to refer the Secretary of State to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards as he failed to declare the interest within the required 28 days.
According to the Telegraph, Jeremy Hunt has a 50% stake in a company called Mare Pond Properties which was set up in 2017 to buy seven flats in the Ocean Village development in Southampton.
More concerning than the technical error however is the questions of morality due to the properties being purchased via a company. Stamp duty changes on buy-to-let properties mean that an extra 3% of stamp duty applies for properties bought for renting out by landlords. These taxes can be avoided if properties are purchased via a company.
A two bedroom flat in the Ocean Village development costs £335,000. Stamp duty for additional properties on a flat of this value would be £16,800. The total stamp duty due on the purchase of seven of these properties would be £117,600; enough to fund ten care packages at 14 hours a week.
Such activity from the Health and Social Care secretary while the services he is responsible for are in the midst of crisis is hard to swallow. Jeremy Hunt lost the confidence of the sector a long time ago and these new revelations only make things worse.