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Daily defends coverage of lingerie boss’s tax affairs

Michelle MoneA regional daily has rubbished accusations it indulged in a “partisan search for non-stories” about a lingerie entrepreneur and government adviser’s tax affairs.

The allegations were made about The Herald, Glasgow, by a spokesman for Michelle Mone, the owner of womenswear firm Ultimo who was appointed last week by David Cameron to lead a review into entrepreneurship in poor areas.

The Herald claims Ms Mone, pictured above left, has used employee benefit trusts, a form of tax avoidance.

Business leaders in Scotland have also questioned her suitability for the government advisory role, which will see her report to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith.

When approached for a comment on the tax issue, Ms Mone’s spokesman said: “The appointment has been made because of Michelle’s acknowledged successful record in business.

“She has no comment to make on the inaccurate claims apparently being made to The Herald in its partisan search for non-stories.”

However, The Herald responded in an editorial published in Friday’s paper.

It reads: “The fact she benefited from tax avoidance schemes dubbed ‘morally repugnant’ by the Chancellor prompted her PR firm to suggest this title was in some way partisan.

“This is manifestly untrue. The Herald has been an interested, even supportive, observer of Ms Mone’s colourful business career over the years.

“With her remarkable talent for self-promotion, we have applauded the chutzpah of a working class Glasgow woman who made her mark in the male-dominated world of business.

“We have also been among the many titles that published photos of Ms Mone and an array of celebrity models promoting her cleavage-enhancing lingerie.”

It continues: “But none of this prompted The Herald’s scrutiny. What did was feedback from members of the Scottish business community, many of whom were aghast at Ms Mone becoming the UK Government’s face of business start-ups.

“When Douglas Anderson of Gap Group – a company employing 1,300 people with annual revenues of £150m – writes to the Prime Minister to protest about the appointment of Ms Mone to the start-ups role, amid rumours of her also being appointed to the Lords, were we meant to ignore it?”

Mr Anderson said Ms Mone’s business had gained “unjustified acclaim” because of the glamourous nature of her industry, adding she was unqualified for the government role.

The editorial concludes: “This is – or at least should be – a serious job. We do not doubt Ms Mone’s drive, ambition and desire to do well in the role.

“But we also recognise that while it is unpaid, the position burnishes her valuable credentials as a media personality and handsomely-rewarded public speaker.

“With this appointment Prime Minister Cameron was acting like the shallow PR man his adversaries portray him as.

“Senior Scottish Conservatives, who were not consulted, were aghast at this divisive and potentially counter-productive appointment. Were we meant to ignore this?”


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  • August 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Cameron a ‘shallow PR man’? Well, a PR man was precisely what he was before he was elected to the Commons.

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  • August 18, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Tax avoidance is legal; Tax EVASION isn’t. Until the former is also illegal this is indeed a non-story.

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