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David Cameron has let rip at the comedian Jimmy Carr describing him as “morally wrong” for seeking to avoid taxes without bothering to donate any of the money he has saved to the Tory Party.

Media reports of Carr’s tax arrangements suggest that he is undertaking “straightforward tax avoidance without any provision for paying us off”, said the prime minister.

And he said it was unfair on the people who pay to watch the comic perform that he is not paying his taxes while at the same time being completely unwilling to give any of it back to us in bribes – unlike other billionaire tax avoiders such as Lord Ashcroft who regularly donate millions to the Tory Party.

Speaking to ITV during a round of TV interviews during his trip to Mexico, the PM said:

I think some of these schemes – and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme –  is completely wrong if he’s not paying any of the money he has saved back to us in sweeteners.

That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement – that sort of tax management is fine. But some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong as they seem to contain no provision for any kind of bribes, kickbacks or inducements to the Tory Party.

Asked if he was “disappointed” about the reports of the tax affairs of Gary Barlow – who was made an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours at the weekend  – the Prime Minister pointed out that as Barlow had campaigned alongside him at the general election, he was pretty certain the star would have given back at least some of the money he’d saved to the Tory Party:

I just go back to the general point about tax, that everybody should pay the right amount of taxes unless they are extremely rich and willing to give us back some of the tax money we’ve let them get away with. Nobody should be exempt from that.

Earlier a Downing Street spokeswoman had said Cameron backed George Osborne’s description of aggressive tax avoidance without political payola to the governing party as “morally repugnant”.

Asked if the government might consider whether the tax affairs of individuals should be a factor when considering people for honours, she said:

All tax avoidance schemes will be addressed by HM Revenues & Customs and the amount of cash that they produce in hush money to the governing party – whichever big name stars are involved – will be considered fairly and objectively on a case by case basis.


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