Duchy – turning a new leaf?

Posted on: 2nd July 2013

Commenting on criticisms in the media that the Duchy of Cornwall is engaged in tax avoidance, the MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, said that this should provide the Duke with an opportunity to turn a new leaf and to make himself subject to a new and more constructive relationship with the people of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Mr George said, “Cornish people are proud of the very unique constitutional status of Cornwall and Scilly.  This is, in part, represented by the existence of the constitutionally unique Duchy.  But attempts to develop this role are often routinely brushed aside by a Duchy which prefers to define itself in terms of being a ‘private estate’.

If it’s a ‘private estate’ then it ought to be treated by Government as a ‘private estate’ – for tax purposes, etc.  Though I am not sure that that would benefit the people of the Duchy.

“To be fair, the Duchy doesn’t appear to be engaged in the industrial scale style tax avoidance of Starbucks/Google.  So it would help itself if it came clean about what it pays in tax – which, in any case, is mostly on a voluntary basis – and those taxes, like Capital Gains and Corporation tax, which it does not pay.  Those matters could be subject to further conversations.

“On balance, the Duchy provides a fairer relationship with its tenants and leaseholders on the Isles of Scilly than would be the case if the estate were run on purely commercial lines.  That is something which the Duchy should build upon.

“In response to criticisms about the management of its tax affairs, the Duchy could ‘turn a new leaf’ and be more transparent about its relationship to the State.  It could be clearer about its unique constitutional role in relation to Cornwall and the Scillies and be more transparent about the taxes it pays and those it does not.”


Sign up to Andrew George MP’s email newsletter here