Honours chiefs throw out decision to give Robbie Williams an OBE

Mail Online | 6/14/2019 | Simon Walters for the Daily Mail
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A decision to award Robbie Williams an honour was overturned because he had used a controversial investment scheme.

The former Take That singer was initially given a gong in 2019 New Year’s honours list for his charity work and success as a pop star.

Honours - Committee - OBE - Intervention - Taxman

The honours committee nominated him an for OBE but later decided against it following an intervention by the taxman.

Williams, 45, is the first celebrity known to have fallen foul of a new ‘honours blacklist’ for wealthy individuals with question marks over their tax affairs. The rules came in shortly after he was nominated for an OBE.

HMRC - Servant - Committee - Veto - Williams

The senior HMRC civil servant who informed the honours committee of its veto suggested Williams was himself to blame.

‘If you do not pay your dues to the Athenaeum you cannot expect to enjoy the benefits,’ the official reportedly said, referring to a Pall Mall club frequented by Whitehall mandarins.

Addition - Williams - HMRC - Tax - Affairs

In addition, Williams had challenged HMRC over his tax affairs – which is also said to have been a factor in the scrapping of his OBE. ‘They did not like the fact that he had contested the matter,’ said an insider.

Another Take That singer, Gary Barlow, was embroiled in a similar controversy but kept his OBE. He had to pay back millions to HMRC because he took part in a scheme judged to be an artificial tax shelter.

Barlow - Thing - Take - Members - Howard

Barlow, 48, said it was ‘stupidest thing I have ever done’. He and fellow Take That members Howard Donald, 51, and Mark Owen, 47, had to repay £20million. They insisted they had believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and had all paid significant tax.

The scandal emerged days after Barlow’s OBE was announced.

David - Cameron - Singer - Tories - Election

David Cameron criticised the singer, who campaigned with the Tories in the 2010 election, saying aggressive tax avoidance was wrong. However, the former prime minister said he...
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