The PCS Assistant General Secretary elections are now in progress with each candidate on the search of branch nominations, the magic number being fifteen at which a candidate guarantees a place on the ballot of all members. I do not think  any candidate is likely to struggle to meet this number.

John Moloney, the candidate for the Independent Left faction is making a great play on the promise that he will, if he wins, be paid a worker’s wage and reject the approximate £90,000 per year the AGS post pays.

This promise got me thinking about the tax implications and practicalities of this approach and came across the 1933 High Court decision in Reade v Brearley (1933) that set out the general position that:

It is, I think, equally clear that–I will not say in every case, because these cases, I think, have to be judged upon their own facts–but, I think, it is clear that at least in a large number of cases the voluntary foregoing of a salary due to a person ought to be regarded by the Court, and would be regarded, simply as being an application of the income

It seems to me then that upon appointment a candidate could not – bar a contract agreement of a salary much lower than the going rate – actually voluntarily only take only a ‘workers wage’, if he did so then Jon Moloney would nevertheless be responsible the tax due on the entire £90,000 salary, including the majority he had ‘given up.’ What the candidate would need to to is take the net working pay, but pay the full tax at the salaried level to HMRC. Which brings us to Plato and his observation on the current PCS election that “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”