Call to delay tax bill

BREATHING SPACE Penny Mordaunt
BREATHING SPACE Penny Mordaunt
A refugee in South Sudan

A country ravaged by years of bitter civil war and conflict

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PENNY Mordaunt has called on the Treasury to give Pompey more time to pay its tax bill after it was served a winding-up petition.

As first revealed in The News on Saturday, the petition relates to unpaid taxes on wage money since last month.

By the end of January that money will add up to £1.6m.

The Portsmouth North MP said: ‘I think there is a good precedent for this, because when the club was teetering on the brink last time the Treasury wanted more and it backed down.

‘The reason why that was the right decision is the social value that comes with football clubs – they are a force for good in our communities.

‘And this is a viable business with a huge following that just needs to be run properly. We should be doing everything we can to enable it to survive.

‘The Treasury needs to take a much more pragmatic view of football clubs.

‘We should be doing more to enable trusts and supporters’ organisations to have a stake in the club and first refusal in buying it.’

In a statement an HMRC spokeswoman said: ‘Ensuring tax is paid on time should be at the centre of a football club’s business strategy just as it should be for any other enterprise.

‘Any business that regards paying tax as an optional extra after other expenses are met, or that uses tax collected from employees or customers as working capital, is potentially heading for trouble.

‘It is only fair to those clubs and to other taxpayers who do meet their obligations that HMRC enforces payment of tax debts owed – and if need be, issues a winding up petition or seeks to appoint an administrator.’