Cabinet Office lead non-exec has non-dom status

Written by Beckie Smith on 19 April 2022 in News
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Former tech and data exec Anand Aithal has controversial residence status, it has been revealed

Credit: Howard Lake/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Cabinet Office’s lead non-executive director has non-dom status, it has been revealed, following a row over the tax affairs of the chancellor’s non-dom wife.

Anand Aithal is a tech and data specialist who previously worked for Goldman Sachs before founding analytics Amba, which was sold to credit rating agency Moody’s for a reported $80. The executive was born in and lives in the UK but is domiciled in India – a status he acquired through his Indian-born father, the Guardian reported.

He has been on the Cabinet Office Board since February 2019 and has “extensive international experience having lived and worked in the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica”, according to his profile on GOV.UK.

Despite being a non-dom – a status conferred on people who live in the UK but claim to have permanent residence abroad, and which can mean people pay less UK tax – Aithal pays “all taxes on all of his income, both from the UK and abroad, in the UK”, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.

The revelation comes after it emerged that chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty, is non-domiciled in the UK. She pledged to pay tax on all overseas income in the UK following a backlash.


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There have also been questions over the health secretary Sajid Javid's admission that he was a non-dom for “some” of his investment banking career before he became an MP.

Javid gave up the status in 2009, which he gained because his father was from Pakistan, a year before being elected to parliament.

And it comes amid increased scrutiny of government non-execs. The Labour Party called for a crackdown on appointments to departmental boards last summer after it emerged then-health secretary Matt Hancock had made his aide and lover Gina Coladangelo a Department of Health and Social Care non-exec.

Coladangelo was one of 16 NEDS – of a total of around 80 – with close ties to the Conservative Party, the campaign group Open Democracy said at the time.

They included former Conservative and UKIP MP Douglas Carswell and former Conservative vice-chair – and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s business partner – Dominic Johnson, both at the Department for International Trade; and Nick Timothy, former joint chief of staff to Theresa May, at the Department for Education.

Labour’s concerns followed an earlier warning by then-public appointments commissioner Peter Riddell about “growing concerns” over political bias and the lack of regulation of NED appointments.

"The original idea of bringing in people with business and similar experience from outside Whitehall has been partly replaced by the appointment of political allies of ministers, in some cases without competition, and without any form of regulatory oversight,” he wrote in a letter to Lord Jonathan Evans, chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, in late 2020.

In a more recent and unrelated controversy, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs non-exec, the financier and environmentalist Ben Goldsmith, faced calls to quit this week after backing Extinction Rebellion’s stance on fossil fuels.

Several Conservative MPs called for Goldsmith to resign after his comments on the environmentalist group, as well as his criticism of the Labour Party’s call for injunctions against Just Stop Oil.

 

About the author

Beckie Smith is deputy editor for PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @beckie__smith.

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