Barlow 'should keep his OBE’

May 13, 2014, 8:24 AM GMT+0

61% of the British public say the Take That singer should not be stripped of his OBE – even though they think legal tax avoidance by rich people is unreasonable

While Labour MP Margaret Hodge said Gary Barlow “might show a bit of contrition by giving back his OBE”, David Cameron said “I don’t think that is necessary, frankly”.

The comments refer to the Take That singer who may have to pay back millions of pounds for investing in a company set up for tax avoidance purposes, but a new YouGov survey for the Times finds that British people fall on the side of Mr Barlow.

By 61-24% people think he should keep his OBE, awarded for contributions to charity and the music industry.

By 51-33% they also think he should not be prosecuted.

This is despite 60% believing that people who use artificial but legal methods of avoiding tax, as did Mr Barlow, are acting unreasonably – ‘rich people have a moral duty to pay their fair share’.

32%, on the other hand, say that people who use such schemes are acting reasonably – 'it's the government's job to pass stricter tax laws if they want the rich to pay more tax'.

Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander said: "One of the changes that we introduced in the Budget just a few weeks ago was to make sure that in future, if people participate in these sorts of schemes, they have to pay the money up front to the Exchequer.” 80%, however, say the government is not doing enough to reduce tax avoidance.

Image: Getty

See the full poll results