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Small wonder Labour are enthusiastic tax-avoiders - the party is in dire financial straits

By Mark Wallace
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Labour RoseToday's Times contains an awkward revelation for Ed Miliband - despite turning a surplus last year, Labour managed to organise its tax affairs so efficiently that the party paid no corporation tax whatsoever.

Of course, there's no suggestion they did anything illegal, but given Miliband's regular drum-beating about the immorality of tax avoidance it is more than ironic to see his party's accountants engaged in such nifty footwork. Had they paid tax on the headline surplus, their bill would have been over half a million pounds.

But it's small wonder they are looking after the pennies so carefully all of a sudden.

The battle with Unite, and Miliband's proposed reforms to the union relationship, are set to reduce their income by several million quid a year; the Evening Standard reports that the party still owes £7 million dating back to the "loans for lordships" scandal in 2006; and there is a growing row about the millions of pounds worth of extraordinarily cheap credit Labour obtained from the crisis-stricken Co-Op Bank.

The party's money problems are so bad that not even Ed Miliband's enthusiastic tax efficiency can dent them. It would be embarrassing if Labour were to go bust - but at least it would be a reminder of how little they can be trusted with money.