Norman Foster’s tax affairs have been raised in Parliament following BD’s exclusive report last week that he has become a Swiss resident.
Liberal Democrat peer and treasury spokesman Matthew Oakeshott — who aims to force “tax-dodging” peers out of the House of Lords — questioned the actions of the Foster & Partners chairman during a debate in the house last week.
“Building Design magazine will… carry the story that the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, is believed to have moved to Switzerland and is non-resident in this country for tax purposes,” Oakeshott said last Thursday afternoon.
“We await developments, but I can confirm that if that is the case, the noble Lord would, if the Bill went through, still have to pay full British taxes in this country.”
The Labour peer Lord Hunt of Kings Heath responded by confirming that the government supports the principle of “no representation without taxation”.
Foster was also ranked as the richest architect in Britain in last weekend’s Sunday Times Rich List, with a reported personal fortune of £250 million after tax, making him the UK’s 325th richest person. This was down 76 places on 2007, when his wealth was valued at £295 million.
The Rich List estimated that the 72-year-old made around £120 million in a deal last year which gave private equity giant 3i a 40% share of Foster & Partners, leaving him with a further stake of £135 million and other assets, to total £250 million after tax.
Foster’s former partner Richard Rogers, together with his wife Ruth, made the extended list, which covers the 2,000 wealthiest people in the country. With a personal fortune of £52 million, he debuted at position 1,415. But Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners has disputed this figure, claiming it is too high.