Will Lewis Hamilton be a knight? F1 star’s tax status ‘misunderstood’, says Motorsport UK chief
Lewis Hamilton’s tax status comes under the microscope as calls mount for the F1 star to receive the knight title after his record-breaking seventh world title.
The 35-year-old was awarded an MBE in 2008 after his debut championship, but has so far been denied the highest honor despite his strong claims to be Formula 1’s greatest driver and sportsman. British of all time.
One factor suggested behind the denial is that Hamilton lives in Monaco – a tax haven – although it was claimed this week that his “tax status has been misunderstood”.
Motorsport UK chairman David Richards and the all-party parliamentary group for Formula 1 have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to campaign for Hamilton to be knighted in New Year’s honors.
“It would be totally wrong for the UK to deny Lewis an award worthy of his historic achievements because of where he chooses to live or work or because his tax status has been misunderstood,” says Richards, 68 years, in the letter.
It is also claimed that HMRC UK Income Tax Statistics, published in 2019, places Hamilton among the top 5,000 taxpayers in the UK.
Hamilton told the Sunday opening hours in 2014: “What people don’t realize is that I pay taxes here [in the UK], but I’m not making all my money here.
“I run in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and pay taxes in several different places, and I also pay a lot here. I contribute to the country and on top of that I help keep a team of over 1,000 people at work. I am part of a much bigger picture.
Who obtains a knight’s title?
“Honors are decided and announced by the Cabinet Office twice a year: on New Years and on the Queen’s official birthday in June.
“They are then presented to recipients by members of the Royal Family throughout the year in ceremonies known as ‘Investors’.
“The UK honors system rewards people for their merit, service or bravery. Honors are bestowed upon deserving and high performing individuals from all walks of life: from soldiers and community volunteers, to artists and industry leaders.“
What Hamilton said this week:
“I think of people like my grandfather who served in the war, I think of Sir Captain Tom [Moore]He said, referring to the 100-year-old former soldier who raised over £ 32million for Britain’s National Health Service.
“The people who run the hospitals, the nurses and the doctors who save lives in the toughest times of all time. I think of these unsung heroes and I don’t think of myself as an unsung hero.
“I didn’t save anyone.
Calls multiply for “Sir Lewis”
Great Britain’s Sir Jackie Stewart, the three-time world champion who lived in Switzerland during his racing career, told the The telegraph of the day this week there is “no doubt” that Hamilton should be knighted: “I certainly think it is justified.”
Richards and the all-party F1 parliamentary group – whose letter is signed by former Labor minister Lord Hain and Tory MPs Greg Smith and James Sunderland – also highlight Hamilton’s charitable work for the Make A Wish Foundation, Save the Children and Unicef And his push for equality and inclusiveness in a sport where he remains the only black rider.
They also highlight the Hamilton Commission, created by the new seven-time world champion, to improve the representation of blacks in motorsport.
Richards adds: “Throughout Lewis’ journey to the top he has come a lonely road as the only black driver in F1 and the Black Lives Matter movement has allowed him to speak candidly about his experience. He used his voice, his platform and his influence to call for positive change.
“His story is a remarkable story of application, dedication, sacrifice, supreme skill and determination to enter a sport where the odds were immeasurable against him.
“Lewis is a global icon. A patriot of exemplary character who never misses an opportunity to wrap himself in the Union Jack and exult his proud Britishness.
“Lewis is applauded the world over for his achievements in a Formula 1 car and it would be only fair if the UK recognized his extraordinary achievements by awarding him a knight, as has been the case for so many. ‘other British sportsmen of the same level. “
However, while several of Hamilton’s contemporaries in other sports were named knights or dames – including Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Chris Hoy, Alastair Cook, and Jessica Ennis-Hill – the Daily mail reports that there has been a “shift in perspective” from the government on granting honor to active athletes. Chris Froome, five-time winner of the Tour de France and another resident of Monaco, is another prominent sports figure who has yet to be knighted.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “What the Prime Minister would say is an absolutely fantastic achievement by Lewis Hamilton, who has made his way into the history books of sport and Formula 1.
“Anyone considered for an honor undergoes a full series of checks before it is bestowed. It is an independent system.
Analysis: “The lack of recognition is more and more bizarre”
By Kevin Garside, I chief sports correspondent
Unlike the man whose world titles he just equaled, Michael Schumacher, Hamilton is largely free from flaws, thriving without taking others off the road or blocking their way in qualifying.
From the start he sought to showcase the contribution of others as much as his own, pointing out that without the team behind him he wouldn’t be able to deliver on the circuit.
Footballer Marcus Rashford has become the country’s favorite for his campaign to feed Britain’s poor children. Rashford speaks of a truth born from personal experience, which gives it relativity and authenticity.
Hamilton is no less active through the foundation that bears his name, generously contributing to many charitable causes such as Save The Children, The Honeypot Children’s Charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital, as well as more global organizations like the Unicef, Education Africa and the Harlem Children’s Zone.
And few have been more vocal in raising awareness of the issues that gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement. Hamilton can’t look across the playing field to other black faces, he has never taken a pass from a black teammate or celebrated on the podium with a black colleague. Hamilton is a one-man campaign machine for people of color in his sport and has encountered a lot of resistance along the way. Yet the broader public endorsement rightly given to Rashford is not in Hamilton.
Hamilton doesn’t have to be a knight to feel good about himself or justified in the way he conducts his business. But the absence of one throws the process in a deeply troubling light and is increasingly untenable.
You can read Kevin’s full analysis here.
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