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David Cameron: "Gary Barlow should keep his OBE"

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David Cameron has said that Gary Barlow should keep his OBE, after it was discovered that the pop star had made money from a tax avoidance scheme.

In an interview with ITV's Good Morning Britain today, the PM said it wasn't necessary for the Take That star to hand back his OBE, which he was awarded in 2012, as he had done a lot for the country.

"Gary Barlow has done a huge amount for the country, he's raised money for charity, he has done very well for Children in Need. The OBE was in respect of that work and what he has done."

Gary Barlow, 43, along with Take That members Mark Owen and Howard Donald might have pay back millions of pounds in tax, after they, and around 1,000 others, put money into schemes allegedly supporting the music industry, but were really tax avoidance schemes.

Along with manager Jonathan Wild, the four men were directors of a Larkdale LLP, which reported huge losses of more than £25m.

However, after a tribunal, Judge Colin Bishopp ruled that the partnerships had actually been set up for tax avoidance purposes, as those losses could then be offset against tax, reducing the men's tax bills.

Despite the fact that Barlow does not need to relinquish his OBE, Cameron did say he was against aggressive tax avoidance schemes:

"Clearly this scheme was wrong and it is right that they're going to have to pay back the money."

"If people go after these schemes and aggressively avoid tax they're making it the case that everyone else has to pay higher taxes as a result."

"Tax avoidance is, in these cases, these very aggressive tax avoidance schemes, they are wrong and we should really persuade people not to do them, and that's why we have these court cases where the court looks at whether a scheme is more about avoiding tax than anything else."

"The court was very clear in this case."

(Images: Rex Features)

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