Business Secretary Vince Cable, who has called for tough action against tax dodgers, has been fined for failing to pay his own tax bill, his office said on Wednesday.

Cable, a Liberal Democrat minister in the government, was hit with a 500 pound penalty from the tax office over money he had earned from media work but for which he had not paid the VAT sales tax, the Sun newspaper reported.

During campaigning for last year's election, Cable attacked billionaire tax-dodgers who had undue influence on the government and have the effrontery to tell us how to vote and how to run our tax policies.

Cable's office confirmed that his earnings had breached the threshold at which VAT became payable but said he had paid off the duty he owed to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within a month of the issue coming to light.

All Vince's tax affairs are above board, and he went out of his way to settle this quickly -- in fact HMRC let him off 50 percent of the usual penalty, his spokesman said in a statement.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Mark Heinrich)