Thursday, March 06, 2008
Do We Really Need the Fat Cats?
I'm a bit confused about 'non dom' fat cats. When Gordon Brown was in opposition Labour was going to crack down on such parasites who avoid paying tax in their own countries because they locate their business affairs off shore and avoid paying any in the UK as, unlike most developed countries, we waive such annoying minor inconveniences.
Last autumn the Conservatives proposed exactly such a minor inconvenience- a one-of payment of £25,000. Given public anger at fat cats this went down well and helped push Tory poll ratings upward. Labour, rather pathetically jumping on a bandwagon they should have created, followed up with a suggestion that they levy a £30,000 tax on those who had enjoyed our hospitality for at least seven years; but in addition they would have to declare more information about their income. Since then there has been much breast-beating in the pages of the FT and elsewhere: it seems we are being unkind to the dozen or so billionaires and assorted other mega rich who occupy stately mansions and the like in our green and pleasant land.
The argument is that having the super rich over here gives us some kudos for being the country they have chosen to settle their enormously expensive rear ends. It also helps the City attract those whiz kids destined to fill the pages of the Forbes Rich List and whose expert fingers on City keyboards will, given that we no longer make anything, help earn the nation more much needed dosh. Finally, claim their apologists, having such big spenders within our borders ensures that their super expensive tastes are catered for by UK tradesmen and women to the general advantage of the economy as a whole.
On the debit side we have to tolerate the likes of Abramovitch and his ilk, accept they enjoy benefits for which we and not they pay and put up with the sky-high house prices which their impact on the London market has caused. Finally we have to put up with their substantial contributions to the huge gap between rich and poor which now characterise both the UK and the USA. And what might happen if we have the temerity to ask them to pay a contribution which is as dust in their bank balances?
According to Tony Cohen, head of client services at Deloitte, quoted in today's Guardian:
"They can have huge amounts of income and gains elsewhere and pay no tax anywhere," said Cohen, who added that some of his clients would leave if the rules change. "It isn't all about the money - there's something about not feeling wanted."
So, in addition to sitting on mountains of cash which they can never spend these people are so sensitive that even if we ask nicely for a tiny widow's mite of tax, they'll get all upset and clear off elsewhere. Am I being unpatriotic in thinking that we shouldn't really care too much if they do?
What about that prog. on BBC 2, Friday? About time that the forgotten minority were highlighted by the liberal tendency who have spent the last 4o years making sure that EVERY racial minority apart from the white working class has had every benfit and support thrown at them. Bit rich...
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