Monday, November 30, 2009

On the (non) wholesale flight from Britain's top tax rate

Private Eye in Britain remains on form. From the latest edition:

"Actors, artists and a host of hedge-fund managers are among those fleeing the introduction of a 50p tax rate," the Daily Telegraph claimed last Saturday, in a feature on "the fury driving the super-rich abroad."

In the interests of balance, the Telegraph pointed out that "the government sees the 50p rate as a signal; that the rich, who did so well in the boom years, must carry their share of the burden in hard times." What it wisely omitted to add was that some of the super-rich fled long ago to avoid their share of the burden even in the good times - not least weirdo wins Dave and Fred Barclay, the ageing Jedwards who own the Telegraph.

Governments quail in the face of this kind of language - but reality is very different. Most of those who threaten to leave don't. Talk is cheap.

The edition carries more on the offshore-diving Commonwealth Development Fund (CDC) explaining "what happens when poverty relief meets private equity;" plus a long article about UK Conservative Party donor Michael Ashcroft. Unfortunately, it's subscription-only, so we can't provide the link.


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