After several posts about crazy decisions by the U.K. government, mostly involving extreme political correctness, it’s time to get back to basics and look at tax policy. A financial services consulting firm in London has just released a survey with the stunning finding that one-fifth of entrepreneurs are thinking of escaping the county because of punitive taxes – particularly the new top tax rate of 50 percent. Here’s what Tax-news.com reported:
The results of a new survey suggest that one-fifth of UK-based entrepreneurs earning more than GBP150,000 are planning to flee Britain in search of countries with more favorable tax rates. The poll of more than 300 entrepreneurs by business advisors Tenon also found that many more may follow in an attempt to escape the 50% rate of income tax, due to be introduced from next April on annual incomes above GBP150,000, with nearly half of the respondents (48%) still deciding what action to take. …Tenon points out that in the last month, high profile names such as the actor Sir Michael Caine and the artist Tracey Emin have threatened to change their tax residency to countries with more favorable tax rates. Popular locations for redomiciling include Monte Carlo, Guernsey, Liechtenstein, and the Cayman Islands. Andy Raynor, Chief Executive of Tenon Group, noted that entrepreneurs are showing their disapproval of the tax measures by “letting their feet do the talking.”
The Mayor of London, meanwhile, is much less restrained regarding the foolishness of Gordon Brown’s class-warfare policy. Here’s what he has to say in the Daily Telegraph:
Not everyone can be relied upon to mourn the departure of Tracey Emin and her duvet. …Some readers may feel that the country can rub along without her. …And then there may be people who don’t give a monkey’s that Michael Caine is thinking of vamoosing, or that we are about to lose Eddie Jordan, the former Formula One chief, or the milk tycoon Lord Haskins. Some of you may not care a tinker’s cuss if the former bookshop king Tim Waterstone deserts these shores, and as for the impending absence of Hugh Osmond, an entrepreneur who has had a role in everything from pizza to insurance, you may feel that we just have to dry our eyes and get a grip on our feelings. …the 50p tax rate that is beginning to drive these people away is a disaster for this country, and it is a double disaster that no one seems willing to talk about it. When Margaret Thatcher’s government cut the top rate of tax to 40 per cent in 1988, she was completing a series of reforms – beginning with the removal of exchange controls and followed by the Big Bang – that helped to establish London as the greatest financial centre on earth. Britain had been transformed from a sclerotic militant-ridden basket-case to a dynamic enterprise economy, and the capital became a global talent magnet. …So it is utterly tragic, at the end of the first decade of this century, that we are back in the hands of a government whose mindset seems frozen in the wastes of the 1970s. If Gordon Brown remains in power – and perhaps even if he does not – Britain’s top rate of tax will soar far above that of our most important global competitors. …even on the Government’s figures it is only due to raise £2.5 billion of the £700 billion required – and those estimates may be wildly optimistic. This tax is predicted to drive away at least 25,000 people; it may simply encourage more avoidance; it may actually cost money, not bring it in. After all, when Mrs Thatcher cut the top rate in 1988, the Treasury saw yields go up. People stopped avoiding taxation; people thought it worth their while to get up at 5am and work that extra bit harder – and the share paid by higher-rate taxpayers actually increased as a result of the tax cut. What Gordon Brown wants to do is therefore economically illiterate.
Last but not least, here’s the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s video, which explains why punitive soak-the-rich tax increases are fundamentally misguided.
By the way, I’m not picking on England. America is soon going to be making the same self-destructive mistake.