The chancellor’s budget is still being debated. And the biggest talk is the 50p tax on the wealthy. How is the budget going to affect you?
Well, personally, it won’t affect me yet. And I doubt if in this next year it will affect me much. Why? Because I’m one of those 2 million unemployed at the moment. And, I am not on any benefits, so any spending cuts will probably not affect me. Luckily, we are all pretty healthy, so hopefully we will not be needing any medical care. Any burden to the NHS would be minimal from us. Fuel tax? Well, that’s another issue. I will admit we have to do a lot of driving. But, that may change if we can move somewhere where we can decrease our driving time.
What do I think of the 50p tax? I’m not going to be glib and just say that it won’t affect me, so I don’t care. I’m not trying to defend the rich, but I will say that they do carry the most tax burden. That was even before the tax increase. Yes, I know. They have their tax havens and it’s unlikely that the G20 commitment to make tax havens transparent will have much effect. But I’ve said that elsewhere. Some critics say that it probably won’t raise much revenue. Well, sure, if they have their tax havens. Others say that it has sounded the “death knell for Labour”. Hmmm. The poor might think that Labour is working for them, so they’ll stick with Labour. Was it a political move? Was it a trap for the Tories and Lib Dems? Well…
You see, that’s where it is tricky. Is it a trap? The Tories cannot criticise it without saying they will reverse it, if they win. On the other hand, if it does increase revenues, will they be so quick to reverse it? Now, the Conservative leaders have not stated precisely their position on this. But, even some Labour MPs are criticising it.
Yet, one Labour MP (Mr. Kelvin Hopkins) went so far as to say good riddance to “ageing pop stars and money-grubbing bankers”. He thinks that the criticism of the 50p tax rate is coming from the “mega rich” and that it is “pathetic and contemptible”. He is only concerned with the “jobless and poor”. Now, he should get my sympathy and vote at the next election, shouldn’t he? (Oh, I forget, I don’t have the right to vote yet.) Well, Mr. Hopkins, if your ageing pop stars and money-grubbing bankers leave the UK because of the tax rate, and new entrepreneurs refuse to establish themselves here because of it, will you then get any revenues from the tax hike? Do you think to solve it by promoting fresher faces to executive positions and pay? That might be an answer, but will it be the right one?
Now, I’m not going to say whether the 50p tax rate is good or bad. I don’t know yet. We will have to rely on those with money, whether just well-off or super-rich, to carry us through this recession. They are the only ones who can afford to spend and it is commercial spending that is going to lift this recession. Is it fair to increase the tax burden on those at the upper echelon? I’d really like to know how the super-rich feel about this. And I don’t mean just the usual barrage of “I pay my taxes and it’s more than anyone else. Why should I pay more, blah, blah, blah.” I’d really like to know how it will personally affect them. Will it make their lives so unbearable that they will have to leave? I want to know if their lifestyle would have to change. We’ve heard how their assets have declined but their wealth is still quite unimaginable to me. Can they bear to be a little more charitable for the short term? Remember, thirty years ago, taxes were even higher than this.