Labour and the rich

 

           Tony Blair did a deal with the better off to win and stay in power. He agreed to keep Conservative rates of Income and capital taxation. In return more  rich people came here, stayed here,  set up businesses here and paid much more tax here. He was able to win enough votes to form a government three times, and to expand public spending substantially before the excess and the crash.

           In opposition it is tempting for Labour to say they will spend more of our money by taxing the rich more. They need to remember that the best way to get more money out of the rich for public services is to keep the rates down, not to frighten off the mobile rich by putting them up.

            Politicians generally have adopted an anti rich stance, appealing to jealousy and hoping that offers a way to easy spending money for the state. Before embarking on a condemn the rich attack, it would be wise to ask who are the rich? Are they universally bad?

               The Lib Dems laughingly said someone is rich if they earn more than £50,000 a year. That makes the Headteacher and some Deputy Heads rich. It makes many senior local government officers rich. It means all GPs, judges and senior quango executives are rich. It means many middle and all senior managers in business are rich. Even Labour think that is a strange definition of rich. In my constituency a £50,000 combined income in a household is common and necessary to pay the costs of  much of the  housing.

              Adjectives applied to the rich are often unkind. Popular amongst them are “idle” and “filthy”. So who are the true rich?

              Someone worth £1m is automatically thought  rich by some. If it is a pensioner living in a one bedroom flat worth £1 million  in central London living on a modest pension  they do not   have a rich lifestyle. To release their riches they would need to sell up and go and live in a much cheaper part of the country, when they would have some capital to live off as well as the pensions. Maybe we should  regard someone as rich if they had £1million of savings as well as a home of their own.

                    For a good definition of rich is someone who of working age does not have to work because they have enough income and capital to live without needing a salary. If you have sensible requirements for your lifestyle you could be rich in this sense with say £1.5m of capital –  a £500,000 house outside London and a savings income based on your £1m of savings that could pay the bills.  Then this person could indeed be the “idle rich”. In  practice most of  the people I have met who have substantial capital are far from idle, and are often entrepreneurial, seeking to create new businesses with the money they have made. Others would say that to qualify as rich you would need a much higher income than these capital figures imply.

                  The “filthy” rich is an unpleasant jibe. It is clearly not strictly accurate, as the rich have plenty of money and time for baths, showers, and perfumes. It presumably means they came by their money in questionable ways. Many high earners in the financial services have been mauled by politicians collectively  with the implication that what they do is not needed and their fees and charges are too high. Some are hauled over the regulatory coals for bad practice.

                 Not all very highly rewarded people are attacked in this way. Most seem relaxed about footballers being paid very large sums if they are good. People tend to like entrepreneurs like Mr Branson, accepting he  deserves rewards for his work and risk taking.

                 Labour would be wise not to bash the rich. Mr Blair was wrong about many policy matters, especially wars, but he was right about this. Labour has to get on with the rich to govern. Conservatives have to  look after the poor and should want to do so  to govern. That’s the deal.

               There is one thing worse than having lots of rich in London. That would be not having them. They pay lots of tax and help swell demand.  There is nothing wrong with aspiration. Aspiration becomes less of an incentive if anyone succeeding is regarded as unpleasantly rich, an object of criticism and for higher taxation.

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115 Comments

  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Did I read recently (Yes I did but was it the whole story?) that there is no national, repeat national, minimum wage in Germany? Should that not give the Labourites pause to think? I would be willing to bet, but don’t know, that it is the same in Switzerland and everywhere else where the poor aren’t so very poor. Labourites of course cannot abide that we are not all equal never mind identical, some are hard working meaning they work more, possibly much more, than average, they take risks including borrowing money to set up and fund their businesses, they are willing and able to employ other people, they are inventive and come up with viable marketable ideas. These people should be allowed to continue creating wealth without having to pay EVEN more in taxes. Do labourites not realise that giving employers a hard time is about as silly as you can get, and from THEIR point of view if they want employers to employ them. Who has to pay the higher minimum wage or for the masses of extra work for the Government these days, for which instead of getting paid themselves for doing so, employers have, amazingly to me, to pay NI (literally a Jobs Tax) and now, for some reason that escapes me, a forced contribution to their employees’ pensions, which should obviously have nothing whatsoever to do with employers……..not to mention that now they are apparently also to be commanded to arrange apprenticeships that they do not need. And then wonder why employment is not as high as they might like, not that the Unions care particularly about those who are unemployed except maybe in the sense that more in employment might mean more potential members.

    • Gary
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Commodities are rationed by price. The commodity of labour is rationed by the minimum wage.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Jobs worthless if it pays less than six quid. How about a pound an hour or bob-a-job. There would be no British working and who could blame them? You do it.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      You are quite right Leslie.

      There is NO minimum wage in

      Germany
      Norway
      Switzerland
      Sweden
      Iceland
      Singapore
      Finland

      What do all those countries have in common? They are ALL in the top 20 countries in terms of standards of living.

      Once again socialism with its endemic green eyed jealousy and lousy rhetoric causes the most grief to the workers they pretend to defend and wastes the opportunities for us to build a fairer and more supportive society by continually focusing on taking things away, blaming successful people and punishing all of us who have the temerity to create businesses, create jobs and who invest in the development of society.

      Socialism is a failed 19th century philosophy that even its authors Marx & Engles didn’t really believe.

      You are also right Leslie as an employer I face 3 lots of anti job tax. ENI, Pension and Uniform Business Rates. What the left never ever work out is that these costs have to be either passed on to the consumer or reduce the income of the workers or most likely both. Yet stupidly if they scrapped these anti job taxes, more tax revenue would actually be generated over the long term. More people employed ( paying tax and NI ) more businesses back in our High Streets selling more products that currently earn the Treasury 20% for every sale.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 2:46 am | Permalink

        Indeed and daft employment legislation too.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Such as have you thought of any yet or just more RWC. These countries have other systems to prevent poverty pay which is what you want, but cannot say it. How would anyone live on less than six quid an hour? They are already subsidised by the state by tax credits and the benefits system and hence employers too. You propose more or should thsi be cut too? Ram it until you come with some real answers.

      • uanime5
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        With the exception of Singapore all the countries you mentioned are more socialist than the UK. They also give their employees more rights and have higher tax rates.

        Perhaps you should actually examine what makes these countries successful, rather than assume it’s what conforms to your right wing beliefs.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Post Script–The BBC has more on Miliband’s plans on immigration–Apparently they are his way of obfuscating on the subject, in that if a company imports a skilled worker, presumably because there are none of that skill available here, said company is going to be punished by being forced to set up an apprenticeship it by no means necessarily wants. Unbelievable–Even in the unlikely event this balmy idea worked, the company would willy nilly end up with two workers of that skill. I used the word “command” above and I am beginning to understand better what a Command Economy might look like. Miliband is simply warped.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      In Germany they have the Unions negotiate minimum wage as all company boards have to be made up of employee representatives (usually union members). Companies are also required by law to have workers councils to ensure employees are protected. Odd how you only focused on the no “minimum wage part” ignored everything else that influences German wages.

      Also don’t expect people to work for less than minimum wage. As the old expression goes “pay peanuts, get monkeys”.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Uni, don’t forget the bosses old saying:-
        “Employ monkeys and end up with useless products none of our customers want to buy”

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          That is what you will get if you only pay peanuts and if you pay coconuts you will just get monkeys unable to open them. In the real world it depends on the type of work that has to be done. A top down management system with micro management by capos and their familars with a revolving door recruitment system is used to train and tame the monkeys to do the tasks.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        As usual Uanime5 you are wrong.

        1) Collective bargaining by workers councils or unions ONLY happens in large corporations.

        2) There is a workers/management board the main board is under no obligation to have worker representatives.

        If you really want to know all the German laws that influence wages I’m more than happy to discuss. You see they don’t have the high level of taxes we have, they don’t have anti job taxes and they are far more flexible to encourage employers.

        You are right about paying peanuts which is why the minimum wage is such a disaster for workers

        • uanime5
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          1) Any company that has more than 5 employees has to have a workers council.

          2) The law in Germany requires half of the board of directors to be contain employees representatives.

          3) Given that Germany raises more tax revenue as a percentage of GDP than the UK it’s clear they do have higher taxes.

          4) German employment laws are far less flexible than the UK’s laws.

          Given that you seem to know nothing about Germans laws there’s no point discussing it with you.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        By the way id you see that the Dutch have announced they are scraping the welfare state and state benefits…. Interesting

        http://www.euronews.com/2013/09/18/dutch-king-declares-end-of-the-welfare-state/

        • Bazman
          Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

          From a King. What will replace it here? Nothing? The poor will presumably just lie down and take it as they would here? Your sickening right wing fantasy would be replaced by a police state. What is interesting is the threatened 10 year sentence for benefit fraud as billions goes unclaimed it is more expensive dogma that will not apply to swindling MP’s and tax evaders. More small minded meanness it seems alas, how absurd and pointless…Ram it.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Well Cameron and Osborne are full of hypocrisy on this issue as many others. They run, in the UK with the non dom tax rules, one of the best tax havens going – but only for non doms. This while complaining about morally repugnant tax avoidance and complaining about other regimes with sensible tax laws. Then they foolishly rat on their £1M IHT threshold promises for UK people.

    Tax is something clearly needed to pay for some public services about £10,000 per person is currently spent (mainly wasted) so why on earth do some have to pay £1M a year in tax. The reason is the state sector and politicians like taking our money to try to buy votes, to waste on themselves and their friends, to grant the state sector large wages and pensions and to waste by building half witted grand projects like HS2, manned space exploration, the EU, pointless wars, fake green energy subsidy and the Olympics.

    The fact that someone is rich is usually a fairly good indication that they are hard working and make sensible investments, that is usually why they are rich in the first place. Taking money off them and giving it to incompetent and often corrupt governments is the last thing we should do.

    The truly “morally repugnant” activity is over taxing people and then pissing the proceeds down the drain on HS2, PV, wind farms, train and energy subsidies, pointless wars, the EU, the PIGIS, poorly thought out bank rescues and the mad global warming exaggeration religion. Just as the coalition do in spades.

    £10M plus of assets is perhaps comfortable for a family – but hardly rich, the more rich we have the more wealthy most people will become. If you pay people to be feckless and rob the feckless you will naturally get fewer rich and more feckless. Let them keep the money and invest it wisely, as they usually will do. Governments general rob or destroy wealth not generate it as we see with Cameron and Osborne. They are “BBC think” soft in the head socialist at heart alas.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Our resident apparatchik in full RWC rant. Where do I start. Six quid minimum wage is to much, but £10000000 is not much…? The rich have usually got there money by hard work? It’s not worth going there with this fool, but what needs defending is this idea that a few wealthy people the “producers” hand everything down to the rest of us “the parasites” is fundamentally at odds with the concept of democracy. In a democracy we all have an equal voice and an equal stake in how our society and our economy does. We do not “depend” on the good graces of a favoured few for our livelihoods. We all are supposed to have an equal opportunity, and equal rights. And there are things we are all entitled to — “entitlements” that we get just because we were born here. But we all share in the responsibility to cover the costs of democracy with the rich having a greater responsibility than the rest of us because they receive the most benefit from it. This is why we have “progressive taxes” where the rates are supposed to go up as the income does.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        bazman

        Stop talking drivel and engage your brain.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:26 am | Permalink

          Is this anti academic comment liberal or just thick. You have no answer to the above do you?

          • libertarian
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            Baz

            I’ve answered your dribbly ravings so many times with links to evidence that its boring keep trying to educate you.

            Less than 3% of the workforce are on minimum wage.

            If you dont think the rich got their money by hard work where do you think it came from?

            If its so easy to start and run a business please tell us about the ones you have started and run.

            Normally the wealthy receive FAR FAR less in benefits and services from the state whilst paying for the bulk of it.

            However using your logic the average UK wage is £26500 per annum that puts the average worker in the top 7% of earners in the world, so you are saying that you should pay more to the state I guess being as you are part of the worlds rich elite

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            If you don’t think the rich got their money by hard work where do you think it came from? LOL You seriously believe this? Most of the rich inherit it and as for rich Russians well..Many where in the right place at the right time and the gangsters have bigger problems than us. Much bigger! As for only three percent on NMW another fantasy as 20% of the workforce earn less than the living wage according to the Resolution Foundation 26k is an average. The problem with averages is that the average is pushed up by large numbers.
            There are no poor in Britain is your main argument and you hope to eliminate poverty with this argument. Same old.
            You receive structure and education and protection far more than the average person pay into. Silly right wing ideas and chuntering as per. Ram it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        The rich get very few public services they tend to use private schools, hospitals and long terms care – how on earth do you work out that “they receive the most benefit from it.”

        I am all in favour of equality of opportunity where possible (but clearly some people are always going to be luckier than others in health, parents, education, intelligence, motivation, beauty ………) but enforced equality of outcome and the left’s politics of envy are clearly evil.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Err?! Have a think how they got this wealth in many cases. From infrastructure and education in this country and institutions that protect this wealth. Why do you think rich Russians like this country? It it because of political stability again from taxes and infrastructure. This idea that they use private schools is also wrong the schools exist because of the state. The envy is more often than not the wealthy looking at the very rich and somehow feeling hard done by and questioning why the rich should just get more and more for having more and no other reason is not envy and looking for enforced equality of outcome. Is this what it is in third world countries where a small elite own everything the rest have no running water? Just envy? Have a ‘think’. You might learn something, but I doubt it.

    • Hope
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Do not forget Cameron and Osborne have overseen over 300 tax rises and no significant cuts. Where is the 80/20 split we were promised? And now they are going to give free meals to every child under 7 years. Children from deprived backgrounds already receive free meals and a £700 premium to boost their education- including the mass of immigrants who cannot speak English. Reported in the papers yesterday that a state funded Muslim school is requiring girls to sit at the back of the class and wear veils!! Stop wasting my money etc.

      Perhaps the biggest tragedy (cut) is defence where slowly but surely Cameron will make the UK become dependent on the EU and by building the EU defence force.

      Reply The UK under Mr C is against joining an EU defence force.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        To reply: with his words or his actual actions?

  3. matthu
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “In opposition it is tempting for Labour to say they will spend more of our money by taxing the rich more. They need to remember that the best way to get more money out of the rich for public services is to keep the rates down, not to frighten off the mobile rich by putting them up.”

    Unfortunately successive governments have failed to take into account increasing levels of green subsidy which are not being accounted for as taxation because they are being collected through our energy bills and through the energy bills of companies which are subsequently collected from consumers through higher prices.

    Instead of (or as well as) the rich leaving we now have whole industries leaving the country. We have job sectors disappearing. And we have mobile people with readily transferable skills decamping.

    The only things we retain are quangos, public employees, EU employees. And of course we attract lefty green supporters and renewable electricity generators who all live off the government teat and lobby the government to guarantee prices up to six times the current price of electricity.

    There’e no need to tax the rich disproportionately when you can tax the general population and hide what you are doing.

    Ever wondered why your energy supplier may not legally identify how much you are being stung for green subsidies? Because there would be rioting on the streets.

    Well, that moment may be closer than we think, because green subsidies are going to be increasing so rapidly that soon it will be impossible to conceal them.

    And none of LibLabCon stand to benefit.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Politics in not about telling people the truth, it is about telling them what they want to hear. There are more poor than rich, more tenants than landlords and more employees than workers. Politician will thus always knock and over regulate landlords, the rich and big business & employers it is entirely counter productive – the politics of envy at it worse. It destroys wealth, growth, the provision of housing, and jobs. It makes people bitter and envious rather than doing something to help themselves for a change. We expect this of the left by we now have it from most of the Coalition and leadership of Tories.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Chris Grayling in the telegraph today.

      He says that the Opposition and his party’s Coalition partners will drive “wealth creators” out of Britain. He declares, in contrast, that taxing the drivers of economic growth is a “red line” for the Conservatives.

      Oh sure! But the Coalition is on course for 300 tax increases this parliament. Further attacks on private sector pensions, no increase in thresholds, 40% starting at far too low thresholds, loss of allowances …………… it is endless and far too complex to boot.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      They are there to be exploited then as this implies and by letting themselves be exploited will then provide themselves with jobs and housing? You actually believe this.The events in recent years should tell you by logic that the rich have got richer and the middle ever more squeezed. This in some way is not linked? Have you read my above post and apart from harrumphing what do you make of it assuming you are not to brainwashed as to be unable to read and understand it? No reply? Ram it

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    On Labour List yesterday was a really good statement of what Labour is really about.
    As far as I could understand it is this:

    Mateship. The working class stick together as mates. The essence is that they support each other doing little things like helping when they can. They also take great pride in seeing that their mates’ families are OK too.
    I get the same picture from the Andy McNabb novel which I am reading. Soldiers stick up for each other. They watch each others’ backs.
    It is a really noble ideal which Mr Cameron used in the last election. Except that, for old Etonians, it really does mean something rather different, don’t you think?

    The problem, of course, is the people who are not your mates – “Toffs”. (words left out ed)”The Rich”. “Immigrants”. “The Bosses”. “Wimmin”. “The Tories”.
    They are there to be exploited as the enemy.

    Which is why I am not a Labour supporter. But it seems to work very well in Australia.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Mateship? It’s more about keeping everyone in their place than what you say. Making sure they never escape their box in effect by getting ideas above their station. The only thing that sucks more than success, for the working classes, is personal success. Can’t read and learn to would not be hailed as a great thing any more than winning the lottery would be. Middle class romance of the worker.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “Mateship” – an unlikely synonym of comradeship, the bond that binds the comrades together under the leadership of the nomenklatura. All together now, “The people’s flag is deepest red…”

      • Bazman
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

        A bit like the middle class social security system then. Are you going to laughably tell us it does not exist?

    • Wireworm
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 2:07 am | Permalink

      So all we need is the ‘mate state’ – perhaps an election slogan for Ed Miliband, should he need one.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I do however dislike some of the rich – the ones who have perhaps made their money by corrupt contracts with the state sector, the BBC staff who drip the nation with socialism and quack greenery for years and then get a £10M pension pots. Perhaps also the 4000% APR payday loan purveyors of misery. These should clearly be regulated out of business but no action from Cameron for some reason. The incompetent at the top of the state sector – in MOD procurement for example.

    Also the many people, like Fred Goodwin, who destroyed shareholders wealth and their companies while enriching themselves personally. The law need to give shareholders more control over directors and their remuneration.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, basically those who never take legal risks with their own money and those who rely on schmoozing politicians rather than having any innate ability. These are the real undeserving rich. Includes certain bank, union, BBC bosses.

      Strangely missing from the original post.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Indeed

      • Edward2
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you Joe.
        They can all neatly be called “The Salariat”
        Those who make a very good, no risk living, from the generosity of the State.
        As Bazman would wittily say “Communism for the rich”

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Employers and landlords exploiting a low wage low rights and shortage of accommodation for their own ends like those purveyors of misery pay day loan companies? If not then why not? No reply as you have none as an apologist for those you support.

  7. Gary
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I have no problems with entrepeneurs getting rich. I do have a problem with executives of govt subsidized corporations getting rich. The pharmaceutical execs profits are subsidized by the monopolies they enjoy from tax funded healthcare. The railway execs are also tax subsidized, as are the construction company execs, the energy companies, insurance etc. But the biggest welfare scroungers of them all are the banksters. They would all be sleeping under Waterloo bridge if it weren’t for the eye watering bailouts that they still receive, much of which goes as bonuses straight into their pockets.

    There are barely any risk taking entrepeneurs in sight. The economy is rotten with the subsidized rich and the sooner they are flushed away, or taxed away, the better.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Is that a piece of cardboard flying over Paris at night Gary?

    • forthurst
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      So many on the public teat do not create added value and would have no capacity to do so. By being wealthy without adding value, they are simply leeching money from those that do.

      It would be interesting to analyse those young English people who are heading for the exit in terms of their skill sets compared to their peer group; my suspicion would be that they are more technically skillled, less inclined to infest organisations like the BBC and other quangos where lack of skill, imagination and leadership is no bar to success. Replacing those that we are losing with those whose wealth is of dubious provenance buying football clubs, will leave us all the poorer in every sense.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      That’s as maybe Gary but as soon as you “flush away” the corporatists via tax you also flush away the entrepreneurs, SME owners, self employed etc etc. So I would suggest excessive income tax levels above 40 % are a big no no to economic growth and development

    • uanime5
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Pharmaceutical companies only have a monopoly for about 5 years, then any company can make these drugs. As a result NICE often delays authorising a drug until cheaper generic drugs are available.

      • HERODOTUS
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Typical drug patent starts when drug is found to have potential & lasts for 20 years. Usually takes around 10 years to reach market & costs $1bn on average. Only small percentage last to reach market (approx 15%). Accelerated drug development programmes exist if there is an unmet clinical need.

  8. lifelogic
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I also rather dislike the rich who are rich by virtue of purveying the green exaggeration religion (and indeed most other religions) or through so called “lobbying” of politicians to make poor decisions or to subsidise daft things such as PV, wind farms, HS2 ……. Also all the politicians who go along with this nonsense. Which, looking at the voting on the climate change act, seems to be almost all of them.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Or nuclear and its absurd economics based on state insurance of a disaster or fatalistic belief there can’t be one.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I would say someone is rich if annually they earn in excess of £66K Have an endless expenses account including taxpayer funded second homes. A top draw pension scheme costing them next to nothing. Whilst at the same time demanding a huge rise in salary for their primary employment.
    Even though many have other paid employment, often several forms of additional employment.
    .

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      No axe to grind but that is a bit unfair.
      I think if MPs pension schemes were in line with those in the private sector they love to bash and regulate, the hypocrisy wouldn’t be so nasty. To get a real taste of that abject hypocrisy, listen to Clegg’s conference speech….

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Indeed the real divide is between the average private sector pension (if they even have one) and the public sector ones. These average 6-10 times the size. MP need to tackle this urgently and to do this without appearing to be complete hypocrites, they surely need to address their hugely over generous scheme first. Why should people with pension less than 1/6 of state sector pensions pay tax in order for state sector employees (often doing nothing of much real genuine benefit) to retire in relative luxury?

        I am also not so keen on the rich lawyers who got rich of the back of the incompetent NHS, daft employment laws, the Human Rights act or the no win no fee absurdities.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

          Or employers who have got rich on the backs of the state and low wages whilst not paying the correct tolls for the use of these resources. Are you able to understand this?

          • libertarian
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            “Or employers who have got rich on the backs of the state and low wages whilst not paying the correct tolls for the use of these resources. Are you able to understand this?”

            Provide some evidence for this.

            Is this all employers? Who are the employers paying the lowest wages? How many of them are there.

            Just spouting socialist piffle isn’t an argument you just make yourself look stupid and ignorant as anyone with access to google can instantly prove you wrong

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Various companies the most famous grilled by the House of Commons – Public Accounts Committee.

  10. alan
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Since we all work hard to make money in the hope that we will have more money than sense, it seems perverse to criticise those who succeed in this ambition.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    JR : ” Labour would be wise not to bash the rich. …….Conservatives have to look after the poor” and neither of you, nor your other triplet in Westminster, gives a fig about the majority in the middle, other than to bleed them for every penny.

  12. Martin
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Of course if you or any of your colleagues lose your seat and become unemployed you will find that the definition of rich for council tax benefit is savings of £16k (which produces an income of about £200 which means you have to pay full council tax!).

    So therefore by applying laws that you all have passed the Headmaster is super rich!

  13. Bryan
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Labour and Libdem politicians (and Union bosses) have never understood that local economies depend on these so-called ‘rich’ to use the goods and services and employ local artisans etc to do tasks for them.

    Reduce their after tax spend and a fragile system suffers.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      The trickle down effect has largely been discredited.

      • Nash Point
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Who by? My business relies very much on the “trickle down effect”. The fact you say it has been discredited tells me for sure that it hasn’t.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:17 am | Permalink

          Lots of regular people having money to spend is what creates jobs and businesses. That is the basic idea of demand-side economics and it works. In a consumer-driven economy designed to serve people, avarage people with money in their pockets is what keeps everything going. And the equal opportunity of democracy with its reinvestment in infrastructure and education and the other fruits of democracy is fundamental to keeping a demand-side economy functioning.
          When all the money goes to a few at the top everything breaks down. Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going.

          • A different Simon
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Bazman ,

            I agree with what you say but am wary about taxing people heavily after the event .

            The previous govt was happy to turn a blind eye to outright undesirable activities being undertaken by the banks so long as it got it’s cut .

            It’s necessary to find out what generates such profits so if it is a desirable activity it can be promoted and if it’s not it can be discouraged .

            Your assessment is right – the basic problem is that the people at the top have an insatiable appetite for a bigger and bigger slice of the pie leaving ever less for the rest of us .

            In comparions the benefits bill and healthcare are a drop in the ocean .

            The Govt surely has an obligation to ensure that the essentials ; accommodation , food , energy , credit , pensions provision , healthcare remain within reach of every citizen .

      • libertarian
        Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        No it hasn’t , show one scrap of evidence that trickle down doesn’t work. If not then I suggest you Ram it and stop posting drivel

        • Bazman
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:11 am | Permalink

          The ever widening gap between rich and poor and the massive chasm in the middle across this country and the world is the clearest evidence of the plundering of the system by the rich. The destruction of the banking system at the expense of the many don’t forget is how many of the fortunes of the super rich have been made. Engage your right wing simplistic brain on that one.

          • libertarian
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Easy Bazman what you wrote is as normal drivel.

            The gap between rich and poor no more proves trickledown doesn’t work than the gap between a Ferrari and a Ford proves that people cant buy cars.

            The Socialist Labour Party gave our money to bankers.

            There is more wealth amongst sports stars than bankers

            There is more wealth amongst film/TV stars than bankers

            There is more wealth amongst musicians than bankers

            NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON in the UK lost money in a UK bank due to the banking crisis.

            You haven’t got a clue how wealth is created, who creates it and who has it.

            You are overcome with jealousy, you are deluded by tabloid headlines and totally incapable of thinking for yourself.

            The standard of living has risen and continued to rise in the UK decade after decade after decade. The average wage has risen the average disposable income has risen, everything has got better for everyone due to the trickle down effect.

            Meanwhile every single person in Britain has the right to free education & health care. Everyone has an equal right to start a business and create wealth for themselves and society at large. Strangely the people that bang on about other peoples wealth are the ones such as yourself Bazman who have never bothered to try and do it for themselves despite all the opportunities for them to do so.

            Even in Communist Russian in 1920 ( 10th Soviet) Lenin was forced to enact a regulation allowing free market capitalism in certain areas as without it the Soviet state was collapsing. Socialism doesn’t work without capitalism underpinning it.

            The wealth creators, job creators high tax payers of society are the real heroes, meanwhile people like you who tell everyone else how to do it but can’t do it yourself are a drain and steal resources from people who genuinely need our help

          • Bazman
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Ah the Ritz argument combined with the horses and sparrows theory. Yeah right. Not one person lost money due to the economic crisis. Lost jobs, business, houses etc? What planet are you on? Planet apologist it seems..Ramming it again I suppose..Ho Hum.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian

            Since 2010 the average wage fell by 5.5%. So your claim that the average wage keeps rising is clearly false.

            The increase in social inequality also shows that the trickle-down effect isn’t working

        • A different Simon
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Bazman is right Libertarian ,

          It’s been trickle up from the people in the middle to the people at the top via the people at the bottom for quite some time .

          That is why taxes are mainly on income rather than monopolies such as land and why the people in the middle are taxed so hard .

          Crassus established the priciple in ancient Rome by becoming a major landlord and forcing the middle class to pay the poor a dole so they could afford his rents .

          We need the powerful in Government and the financial services industry to have real contact with ordinary folk and visit their homes and see their children so they feel empathy with them otherwise the poor will continue to be treated with indifference verging on contempt .

    • uanime5
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Actually local economies depend more on selling things to the average person, rather than one super rich person. So a higher minimum wage will benefit local economies far more than giving the wealthy tax cuts.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Actually Uanime5 it wont.

        Yes more volume is sold to the average person. Wage costs are a huge factor in business. If you increase wages you increase costs which increases the price paid by the consumer which results in the average person being no better off. Whereas if you cut taxes it has no detrimental affect on prices ( unless you cut VAT which then lowers price) it puts more money into peoples pockets which enables them to spend more which creates growth and therefore jobs and higher earning potential. Lower taxes mean that the wages currently earned increase as you give away less of what you are earning

        By the way this obsession with one super rich person is nonsense. There is a sliding scale of income levels and different areas of wealth. Less than 3% of people earn minimum wage and 1% of people earn £1m plus per year so focusing on those two groups is pointless.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          TED Talk: Nick Hanauer “Rich people don’t create jobs” As he says he can only drive one car…Pretty simple to understand. Even for you. But understand this. Your church is wrong!

        • uanime5
          Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          You seem to have ignored that tax cuts only put more money in the pockets of the wealthy because the poor pay very little in taxes. Reducing the 50% tax rate didn’t give more money to 99% of the population.

          Given that millions of people earn minimum wage or less it’s clear that you’ve just made up this 3% figure because you can’t be bothered to actually research it.

          Reply HIgher earners spend the tax saving and that generates income for others.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            What evidence do you have for this trickle down John. Maybe they just stash it in the bank with the rest?

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          Often their wages are so low they pay little tax and hence the need for the pay to be brought up to liveable levels via the tax credit and benefits system. You assume wages are set by the market. In many cases such as supermarkets they set the rate not the market and how do you square off large profits and low wages in some companies with the state in effect subsidising the company concerned via the benefits system? What to do higher wages or subsidies? Low wages and no subsidies to living costs? Got to be one of these. Only 3% earn minimum wage and the levels of pay at the top have no effect? You are dreaming.

  14. APL
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    JR: “That makes the Headteacher and some Deputy Heads rich. …..”

    Let us not forget the folk who have been running the country (into the ground), it makes our politicians rich too.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The Labour Party hope that by targeting the so-called “rich” they will win the next election ; they will not . The next election will be won on “Europe” – nothing else . Not very long ago the push was to get “worker representatives” on the Boards of all companies – this approach was dealt with effectively by the CBI’s initiative led by a close friend of mine and got no further . Efforts have been made by Socialists at various times in the past to focus on “class” divide of one sort or another , none have ever succeeded , revolutions have occurred with the same inspiration – none have endured . Common sense and human nature will always allow the successful to thrive , to pull along the weak and so maintain a society of relative balance ; this approach should be encouraged to continue and not in any way discouraged . Remember the slogan on the Golden Syrup can – ” Out of the strong came forth sweetness “.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      In Germany half of their company’s boards of directors is made up of worker representatives and they have some of the most successful companies in the world. Perhaps the UK should start giving employees more power, rather than letting companies run the company for the sole benefit of the management.

      Reply They also have management boards which make the main day to day decisions to run the company. The workers are on a general strategic board.

  16. Acorn
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I notice you don’t mention income inequality, and I am aware that Conservatives and Republicans think it is not a problem. ” … the main message is a grim one. Most of the growth is going to an extraordinarily small share of the population: 95% of the gains from the recovery have gone to the richest 1% of people, whose share of overall income is once again close to its highest level in a century. The most unequal country in the rich world [U.S.] is thus becoming even more so.

    The same is happening in the UK; east of here it created the fury that became the “Arab Spring”. “Figures from HM Revenue & Customs show there were 18,000 people earning £1m or more in the last tax year. Just two years ago there were only 10,000 in this income bracket. This is a significant increase on the 4,000 income millionaires recorded by the Revenue in the year 2000. […] These figures suggest that there is a growing disparity between the top earners – many of whom work in the financial sector – and the rest of society. Outside of these high earners many ordinary families are struggling with smaller incomes, as salaries have failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years, and fuel and food bills continue to rise. Wages in many traditional industries, such as manufacturing and construction, have fallen in recent years.” (Economist)

    A while back I wrote “Six to seven years before a crash the income share going to the top 1% will start rising, totalling a rise of about 6 – 7 percent on the eve of the crash. The GINI index will have risen to circa 0.75. That is 25% of total national income is going to the top 1%. This phenomenon has occurred before every financial crisis in the last hundred years, including the 2007 edition.

    Income inequality is quite a bit higher in the UK than most of the older advanced nations within the EU. For instance we have over 85% of the million plus earners in the total of EU financial services for instance. The UK GINI at 33% is just below Portugal, Spain and Greece (which tells you something), but considerably above the mean of the rest. Norway and Sweden are in the low twenties. Even Switzerland, also full of bankers, gets below thirty.

    A significant event happened last week in the US; it gave a jolt to the Conservative / Republican / Banking elite. “Americans are not about to string up the wealthy, but there is growing evidence of fury—witness the Democratic left’s vilification of Larry Summers, a progressive economist who this week felt compelled to withdraw his candidacy for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, largely because he was seen as too soft on Wall Street.” (Economist)

    The gentleman concerned is now considered to be one of the primary architects of financial deregulation, (repeal of Glass-Steagall Act) and the legalisation of financial products in the late nineties, that had been banned previously, because they were too dangerous to let loose in any market. A point that was subsequently proven in the 2007 crash in Wall Street and the City of London.

    Inequality is a big problem and getting bigger. I suspect today’s young un-and-under employed will demand a better deal and hit the streets to get it. I think they will see Conservative and Republican politicians and their big corporate sponsors, as part of the problem, not part of the solution. I genuinely feel this is not going to end well.

    Reply Income inequality can be accepted where the average income is at a decent level and where the poorest are helped. I would far rather be in the UK with higher income inequality than in North Korea, with low income inequality.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    The house next door has just been put on the market for £900,000 and ours is similar, so it seems that I am likely to fall into Labour’s idea of being rich, as we are probably worth over £ 1M. But am I? My pension just meets our day to day living costs with a bit to spare, but any major expenses, such as house repairs or a decent holiday has to come out of our savings. I hope my car will last as long as I can drive, otherwise I will have problems.
    I would have liked to have downsized when I retired, but as we wanted to remain in the same area near our family, we would have lost money on the deal due to the moving costs, not the least of which being the stamp duty. So we stayed where we are and survive in reasonable comfort, but are certainly not rich.
    Nevertheless, it is people like us, in the middle, who suffer under both Labour and Tory governments, we’re not rich enough to have off-shore assets and pay clever accountants to hide our money, or poor enough to get benefits other than the state pension. So I’ve nothing to loose by voting UKIP, they couldn’t make things worse.

  18. John B
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I know that most of the population don’t, but do any politicians know what ‘wealth’ is and the difference between it and ‘money’, a token of exchange, and that ‘wealth’ and ‘money’ are not synonymous?

    Do they know that someone given £10 million but not allowed to spend or in anyway use it is not wealthy?

    Do they know that a person ‘worth’ £10 million is not (usually) sitting on a pile of cash, but their wealth is in assets whose value can change or even disappear altogether?

    Do they understand, more importantly, that ‘wealth’ is what is invested in markets and banks which finances the businesses which produce the goods and services that make everyone richer (and provide jobs) and transferring that wealth in whole or part to Government takes it out of investment to the detriment of all?

    No?

    I thought not.

  19. outsider
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    In a godless world, the majority are virtually bound to resent “the rich” as a group. The only alternative is to acknowledge them as a superior alpha class, which is against our nature.
    The pejorative “filthy”, like word-of-the-week slut, is one of those ambiguous English terms that has acquired alternative meanings by mixing older words together. As applied to the rich or to lucre, it seems to combine “foul” with that wonderful old word “fell”, meaning villainous. So, as you suggest, it implies ill-gotten rather than unwashed.
    In healthier times, we used to ask the question “how did he make his first million” before deciding if the rich were filthy or to be respected.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The thing is many do not deserve to be rich having acquired their money by distasteful ways and then these types due to their collection of the brassy stuff are put in a position of power where their corruption is perpetuated. Money in itself is not ‘evil’ or ‘dirty’ , but the way it is sometimes used and the types who abuse their power because of it can be unsavoury yet we do need that power and it is business ethics which should infiltrate the bigger concerns in particular, but hey! £50.000 , many gamblers and travellers earn that in a few months.

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    On the other hand large corporates making significant profits in the UK but structured so that their tax liabilities occur in tax havens could really be tackled. This could be done quickly, I don’t but into Camerons spin that he is leading international negotiation on these issues.

    Also foreign nationals could be taxed as much as Brits quite easily, especially when they are on a UK payroll. I see no reason they are given 12 months free of national insurance, and allowed to claim accommodation and travel etc as expenses and therefore tax free in ways Brits working away from home within the UK cannot.

    And so on

  22. Neil craig
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    One of the rules of the Washington Consensus, which has had such a major role in bringing growth to the undeveloped countries, is that a serious after tax differential is needed if you are to stimulate entrepreneurialism.

    if such income differential is necessary to growth then the choice is between – the rich beinga lot poorer and the poor being poorer to or – the rich being a lot richer and the poor being richer too. It takes a hate filled political philosophy to prefer keeping everybody poorer if it means clobbering the rich yet this is the socialism the LudDims and Labour are agreed on.

    It is also a position the Tories have been “moderate” in opposing. If the Tories aren’t willing to stand tall in saying that they want low taxes on the rich because they want a fast growing economy – and their opponents on the left actively don’t, then who will? Actually UKIP will.

    Note, however, that there is an enormous difference between those who are rich because of the free market who, as you point out, even in the case of footballers, have much popular support, and those who are rich by feeding at the government teat, such as quangoists, windmill owners, consultants who get £25K for giving courts expert opinions about putting children in “care” without ever seeing the and others on favoured contracts. Such parasites do not increase national wealth, quite the contrary, & many of them were given their jobs by Labour & should not be keeping them under the Tories.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      In the UK income inequality has been increasing for decades, so the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. So your claim that income differential makes the poor richer is clear wrong.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Are you therefore also claiming that the standard of living for the majority in Europe and the UK in particular, has fallen in the last few decades Uni?
        Plainly it has not fallen.
        Have a look at the figures and come back to us.

  23. David Price
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    A definition of rich that struck me as being much closer to the mark was to be able to live comfortably off the interest generated by the interst on your capital. In that sense £10m as suggested by Lifelogic is much closer to the mark than merely £1m. It would at last provide some buffer against inflation.

    In any case “richness” is relative and compared to many countries we compete with our poorest appear to be incredibly rich compared to people in those countries.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Its like comparing life in the 15th century with life now. Do tell us fanatasists how our poor could live on less than £500 a month in this country? How would they pay rent and eat if they had an income either in state benefits/rent/work of less than this? As you see your comparison of poverty with other countries is not real.
      Of course if they all stopped smoking and buying i phones they could…Yeah right. 10 million quid is not much and a pensioner in a million pound house is poor? LOL!

      • David Price
        Posted September 25, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Pick a number, any number, just so long as it suits your warped dogma eh.

        I used an objective measure for “rich” that has been used to define “independently wealthy”.

        But to you it seems anyone who gets over £500 a month (which is less than NMW by the way) is rich or anyone who has saved and invested rather than pissing it away on consumer goods and holidays abroad is undeservedly rich. All you see is the results of what they strove for and like a good little socialist you condemn them for having something you don’t.

        Except you refuse to apply the same judgement to yourself.

        Compare the poor in this country with those in say Africa, South America, India even China. Do you see anyone here scrabbling on scrap heaps for food or what they can sell for food, living in shanty towns with no sanitation, no access to health support. We have to compete globally, you enjoy the benefits of global trade but seek to deny the costs.

        You chose to buy that Japanese TV or air conditioner, German car and French produce and wonder why people were put out of work in this country and have to take wage cuts. You voted for Labour and allowed them to import cheap labour which competed unfairly with yourself and your children.

        So really it is all your fault Bazman though you did have help from the unthinking consumer.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          As pointed out to you comparing life in the third world with life here is like comparing life in the middle ages with life now. You think that we could compete directly with the third world on living costs and standards of living. Why should the poor do this when this country is so wealthy? To help the rich…!?

          • David Price
            Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            If you refuse to recognise or even accept the problem you will not find the solution, no matter how many times to try your prefered solution which hasn’t worked.

            The people in this country are having to compete increasingly with people in those other countries – Russia and Eastern Europe, South America, India, China, soon Africa. You cannot avoid it so you have to adapt. Part of that adaption is learning to live differently and with less than you had before if necessary. The key is learning to compete effectively.

            The Labour way of null competition, university degrees for all and welfare dependency for those who won’t work hasn’t worked. Labour has significantly damaged our economy and way of life for everyone here. Complaining about the rich will not change things, or do you really think that chasing away all the rich and entreprenuerial will magically increase taxes and grow our economy?

            I have gone through redundancy, I am not suggesting you do anything I and others haven’t had to do.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            In one of the richest countries in the world the we will compete with the third world? Living like Russian peasants on the land growing and selling what we can to buy what we cannot make or grow or in a city earning less than £30 a month with the same or higher prices? How long would you last. Let me tell you as I have been to Russia once or twice and have deep knowledge of the place. About a week at the most.
            A race to the bottom that you could not even qualify for in a country run for the benefit of about a thousand people. We should have that here too?
            Ram it.

          • David Price
            Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            Gosh, youv’e been to Russia a couple of times and you think you are an expert in all things.

            I do grow some of my own food so I suspect I would last a lot longer than you if you truly practice the disdain for peasant labour you preach.

            Why should those who have less than you and those not willing to live off the state pay for your cheap food, foreign travel and air conditioned lifestyle?

  24. Credible
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    There are a section of the very rich that are disliked – and I can understand why. The bankers who have been bailed out by taxpayers and still got large bonuses and pensions, the rich executives of subsidised companies who get large bonuses, the inherited rich who think they have the right to run the country. Bosses who pay themselves more and more and pay the people who work for them less and less. Wealth collected from keeping house prices unaffordable for many working people. These people don’t create wealth, they suck it out of the economy, they stifle innovation and competition and new developments to maintain their own position. They are not the entrepreneurs we need. Many people are not ‘relaxed’ about footballers earning so much.

    It is not sustainable to have a society in which the disparity between the top and the majority keeps widening and widening. There has to be some social justice surely? There has to be a feeling of inclusion, not a feeling of exploitation, otherwise we will be left in system that claims to be capitalist but looks like Soviet communism.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      I have ruined the economy by trashing the banking system and are now doing wreckovation on my silly house in London. Get out of the way!

  25. Vanessa
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Politicians are very keen to appear to hate the rich and look after the poor. The trouble with that policy is that the rich can move when you tax them unfairly but the poor are stuck here, thus making Britain worse off still as real money is taken away from the economy.

    Politicians keep telling us to get a good education and do well then go to university so as to get a good job. But they then tell us that if we do really well and make a lot of money and become very successful the government will steal a higher and higher percentage of our “riches” to give to the poor – not a great incentive to work hard and do well.

    Most people who are successful (not footballers, etc.) use their money to set up companies, employ people and sell goods abroad to help this country’s economy. They also give a great deal to charities.

    What do the poor do to help this country and its economy ?

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      Politicians are very keen to appear to hate the rich and look after the poor? All evidence points to the opposite except in your dream world. Tax cuts for the rich and taxes living space for the poor. Still no comments on the bedroom TAX. I wonder why?!

  26. uanime5
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    In opposition it is tempting for Labour to say they will spend more of our money by taxing the rich more. They need to remember that the best way to get more money out of the rich for public services is to keep the rates down, not to frighten off the mobile rich by putting them up.

    Care to remind everyone how many of these “mobile rich” left when the 50% tax rate was introduced. It seems that they’re not as mobile as some people claim.

    Of course if the mobile rich have all gone then this means only the immobile rich remain, so there’s no danger of them being frightened off.

    Before embarking on a condemn the rich attack, it would be wise to ask who are the rich? Are they universally bad?

    Actually the only thing you really need to consider is will attacking the rich get you more votes overall. Given that there are more poor people than rich people I’d imagine that you will get more votes by attacking this minority.

    The Lib Dems laughingly said someone is rich if they earn more than £50,000 a year. That makes the Headteacher and some Deputy Heads rich. It makes many senior local government officers rich. It means all GPs, judges and senior quango executives are rich. It means many middle and all senior managers in business are rich.

    Earning £50,000 a year puts you in the top 10% of wage earners in the UK. You’re also earning nearly twice the average wage (£26,000). So yes you are rich when compared to the average person.

    Aspiration becomes less of an incentive if anyone succeeding is regarded as unpleasantly rich, an object of criticism and for higher taxation.

    Aspiration is also reduced when the majority of people who are rich came from a rich family, attended a public school, went to Oxford or Cambridge, and got where they are through [strike]nepotism[/strike] their connections. Until ordinary people see hard work as being rewarding, rather than the wealthy trying to maintain the status quo, aspiration will remain low and the wealthy will remain disliked.

    Reply Income Tax receipts from the rich fell at 50% and rose again at 45%. There was an exodus of some of the highest rewarded.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      John income tax fell because the wealthy deferred their taxes to avoid the 50% tax rate. Had Osborne not reduced it then the wealthy wouldn’t have deferred their bonuses for 3 years.

      Reply It mainly fell because a lot of very highly paid people left.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        Have you any evidence for this as well too John? Who and from which sectors? I didn’t notice any reduction in London property prices.

  27. Edward2
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    The big question is, how do you best improve the standard of living for everyone?
    The answer is not to reduce everyone to a similar level of equality of poverty through socialism, but to encourage all to improve themselves and then to pay some fair level of taxes.

    I do not begrudge the millions many self made business owners make and others like sports stars, music stars and successful writers.
    The top 1% of earners pay over 20% of all income tax. So we need more millionaires living here not less, if we want to reduce the burden of taxation falling on the majority.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Given that the top 1% have over 20% of the wealth if they only pay 20% of the taxes that means they’re not paying their fair share of taxes.

      Reply The top 1% of income earners pay 27% of the Income Tax

      • Bazman
        Posted September 26, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

        Usual Tory weasel words.
        The increase in the tax contribution by the top 1%, from 21% in 1997 to 26% now, means that their contribution is around 23% higher (or 28.5% if you go with the 27% current figure), relative to what they were paying in 1997. Either figure is far less than the increase of at least 60% (and probably considerably more) in their incomes.
        This means that the wealthiest are now paying substantially less toward our national upkeep than they were 15 years ago, relative to their wealth.
        Could I have a massive pay rise and a tax rise too as I am now earning about the same as in 1997 property prices have trebled and everything else has at least doubled.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16545898

    • Bazman
      Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Not by desperation and millions of part time zero hours jobs.

  28. wab
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    The funny thing about most rich people is that they claim they are not rich, because, hey, there is always someone who is richer, like Bill Gates.

    It’s not unreasonable to say that people in the top 10% of income (or wealth for that matter) are rich. It depends who you include in the count, but it looks like anyone earning 50k is earning more than 90% of taxpayers (and that excludes many people), according to wiki via the HMRC :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Thus it is not unreasonable to say that anyone earning 50k is “rich” even if they whine that they are not. If Mr Redwood insists, he could do a PPP comparison, but basically he is barking up the wrong tree.

    Of course it is totally daft for any political party to mention this inconvenient truth, because people who earn 50k do not consider themselves to be rich, as absurd as that might be.

    And notice how Mr Redwood in one paragraph goes from considering people who earn 50k to households which earn 50k. Perhaps Mr Redwood is an old school Tory and believes that women should stay at home. Otherwise he is being naughty with his prose.

    Over the last few decades the rich, especially the super rich (the 0.1%), have appropriated more and more of the income and wealth for themselves. Mr Redwood (and Mr Blair) might consider it jolly good that this has happened, but it is not.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      3x £50k (plus 1 wage and deposit) as was the mortgage eligibility calculation.

      Look at the type of house that can be bought for £200k in the South. In fact there isn’t anything that is decent without a long and expensive commute involved in the price.

      Wab says £50k rich ?

      As I outline later the take home isn’t that much above the benefit cap after pension contributions have been deducted.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        … and 40% tax paid.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Head teachers are on quit a bit more than 50k. That’s more like a head of department’s wages.

    After my pension is paid for my take home wages are (over the year) about 2k above the benefit cap recipient.

    “Ah. But you’ll be getting provision for old age.”

    So too will the benefit recipient.

    “You’d have to have lots of children to get the £26k tax free benefits.”

    And what if I wanted lots of children ? I’d be rather silly to work and take on the unsocial hours, responsibilities and liabilities that goes with it, wouldn’t I ?

    Remembering that this cap hasn’t yet been implemented and some benefit recipients have actually been on a lot more than I am.

    No. I am not rich. Yet the Govt has frozen my wages partly because it (and its supporting press) considers that I am ‘overpaid’.

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    “Conservatives should look after the poor.” Yes, but not at the expense of wrecking entire markets. The NHS, government intervention in the housing market and generous subsidies to the railways, are entirely unnecessary and counter productive. Subsidise individuals to some extent as long as they genuinely need it, but don’t make the economy inefficient.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      The economy was wrecked by the banking system not by payments and subsidises to the state infrastructure or welfare payments to the poor. Where do you get this idea from?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The economy was wrecked by a combination of recklessly loose money between 2001 and 2007, partly because the inflation index being targeted did not include house prices, and partly because Gordon Brown bailed out failed banks with taxpayers’ money. He should simply have sent administrators into RBS and Lloyds, told them to shut their doors for a week, undertake a fire sale of assets, and make full disclosure of all toxic assets. That way, shareholders would have copped the entire hit, not depositors and not taxpayers.

        George Osborne claimed that HM Government made a profit on the recent sale of 6% of Lloyds shares. The selling price was less than 2% more than the buying price, during a period when there was 15% inflation. Some profit!!

        • Bazman
          Posted September 24, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          This is not what you wrote in your fist comment implying that subsidies and welfare payments caused the crash. It was some sort of economic dogma blaming the poor for the downturn. Now you are saying something different.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted September 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            There’s a subtle difference between wrecking particular markets by unnecessary intervention and wrecking the entire economy by mismanaging the money supply and the fiscal deficit.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            Which was not caused by welfare payments or for that matter market intervention. In the case of banking, the opposite.
            Have another go…

  31. Bazman
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Your concern for pensioners in expensive houses is touching John. Maybe we could offer some sort of spare room rebate to them to help them stay in their homes?

    Reply No subsidies needed.

  32. Jon
    Posted September 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    The last thing Labour did was to tax the rich and it lost £7bn a year in tax revenue all to be made up by those who are not rich. Sounds like they are still of the same thinking ie to ultimately tax the low to middle income earners more which is what they did in power.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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