Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Why a tax on wealth would be fairer..

At the other end of my street and just around the corner lies a different world. A world of multi-millionaires. We see their spotless Range Rovers whisk demanding children in and out of school. We see houses so huge they need staff to maintain them. We see homes boarded up for more than half the year whilst they 'winter' in the Alps or 'summer' at some other exotic location - as if doing so were as normal as a hairdressing appointment to you and me. We live in a different world.

And among those mansions lies one which, at the moment, is covered in scaffolding. Where once there was a garden, a deep concrete hole with four feet of rain water now stands. The builders tell me it is the foundations for the new swimming pool being built in the basement.

We live in a different world and what makes that world so different, is that we pay taxes. You see, officially, a wife and her daughter live in this house. No husband, because he lives in Monaco. Except at weekends. Then he lives in London with his wife and daughter, flying back to manage a hedge fund for the working week. That way, he pays no income tax in this country. Only council tax and VAT. In fact, his staff will pay more tax than their multi-millionaire employer. Nice that. The tax he should be paying is being spent on a swimmimg pool. Just for him.

And on that council tax - the one tax that they do pay in this country - because the highest band starts at £320,000 (a rather modest price for a house in an inner London borough) and despite the fact that we live in a modest basement flat, we both of us pay the same amount in council tax. How fair is that.