DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER Nick Clegg insisted on Sunday that he would continue to back a "wealth tax" ahead of his party's annual conference in Brighton this week.
Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, the Liberal Democrat leader said he would not agree to more spending cuts unless the Conservatives agreed to some form of tax on the rich.
Clegg admitted that "so far I have failed" to persuade prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne to accept his arguments for a mansion tax that would levy a 1% charge on properties above a threshold of £2m.
"But the mansion tax is not the only way in which you can make people at the top make a fair contribution to this huge national effort of balancing the books," Clegg said.
"We have already illustrated through capital gains tax, through stamp duty, through tax avoidance and many other measures ... the top 10% pay more and we can do more of that."
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced an extra 100 officials will join HMRC's Affluence Unit, set up to combat tax avoidance by people with assets worth more than £2.5m. The unit's remit will also be expanded to encompass people with assets worth more than £1m.
For once I agree with Nick Clegg. In this respect it was interesting to read in Forbes two weeks ago that Bill Gates increased his wealth by $7 billion and that the 400 richest Americans increased their wealth by $1.7 trillion or 13% over the last 12-months, but where contrary to this 97% of the world’s population got poorer. The same is the case in the UK. Therefore it has to be asked if these Foundations that these people operate out of are really philanthropic at all and where all this giving is not really giving in the true sense of giving, but a way to increase their personal wealth without incurring any tax. It is debateable as the people behind these vast Foundations get richer every year. Indeed it could be construed that the formula is to create a Foundation so that the taxman cannot get his hands on any part of your wealth, then you reinvest these vast financial resources around the world through employing an array of investors to make as much additional wealth as possible. Nothing wrong in this but it could be seen as a very clever corporate tax dodge where the ultimate owners keep hold of their wealth and pay no tax on the earnings to government, and therefore there is no redistribute of wealth to the less fortunate in society – the vast majority of us. What appears to happen is that Gates and others give around 3% of their wealth (and no more) every year but where the 97%+ that they are left with makes far more billions for them, easily outstripping by far the mere 3% given. Therefore the wealthiest people are far better off financially and their families after them by creating these huge Foundations - little or no tax to pay and most is kept to reinvest to make these people even more richer than before. There is therefore an irony about this giving and philanthropy that is not as straight forward as it seems. In this respect there is more to it than meets the eye and where corporate minds are not programmed to be benevolent in the true sense of the meaning that normal people can understand – the 97% of the world’s populous that now control less than 30% of the world’s wealth. Indeed a mere 2,000 companies last year according to Forbes again, the ‘Global 2000’, controlled 51% of the world’s total economic turnover or $36 trillion in nominal terms. Therefore it appears also that those who run big business never let it go and that can be seen when they form these so-called vast philanthropic Foundations. But also it appears and where I have observed this over the years that these philanthropic multi-billionaires and their Foundations do not give to things that affect their ‘bottom-line’. In this respect I am aware of several examples that can rid the world of major global scourges, such as a cure for Class ‘A’ drugs, the stoppage of future killer pandemics such as avian flu and the vast reduction in HIV/AIDS cases through early testing of new infants. Why don’t they do this? You tell me, but where I believe it is down to financial investment considerations and where highly needed solutions for humanity are not entertained because the present products that try to treat these great diseases and human threats (which have little success) are required to be continually used and thereby continually reap the very high returns for the billionaires like Gates et al personally (through their Foundations of course). It is time therefore in Britain and the West for these people to help their nations who have given them their vast wealth to pay more taxes and their due share to society. Will it happen, probably not as it is as though they think that they can take it with them when they die and their life’s work is just creating personal wealth for themselves and not for a better society?
Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
United Kingdom - Switzerland
Posted by: Dr David Hill, 25 Sep 2012 | 22:19
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