The politics of envy

Some years ago I was appointed Chair of Governors at a local school.

“The problem I have” I confided in my daughter, a seriously well qualified educationalist “is that I know nothing about current schooling.”

“You should read ‘All Must Have Prizes’ by Melanie Philips” she told me.

I did and in doing so discovered the now distinguished ‘Daily Mail’ columnist. I read her work twice and believe I became a better leader of that board because of her brilliance in describing modern education, its flaws and its weaknesses.

This week Melanie Philips (“MP”) penned an article headed ‘This isn’t just the politics of envy, Mr. Clegg. It’s a war on Britain’s whole economic future.’

I wondered: “Is this a war on Enterprise Britain?”

MP thinks that the Coalition is being held to ransom by the Lib-Dems. She focused on more taxes for the top earners and the formation by the Inland Revenue of tax avoidance squads (Affluent Units) with draconian powers to target those worth over one million pounds. MP wrote that

This is simply oppressive, offensive and utterly indefensible

There are further wealth taxes proposed for those earning over £50,000. In a key section MP wrote that

The Lib-Dems appear to be suggesting that all tax avoidance is wrong

MP concludes by saying that a war of affluence is a war on prosperity and on Britain’s future.

At the heart of her argument is the issue that should worry us all. It is going to take years, if ever, to balance the books and the current policy of cutting expenditure is not working. As Ed Miliband is saying: any savings are being absorbed by higher unemployment benefit payments.

The ONLY answer is to increase earnings. The only way to achieve that is to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and let people make money. The UK corporate tax rates are competitive. Entrepreneur’s tax relief (10% of gains when selling a business if you own more than 5%) is excellent. But income tax is too high. Capital gains tax is too high.

What is also missing is an enthusiasm at the top of Government. The PM, deputy PM and the Chancellor are too busy playing the blame game and following politics of envy.

They should be applauding Britain’s hard pressed entrepreneurs and encouraging the creation of wealth.

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