Sunday, 9 December 2012
Many have tried and failed in Dragons Den: George Osborne is one of them.
From April next year those earning more than £1 million per year will on average benefit by £107,000. So, how has this become possible in an age of austerity? How is it that the most wealthy should be considered free from the impact of austerity? Clearly we are not all in this together.
As I argued in a previous post, we reward certain types of success more than others. We tend to equate the accumulation of individual wealth with success. How much we admire the wealthy entrepreneur; they create jobs and growth in the economy and thus we all benefit from their success. Thus, the argument runs, taxing them puts this at risk. They may take their investments and entrepreneurial skill elsewhere. This provides them with a wedge against taxation; a kind of ransom. Tax us and face the consequences.
And so we have ended up with a kind of 'opt in' strategy dependent on their beneficence. But need this be so? Certainly not all successful, wealthy entrepreneurs feel this way about tax.
I wondered how Osborne would fare in the Dragon's Den. Would they invest in him or would they say 'I'm out!' Here is the verdict.
When asked about tax in an interview for the New Statesman last year, Dragons' Den's Deborah Meaden replied: "I have no problem paying taxes. It doesn't bother me, because I want to live in a society that's happy. My worry is [governments] don't spend the money correctly."
How refreshing this is. I can imagine her 'drilling down the figures' with the Chancellor! (I'm out). But what of other Dragons?
No doubt most of us recall the mega bust up between Duncan Bannatyne and James Kahn over the latter's non domicile residence and tax avoidance. Duncan Bannatyne reinforced his position on paying taxes telling Business Matters:
"As I pay UK tax on all of the earnings that fund my lifestyle, and corporation tax on all of the profits made by my businesses which employ 3421 people, I am clearly at an unfair disadvantage if someone enters my business sector with a non-dom management structure as they will be operating from a far lower cost base."
Sorting out tax avoidance should be a priority for the government in supporting those like Duncan Bannatyne investing in growth in the UK. (I'm out!)
And what of Dragon Peter Jones? Speaking last year about the cut in top rate tax from 50p to 45p he said:
"As a high-rate tax payer, I'm disappointed. I would have like to have seen that 5p go to support young people in this country." Furthermore he said other high earners feel the same. (I'm out!)
So what about Theo Paphitis? Any joy for Osborne here?
He told the Daily Mirror: "It's easy to cut costs, any halfwit can do that. But they've not stimulated the economy, or jobs, or growth." (I'm out!)
Of course I can't speak for the Dragons. But would Osborne succeed in the Den? I'll leave the verdict to Theo Paphitis:
"If George did a pitch to me, I think he'd probably fail."
Many have tried and failed in the Den: George Osborne is one of them.