The rich to give 10% of their wealth to the poor this Christmas

16 December 2011

A robin, in Sherwood Forest, yesterday

Ho ho ho. Tis the season to be jolly and spread goodwill to all men. Why then does no-one believe the above headline is true? OK. It isn't  true, but it would be if Stewart Lansley, author of  'The Cost of Inequality: Three Decades of the Super Rich' had his way.

It may be the title of his book. It may be that he writes for a website called ‘Left Foot Forward’, but all in all, I am getting a strong feeling that Mr. Lansley is not one of Dave’s best pals. In an incendiary, but might possibly be so mental it makes sense article, Lansley claims that Britain’s top 1,000 super-rich are sitting on fortunes that are collectively worth £250 billion more than in 2000. He also claims that corporate surpluses in the UK now stand at over £60 billion, around five per cent of the size of the economy.

Lansley’s plan is to use this money to kickstart the economy by transferring some of these surpluses to consumers and he is even claiming international approval for this idea. In a recent report entitled ‘Divided we Stand’, the OECD* has asked all nations to review their “tax systems to ensure that wealthier individuals contribute their fair share of the tax burden.” Lansley describes this as a ‘call to action’.

What he wants to do is levy a one-off emergency tax on company surpluses over a certain amount along with a wealth levy on the super-rich, quantified as those worth over £15 million. The money will then be doled out** to “all those in receipt of benefits”. He claims a “modest” tax of 10% would raise over £30 billion and would provide “rough justice” to those offering “squeals of outrage”.

While Lansley clearly sees himself as a modern day Robin Hood, and the idea of using some of the pots of cash sitting idly in some bank vault somewhere is quite attractive, particularly if it generates jobs and stimulates the economy, but is giving those on benefits a handy wedge going to do that? Wouldn’t they all just spend it on flat screen TVs and gold chains? And what about the people who work hard so they don’t need to claim benefits? Seems a bit unfair to penalise them for trying so hard?

Even assuming you could collect such a tax, where would the fair line be drawn between the haves and have nots. A nice idea, but lacking in substance perhaps? Bit like the Government really...

*Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Or something like that

** pun intended


  • Idi A.
    I don't see why more money should go to those who choose benefits as a career path and raise a cash crop of feral kids just for them to spend it on Sky and tattoos and Rizlas. What about tax breaks for those who contribute to society by working? And no, I'm not from the Daily Mail.
  • Pol P.
    I'm inclined to agree with the above, why should people earning more pay more tax to support those earning less? What do the rich get out of it for their money? Fuck all, except possibly burgled by the ferals from the local council estate whom they're already funding.
  • Tweedskin
    @Pol Pot I very much doubt that "Britain's top 1,000 super-rich" live anywhere near a council estate. And if they do, well they should spend that wealth on a proper burglar alarm. Or a shotgun.
  • Pol P.
    @tweedskin I would imagine that most of Britain's super rich have properties in London, and you'd be hard pushed to find an area in London without a local council estate. But anyway why should they have to buy deterrent? They pay money for a police force don't they?
  • Tim
    Redistributing the wealth doesn't help the economy, just keeps the poor in beer and fags without having to work. Top down. The wealthy invest, in finances, businesses, the economy basically. That in turn generates jobs, and generates tax income as the money filters down. Some hoard the money sure, but still bits drip out and small amounts of their money is still a lot of money. Tax them more, the money goes abroad instead and we all lose out. If you go further to pander to the "it's not fair" campaigners who want everyone to have an equal share in all the wealth, then just talk to China or former Soviets. They have experience with the solution and it's called communism.
  • maxtweenie
    Why don't they just buy £30 billion of Special Brew and crack cocaine, and give that away instead. At least the dossers would get some enjoyment out of the hand out.
  • Raggedy
    Give it to those on benefits? Thereby encouraging them to stay on benefits? Much better to let the Government rake in the tax from the super rich and use it to either drop VAT or cut taxes for the hard working general public. Though that's never going to happen is it?
  • Tom
    We are talking about money which no one uses or needs, it is just amassed because it can be. I don't agree with giving it to people without jobs who could get a job if they tried however if money was injected into the system somewhere it would benefit everyone. You say people would go out any buy tv and gold chains but this helps the economy, you need to learn a bit more about economics before making such wide assumptions. Maybe it should be given to the government so they can reduce VAT.
  • callum
    Raggedy - Of course it's never going to happen. The "super rich" couldn't care less about the "average", just like the "average" couldn't care less about the poor. As demonstrated by ALL the "it's not fair, redistribute your money to us less wealthy" rants being aimed at the super rich, while the very people making those rants do virtually nothing to help those living in poverty below them. The definition of greed really...
  • andy y.
    This is just the politics of envy.
  • Raggedy
    Callum - the difference being of course that the super rich have vast amounts of spare money doing nothing (apart from earning interest) while the general person in the street is probably living off their overdraft and would love to be able to help those living in poverty.
  • doober
    I already give more than 10% to the layabouts out of my wages every month, does this mean i am going to get a rebate?
  • Kaleb
    What's Andy Wedge got to do with all this!
  • Dick
    I'm fairly average and couldn't give a fuck about those living in poverty. It is their fault they are poor. If such a tax was raised, it should go on, as someone has suggested above, reducing VAT - something that would help kickstart spending and the economy. Nobody benefits at all from a VAT reduction unless you spend something.
  • Businessman
    As it happens I *am* super-rich and tired of you plebs whining all the time. Get back in your stupid life-wasting jobs at Crap4U and think yourself lucky we're not sending you up chimneys any more. I'd have the lot of you horsewhipped on the steps of my club.
  • Entrepreneur
    Great idea! Horsewhipping the poor on the steps of a club! Fantastic opportunity for me to sell tickets and record the event and channel it out through Pay Per View. Now if only they'd let me video the Government shafting the average tax player, I'd make a killing!
  • Samantha
    Rather than specifying people on benefits, why not simply people on a low income or below the poverty line, that would likely include a majority of those on benefits, but also not penalise those hardworking people who barely make ends meet. Point of the reason for giving it to the poorest people tho, is that the whole 'trickle down' thing is utter bollocks, people who are poor and usually in debt, and even if not they certainly wouldn't be able to afford to save it, it would get spent and that way you know the money is being injected into the economy, where it would eventually work it's way back up to the top anyhow.
  • Businessman
    Mr Entrepreneur I like the cut of your jib. To the rest of you Fuck Off you are not having any of my money it is mine all mine and I like fondling it.
  • A M.
    Why should I give any of MY money from MY business that I spent YEARS building into a multi million pound business, whilst working on average, 10-12 hour days and living off £0.09 supermarket noodles whilst the business was breaking even for 5 years before it started to turn a profit? If you don't like being poor, save up some money, get a business plan together and be prepared to take risks and work hard for a very long time. Rhajeed the drugs Baron.
  • Bob
    What a load of crap. Hell if they increase my tax above 50% it is at the moment I am emigrating and leaving the chavs to pick up the bill.
  • PB
    Most people are just about keeping up with their bills, if we gave away 10% we would be knackered, prices have outstripped wage rises for years, that's why some people just give up as you can't get anywhere working for an employer, whom are only concerned with lining their own pockets higher up the food chain, whilst we have pay freezes or 1% wage rises, higher up in company's they have continued to awarded themselves another half of their income every year after year.

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