My Column

We're all the poorer with top tax rate

  • Date: Monday 12th October 2009
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At the Conservative party conference we were treated to some interesting pledges for the future of entrepreneurism and small businesses.

The Tories want to make Britain the easiest place in the world to set up and grow a business and will offer help with staffing costs, business tax and VAT which is all positive.

But tax cuts should be at the core of any pro-entrepreneur government and the 50 per cent top rate of tax - which will remain under the Tories - discourages innovation in a country that has lived and breathed it for decades.

Scotland laid the foundations for the industrial revolution, inventing the tools which built the modern world and a 'pro-entrepreneur' party should not be taxing our successful innovators at this level.

What are we doing to encourage our country's innovators and why have we become the service sector of the world?

This rate of tax is keeping the country down - we have become an economy of servers when we are a society of leaders.
Let's return to those glorious days when this country led the industrial revolution.

I sit in the Dragon's Den and invest in creations which will benefit inventors, the public and the economy.

Yet the larger tax rate encourages Dragons, those able to invest in small business as banks remain tight, to limit their ventures in the country.

I myself am fully committed to the UK but some even choose to relocate to a more tax-favourable country.

Despite keeping the level of tax high, the Tories haven't outlined concessions elsewhere and will freeze public sector workers pay above £18,000.

Those who teach, care for and inspire our young people will see their pay suffer.

The teaching profession will struggle to attract the best talent at a time when we seriously need to attract inspirational people to shape a creative and impressionable generation that will fuel our economic recovery long past the recession.

Keeping the 50 per cent rate of tax in place even drives our favourite actors and sports stars into tax havens and puts the best footballers off coming here to play.

The top rate of tax kicks in when someone earns over £150,000 in a year and with many of our top footballers earning that in a month or even a week, why would they want to play in Britain when they could play in Spain for a much lesser rate?

Having strong local football teams with the best players is great for the local economy as the team can compete at a higher level and demand more from broadcasters. But more than that, there is money being pumped into the local area. Punters will spread money around stadiums, pubs, hotels and surrounding shops which generates jobs and benefits the community.

In the same way, we need to keep strong teams of Dragons, those with investment power, in the community so their cash can create jobs and keep the local community thriving, spending and ticking over.

Creating more wealth and paying public servants the wages they deserve is essential to excite the next generations into entrepreneurialism and keep Scotland at the fore of innovation where we belong


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