Saving Britain by taxing the rich (1)
Paul Mason
1449

I don’t know why they haven’t introduced an actual wealth Tax on all assets over £10 million. There are more than 100 billionaires living in Britain, and now more than 1 million millionaires (not counting their main home value) I reckon that a 5% tax on assets over £10 million would bring in at least £10 billion a year. Spain and other European countries have such a tax, that is also usually levied on global assets not just say Spanish assets.

I’ve argued in the past, that I would also scrap Corporation Tax. The reason being we want investment. What we should tax, instead is the dividends at source, and tax them and all unearned income more heavily. See my suggestions set out in — https://boffyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/general-election-what-should-labour-say.html.

But the other reason for this is that Labour should answer the questions on how they would pay for nationalising water etc. by replying that there is no need to nationalise what the workers and managers in these companies already own. All Labour need do, is to say that we intend to chnage the laws on Corporate Governance so that shareholders have no more rights than any other creditor in relation to Corporate Governance. In other words, it would simply recognise that shareholders are only creditors of companies, no different that bondholders, a bank that lends money to the company, or a company that leases equipment to the company.

This point was set out by FT contributor John Kay in an article with Aubrey Silbertson, some time ago — https://www.johnkay.com/1996/08/31/corporate-governance-with-aubrey-silberston/.

Shareholders would continue to have the right to receive dividends as interest on the money they have lent to the company, and would have priority above bondholders in being repaid if the company went into liquidation, but nothing else. By this simple measure that is in line with the ideas on industrial democracy raised by the Bullock Report, the EU’s Draft Fifth Company law Directive, and the measures of co-determination in Germany, but simply takes it to its logical conclusion, company boards would then be elected by the company’s real owners, the workers and managers employed in it. There would be no need to buy what those workers and managers already owned, they would simply be being given the control that such ownership has so far been denied them.

And, if such control was handed to workers and managers in all companies there would be no reason to impose taxes on those companies profits rather than on unearned interest.

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