Under Blair, Labour was never so foolish as to come into direct conflict with the City. The government tiptoed around it in an effort to nurture the powerhouse of the British economy. But led by Brown, with Darling as Chancellor, they are now clumsily treading on the collective toes of many in the business community.
The latest blunder is the proposal to introduce a tax on non-doms. Designed as an attempt to gain an extra £800 million in taxes, it turns out that it could potentially lose £2.1 billion in revenue for the Treasury. The simple reason being that these individuals are contributing remarkably high amounts to the British economy, and with this latest imposition adding to the climate of uncertainty, many doyens of their respective professions will simply move out taking their businesses, jobs and money with them.
It was in fact the Tories that came up with the idea of taxing non-doms in the first place, with Labour choosing to copy them. However, unlike on Inheritance Tax, Labour would have done well to ignore George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, on this one.
It took the radicalism of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policy to undo the disastrous economic policies of the Labour governments of the post-war era. We can only hope that the Brown-Darling team do not leave the UK in such a state. We will also have to hope that the next government will actually cut taxes. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.