13 October 2013

It’s a sad day when arguably the UK’s greatest entrepreneur announces he’s waving goodbye to Britain for sunnier climes. Is this the wake up call the Government needs? With thousands of the UK’s richest people moving abroad, when will they look at why they are going? Just turning up the dial for those of us who stay isn’t a sustainable model. Eventually, if you increase the temperature of a bath or room, even the hardiest of creatures will choose to leave.

It was Einstein who said, “If you do the same thing over and over again, you are insane to expect different results.”

Yet Governments deploy the same “taxtics” adopted by countless years of parliamentarians. It’s a shame though, because as fast as entrepreneurs build platforms to create jobs and wealth for the communities that surround them, the Government spends the hard earned money of the British tax payer as if it were limitless. Tony Blair invaded Iraq, in our name! At what cost? Unnecessary deaths on both sides of the world, and untold damage to global economies. Back home, Cameron’s crew talk of schemes like HS2, the supposedly high-speed rail that knocks 1 hour off the trip to London from Manchester. The irony is that with all the proposed stops, it’s physically impossible to meet their original estimated times. I digress, but the myriad of £50 billion projects, wars and indiscretions impact on our future and more importantly the future generations and the health of our nation.

The biggest problem we all face isn’t living in the UK. It’s dying in the UK. The UK is a wonderful place to live and yes, it’s not perfect and we have a long way to go to fix some of the damage created by Blair, Brown and other politicians. But inheritance tax is a killer! Not to you, you died, you are OK. You escaped the pain of watching your estate being split up. Sadly, your family won’t.

So regardless of all the tax you contributed towards the good of our nation, your final balance on judgement day, whilst you are being weighed and measured in purgatory, so too are your financial affairs.

If you are lucky to leave this place with more than you arrived with and if you’ve been paying your way throughout your life, I think inheritance tax demonstrates contempt for the British tax paying public. You wonder how many people consider this in their strategy to move from the UK in their twilight years.

Imagine a world where pensioners and retired folk are able to leave their hard earned savings to their grandchildren and families, setting up the next generations to succeed. Now this is a Britain I’d be proud to serve.

Sir Richard Branson is only one of hundreds of thousands of people who have left the UK to live abroad. It just happens to be that he is incredibly high profile and this springs a well-overdue debate. But like Einstein intimates, unless something changes we will see more of the same. And the worrying thing is, these talented folk like Branson are energy and wealth creators and they are the teachers of the future.

We need them on our doorstep, lecturing in our universities (like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did in the US). We need their minds, their influence and their passion rubbing off on our communities, so losing them is a real shame. These are the people we should be enabling to run the country, they understand big business and they understand how to generate momentum by creating jobs and wealth.

But it’s not just the mega wealthy; everyone is affected. There is less support for the older person now and how do people balance their life long savings and what they leave behind, if any with living costs spiralling? With people living longer and pensions not being what they were, we are creating a very unstable environment for the most important layer in society, parents and grandparents.

If the super successful ones leave and the remaining ones get poorer by default with age as savings deplete, what type of society are we left with?

It’s time for a revolution!


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