The Scotsman has reported that UK cabinet minster Tessa Jowell said at a Labour conference fringe meeting:
Over the past 10 years, as part of this process of global change, we have seen the arrival of the super-rich. And rich to a degree that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. And I think that in time we will come back to consider the position of the people who are non-domiciled but who are resident in the UK and pay no tax.
In time is disappointing. But I really do not think Jowell would have said this without clearing it.
Which makes the comment of George McCrachan, tax partner at Grant Thornton, quoted in the same article seem even more absurd. He said:
It would be a brave thing of any government to do. A lot of people working in the City of London, and to a lesser extent in Edinburgh, will be non-domiciled and will not be paying tax on all their income. If you change the law, will they take off somewhere else?
Two questions to Grant Thornton:
1) Why is raising an additional £4.3 billion brave?
2) Where are these people going?
If there are no answers to those questions, then these comments ring more hollow then they have ever done in the past.
It's really time that these firms came to recognise that change is on the cards. Soon.