Domicile – what the commentators said

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It's interesting to read the reports on yesterday's announcement by George Osborne. It's also indicative to see who the papers chose to comment.

The Guardian used me and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The Times meanwhile said:

Among those experts questioning the wisdom of Mr Osborne's scheme was Andrew Tailby-Faulkes, tax partner at Ernst & Young, who warned the Conservatives that imposing the levy would have an adverse affect on the UK economy and the City's global competitiveness.

He said: "Any changes to the non-domiciled tax regime should be carefully thought through before imposing a flat penalty on individuals. These changes could hit the City hard and have an adverse economic impact on the UK.

"Britain benefits significantly from the businesses, jobs and wealth that these people generate. Their willingness to work and invest here helps boost London's competitive edge against other global financial centres. That could easily be jeopardised."

There was also a note of caution from the CBI, whose director-general, Richard Lambert, was quick to point out the contribution of non-doms to the British economy.

"While the sums mentioned by Mr Osborne may be small for these people, we do need to be wary of driving jobs and opportunities away from the UK," he said.

Which, in both cases, are wholly irrational, scare mongering greed driven stories.

The same could be found in the Telegraph:

George Bull from the accountants Baker Tilly warned that if the proposals became law, many people would escape the levy by leaving Britain.

Mr Bull said: "The offshore levy would not only affect the very wealthy, who live here but do not work here. It would also affect those seconded by their overseas employees to work here for a number of years, such as Greek shippers, US investment bankers and directors of computer companies."

Which shows two things: I wasn't alone in misunderstanding George Osborne and second that the myth of the Greek ship owner is alive, well and as wrong as ever.

But the best comment of all? I think that's from Polly Toynbee:

This is a very Tory version of Robin Hood. George Osborne yesterday promised to steal from the outrageously, stratospherically rich and redistribute it to the already very, very rich. That's what taxing non-doms to relieve inheritance tax does.

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