Do we need 1 Hyde Park?

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The Telegraph (of all the unlikely papers) ran an article on the above theme yesterday.

1 Hyde Park for those who do not know it is the new block of flats located in London that is now the most expensive in the country. One has gone for £136 million.

They quoted me on the subject saying:

“This is conspicuous consumption gone mad," says Mr Murphy. “Britain is uniquely generous to the ultra-rich of the world, the justification being that these people bring money, entrepreneurial expertise and jobs into the UK. There is absolutely no evidence to support this assertion.

“It makes the UK a tax haven, and it makes the UK a two-tier society based on accident of birth and nationality, which is discriminatory. These people are blatantly rubbing their tax-free status in the noses of British taxpayers, which could lead some people to say, 'If they can get away with it, what can I get away with?’ This is highly counter-productive for the UK.”

Would he like to live in One Hyde Park? “No. I look out of my window at the beautiful Norfolk countryside. Why on earth would I want to live there?”

I made the same point, by coincidence, when recording with Nick Robinson for the BBC yesterday.

The idea that rich foreigners, using the UK as a tax haven, somehow add to the UK is nonsense: they are breaking down structures in our society through their blatant abuse of wealth accunulated at least in part by non-payment of tax that the UK assists.

It is madness and we are paying dearly for it. They'd be welcome if they paid tax here on their worldwide incomes. Otherwise - thanks, but no thanks: the disruption you cause in society more than outweighs any advantage you bring by spending insignificant aounts of VAT. And as for the idea that jobs are created by this folly: have those who argue this not noticed that no one (bar some of the small scale self employed) lives above the shop these days?