This blog is far more influential than we realised: no
sooner do we post on the subject of payroll taxes than a couple of dozen of the
UK’s most powerful businessmen agree with us and the Prime Minister calls a
General Election in which they are a major issue!
It was interesting to note that even on the BBC
website – not noted as a friend of small business – most of the public comments
on the tycoons’ intervention showed an understanding of the problems faced by
business that would not have been so widespread twenty or thirty years ago.
Yet it is still depressing to see a lot of comments that reflect
“class war” attitudes that should have died out with flared trousers and donkey
jackets. Disparaging the informed opinions of businessmen on the assumption
that they must be “greedy”, “selfish”, and “fat cats” is pure 1970s.
It is difficult to see how that sort of abuse can be applied
to people like Albert Gubay,
founder of the Kwik Save supermarket. When he was young and penniless, he
promised God that he would donate 50% of his fortune to charity if he
became a millionaire. God having apparently gone far beyond His end of bargain,
delivering that million several hundred times over, Gubay has in turn exceeded
his original promise, putting 98% of his wealth into a charitable trust.
Although an outstanding example, Gubay is far from alone in
his philanthropy. He is part of a tradition of generosity on the part of
successful businessmen that stretches back, via the Rockefellers and the
Medici, to the merchants who sponsored many of the civic facilities of Greece
These are, of course, the same people without whom there
would be less of the wealth and employment on which the rest of the population
depends – as well as less of the tax revenue on which a growing public sector
And who are their critics? One suspects that they are people
with a lot of time on their hands, living off the wealth and taxes generated by
the people they are abusing.