Richard Branson has stated his opposition to the new 50% tax rate, for those earning more than £150,000, claiming it will be a "block on the next wave of entrepreneurs".
The reality is that, of the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in the UK, very few pay themselves over £150,000 or even aspire to. If an entrepreneur makes a fortune it is from the sale of their company. The most successful one I know was shocked not by how much tax they paid when they sold up, but by how little. After the Brown-Blair tax reforms of 2001 the amount he paid on the tens of millions he received was just 18% - less than the lowest income tax band, paid if you earn just £15,000 a year.
Opponents of the 50% tax seek to focus on the cuddly entrepreneur because they know the public will have little sympathy for the professions who actually are the highest-paid. These are bankers, accountants, lawyers and consultants. And I would be surprised if Branson sees those professions as the ones that drive innovation and enterprise in the UK.
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