Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gimme gimme gimme

Wheelbarrow of cashA poll and accompanying article in today's Telegraph betray Britain's confused attitudes to wealth and government regulation:

Five successive years of buoyant markets mean this new plutocracy boasts not just income, but wealth - lots of it. A small army of private bankers advises them on what to do with their spare cash. They estimate that some £43 billion of savings have been accumulated by just 35,000 elite City professionals - an average of more than £1 million each in spare change. Nearly double that, £75 billion, is in even fewer hands: the 15,000 to 20,000 super-rich foreigners who live in London, partly to avoid tax.

Unsurprisingly, many of those polled are envious and think "something must be done," top of the list being caps on bonuses. Given the City is esimated to earn 9% of the UK's GDP, such artificial constraints could prove very expensive indeed if they led highly mobile financial industry workers to move to Zurich, Hong Kong or elsewhere.

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