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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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It’s our ideas people who deserve reward

I was surprised to be missed off The Sunday Times Rich List this year – again! I do like to keep my vast wealth private, so I can continue to walk among my people and carry out my good deeds without too much publicity.

Who am I kidding?

In a week that saw the country slip into a double-dip recession, the number of poor souls in our area dragging themselves along to food banks for handouts quadrupling and new figures that show nearly 70 firms are collapsing every day – the largest number for two years as banks continue to refuse to lend – the rich list told us there had been a rise in the number of billionaires in this country.

Our little island is now home to 77 billionaires in all, compared with just 53 in 2010.

My first thought as I rummaged through the list of those with too much money and not enough chin was why so much is owned by so few and how unnecessary it is for any one person to have so much wealth.

Then I realised that despite this wealth, their lives are so empty and aimless that they justify themselves by owning mega-super-yachts or building a ridiculous monument to their outrageous wealth.

Then I noticed that most of our shameful inequality is imported; that many of those in the mega-wealth bracket are foreign nationals who have made at least one of their homes in this country.

Russian oligarchs, European pharmaceutical giants, adventure capitalists of indiscriminate background.

It begs the question why do so many rich people want to live in a country so often criticised for its climate, over-crowding, roads...

Couldn’t be anything to do with our completely balanced, fair and egalitarian tax system, could it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for go-getting, hard-working geniuses with skill and entrepreneurial know-how.

The ability to make the most of a need, to exploit an opportunity, to do well, earn bucketloads of money and provide jobs and wealth for the nation.

I don’t think our governments through the decades have done enough to encourage them.

Most of those on the list have not inherited their wealth but have created it through businesses that have provided hundreds or thousands of jobs.

Not all of us can be Alan Sugar, Richard Branson or James Dyson but there should be more opportunity for more of us to try.

We need a system where the bankers, who are supposed to lend the money to the risk-takers and ideas people, are not handed such massive rewards that they are constantly making then headlines.

We need to ensure the biggest and best rewards go to those who come up with the best ideas and who help the nation produce goods.

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