That point is well worn and made continually, and I am sure that all Members are aware of the top rate of tax being cut, but there is an element of financial amnesia here. As even people who only have a rudimentary understanding of economics will appreciate, the main way that wealthy people accumulate wealth is through wealth creation, rather than income, which is always variable. If we look at capital gains tax, the current rate is 28%, which is in stark contrast to the previous Labour Government, where venture capitalists were paying capital gains tax at a rate of 10%—often much lower than the cleaners who were cleaning their offices.That's right. If you disagree with Paul, you're a thicky thick thicko. And we should listen to him, because underneath the modesty which compels Paul to keep schtum on the sources of his considerable wealth, he's a man on firm ground. Remember: Paul has never picked up a shovel, employed a large number of people, contributed to the wealth and gaiety of the nation with a new thingamabob, ratchet, widget or idea. He is a propertly speculator.
When he says that 'wealthy people accumulate wealth… through wealth creation, rather than income', what he means is that he avoids paying the same tax rate as me (despite me being very much not a millionaire) by paying himself dividends rather than a salary from Pinehurst Securities. The top rate of income tax is 40% on earnings above £42,000. The top rate for his capital gains, as he points out, is 28% (though of course needy Paul is also kept off the breadline by his £65,000 parliamentary salary).
Uppal's right that Labour's capital gains tax rate was a shameful 10%, but it's time he stopped making petty points like this. He fails to realise that from the outside, we're the farmyard animals and looking from the pigs to the men, it's hard to tell them apart. New Labour was obsessed with financial sharks because it had no industrial policy, nor any interest in one: I don't think this is quite so true of the current Labour Party.
Paul Uppal and his friends are not the solution. They are the problem. Uppal's business has contributed nothing to the British economy: it simply shifts money around. No jobs are created, no innovations generated. And yet he has lobbied for – and won – another tax break for owners of empty properties, who'd rather we subsidised them than accept a lower market rate: he's just another hog at the trough, but this hog spends his time denouncing the poor for their expectations of state aid!
Quite simply, Paul Uppal MP and his party are parasites. It's clear from the legislation they've enacted (top rate of income tax dropped, corporation tax dropped, tax inspectors sacked, food safety protection cut, welfare for disabled children cut…) that they have no intention of acting in the national interest. They are shamelessly pursuing a policy of class warfare and self-interest. They have captured the state and in the Kenyan phrase, it is 'their turn to eat'.
Am I making too much of this anodyne little speech? Well, Mr Uppal made it during a debate about the Living Wage. He's against it, just as the Conservative Party was against the Minimum Wage. The miserable nature of this country is obvious from the fact that the notional living wage is higher than the legal minimum wage. Put simply: you can't live on the minimum wage (and social security benefits are even lower). Under Labour, the scandalous solution was to subsidise low wages with social security – essentially inviting corporations to inflate their profits and share prices at the expense of the taxpayer and the poor. That's why I'd upgrade the minimum wage to the living wage and abolish benefits for those in work. The shareholders (including my own pension provider) need to accept that profits shouldn't come at the expense of cold houses, bad food, thin clothes and poor health.
Under the Tories, it's far, far worse. With the vicious attacks on social security, the state won't even be providing that safety net. So wages will remain at the rock bottom, and the state won't even cover the difference between the minimum and living wages. People are being driven from their homes, while Mr Uppal spends his time speaking up for the already rich.
And they accuse the left of waging class war.