So I had this crazy idea…

A lot of very rich people have been complaining about the top rate of tax being 50% and how it stifles investment because they don’t have the money to invest because the tax man is taking it all.

My honest reaction has always been boo hoo. I have absolutely no sympathy.

More to the point, if you look at consumer demand, the government’s tax and spending policies have removed so much money from lower and middle class people that confidence has collapsed. Nobody is buying, and retail recovery will always depend on ordinary consumers. If retail is in the doldrums, there’s no point investing as manufacturers won’t have a market. The problems being global, exports won’t have much of a market either.

So if you do away with the 50% band, the likelihood is hardly a penny will be invested into business. It will exit the economy by being lodged into banks which aren’t lending.

So I had this very silly idea.

Tax relief on business investments, specifically ploughing cash directly into businesses (not playing stocks and shares, or even loans.)

If your marginal rate of income tax is 40% or higher, you get 20% relief on every pound you invest into your business.

Ordinary higher rate tax payers would see it as more income on which they only have to pay basic rate tax (20%). Top rate taxpayers would have a band at de facto 30%.

It would be interesting to see if the top rate taxpayers are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

I also had another idea. Tax all income where it is earned. If you earn it in the US and can prove it was taxed there, you don’t pay tax on it in the UK. If you earn it in the UK, no matter where you are domiciled for tax purposes, it is taxed in the UK.

That would need a revolution in tax of course, and would need coordination between all the countries affected to avoid double taxation, but would do away with tax havens at a stroke.

Those with foreign earnings in lower tax countries and domiciled here for tax purposes would also benefit, but those who currently avoid tax by being domiciled elsewhere might end up more than making up for it.

I’ve been pondering what Christians should do if God makes us rich. More on that another time, because there is much to think about with the balance of being rewarded properly for hard work (which I very much believe in) and looking after those who cannot help themselves due to circumstances outside their own control.

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Waiting for SK535

This will almost certainly be my last blog until I get back to Belfast. I’m going to try and make a point of blogging more often – I have plenty of thoughts I can inflict on the world!

Yesterday was another gorgeous day. Unfortunately we were on the move for most of it, and over two hours of that was in a very warm train without air conditioning and two opening windows. After a quick stop at Kulturhuset and ICA in T-centralen, we got back to Ropsten for the 4pm boat to Tranholmen.

Billy had told us the water was warmer than at home. Apparently not yesterday – it very much reminded me of the Atlantic and Co Donegal… We relaxed for the evening, I got a few pics of the house, and I set the alarm for 6.45am.

Since yesterday, a rather nasty low pressure area has descended upon the north sea, promising us wet weather at home as well as here. Billy, Eva, Ziggy, Jo and I therefore had a rather wet trip across Lilla Vartan, but a very loud thunderclap as we left the house was followed by one at least two miles away as we left the jetty.

Thankfully, it was a lot less wet (but not actually dry) when we reached Arlanda, and there this blog entry stops. Departure is in 35 minutes, and once again we have exit row seats for extra legroom. Even better, I’ve booked the window seat ūüėČ

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Starting the long journey home…

Yesterday we did very little. We had breakfast, relaxed, went to prayers at 12 and 8 (in Swedish Рwe understood very little!) and went for a walk along the lake and into Rättvik church. We spent most of the afternoon on the jetty at the lakeside, admiring the still waters, while Jo painted the scene.

Jo’s friends Lars and Aislinn called by in the evening with their sons Ryan and Theo. Lars is from Sweden, and met Aislinn at Corrymeela. Both boys were born in NI, and are bilingual.

We met two of the Lutheran priests at Stiftsgården. Gisela has been at Stiftsgården for a long time, while Theresa has been here for two months. They appear to wear a dog collar on alternate days, when they take devotions in the chapel.

The first stage of our journey is two trains back to Stockholm, changing at Borl√§nge. We stay at Billy and Eva’s again tonight, and then fly back to Dublin and drive to Belfast tomorrow. We may yet visit Skansen this afternoon, the local equivalent of the folk museum at Cultra, but long journeys can be tiring and we may just go back to Tranholmen. Wait and see.

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Delayed by the need for sleep…

Well, yesterday I left the British Isles for the first time in my life.

We left the City North Hotel after a nice breakfast at 9am, checked in, and took the long walk to gate 105. Quite why the gate numbers are lower the further away you go from check-in I dunno, but we got there and settled down to wait.

We watched the 11.05 Copenhagen flight leave, and I helped a kid find Mater and a hydrofoil from Cars 2 which kept flying off the table between us (to my and his parents’ amusement) and then we left Ireland on the 11.50 flight.

The MD82 was nice and comfortable, and the raspberry muffin I bought was lovely- smelled great, tasted better.

We touched down in Arlanda ahead of schedule, and got our bags by 3.45pm local time (that’s 2.45pm real time). Our host Billy took us down the E4 to Stockholm and to the jetty where he keeps his speedboat.

Unfortunately, by then it was chucking it down, but he got us into the boat, and across to Tranholmen.

It’s a bit early for first impressions, but Billy and Eva’s house is beautiful – made from wood and actually very warm. Pictures will follow once I take some, but I’m having trouble connecting from my MBP to Billy’s wireless network and I’m writing this on my iPhone!

To cut a long story short, I was shattered and in bed and sleeping well before 9pm. It’s still raining outside, but I think we’re going to get a walk today, then hit the old town (Gamla Stan) after lunch. More later.

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