Fraser Nelson

Introducing the Nelson tax

Introducing the Nelson tax
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In the News of the World today, I propose a new tax on the rich: specifically, on ex-ministers who go on to earn a crust advising companies how to avoid the regulations with which they have saddled the British economy. I proposed this before the news broke about Byers and Hewitt etc, but their appalling story makes it all the more pertinent.

The Nelson tax should be above the top rate, and imposed on any activity such as giving speeches to the Chinese, lobbying, consultancy, etc. - anything which trades from contacts or reputation built up while serving the taxpayer. It would not be levied on activities which the ex-minister could plausibly claim he would have taken on anyway. So if Blair were to return to law, his earnings would be taxed at the normal rate. But if he trousers £20 million to £30 million (the estimates for his post-No10 income), then he'd pay it back.

The Nelson tax would also have another component: no "pension" should be paid before pension age. Blair, let us never forget, is disgracefully forwarded £64,000 a year as a "pension" at the ripe old age of 56. When you think of what his government did to pensions in Britain, this is verging on criminal. He also receives £84,000 of our money each year to run his personal office. Given the £4 million-odd he claimed for his book, and the damage he did to the British economy by letting the incompetent Brown run amok, you wonder just why he needs such a subsidy.

I propose denying former ministers any state money (including gold-plated MPs pension) for as long as their private income exceeds a certain threshold: three times the average salary of £70,000 a year. Now I wonder how many MPs would back that reform.