Thursday, 1 November 2007

Private equity chief has a pop at the TUC

Just spotted this article on Comment is Free from the head of the private equity trade body the BVCA. After a dig at the TUC it's the same old story from the buyout brigade - you should think yourselves lucky that we pay the tax that we do, and if you start getting uppity we will simply move offshore. I have to say that even as a moderate Labour supporter this sort of tone brings out the class warrior in me. Pay the same tax as everyone else you freeloading gits!

The other thing I find annoying is the way that we are now constantly told that we should give thanks that private equity delivers returns to pension funds:

Next, pension funds, whose returns in the sector are almost 20% per annum over the past 10 years - more than double the FTSE All-Share Index. So tomorrow's pensioners - including many trade unionists - will benefit from today's success.

I mean what kind of argument is it that you should offer those operating in a certain field favourable personal tax treatment just because the asset class they are attached to generates a return? We invest in that asset class BECAUSE it generates a return. Perhaps we should allow ministers to pay lower tax because bonds give us a return, or what about the directors of public companies whose shares we hold? It is an argument that should be killed off.

And if we really want to follow this line of argument then perhaps we ought to look at how much of a return we could make from investments in private equity if those running the business took less of a bite out of the money they make on our money.


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