Magazine article Management Today

For Whom the Poll Tolls

Magazine article Management Today

For Whom the Poll Tolls

Article excerpt

The poll tax would not normally be much of a worry for leading industrialists. They may even pay less than they currently do on the rates and at work, they will be concerned only by the new uniform business rate, that actually frees them from the vagaries of a particular council's policy.

But the sight of mobs on the rampage in central London, the resulting unhelpful pressure on sterling as nervous overseas investors see the riots on television, and the growing unpopularity of Mrs Thatcher's government resulting from the tax make it an issue they cannot ignore.

After all, the Conservative government of the last 10 years is the best friend they are ever likely to get, and any replacement will be less in tune with business sentiment. So any industrialist who can bend Mrs Thatcher's ear would be well advised to press an alternative. The question is what?

Perhaps a little old-fashioned horse-trading could provide the answer. In return for scrapping both the poll-tax and rates entirely, the government could sweep away Mortgage Income Tax Relief, one of the biggest and most abused distortions of the housing market--and a subsidy by the poorest one third of the population (those in rented accommodation) for the richest two-thirds of home-owners. …

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