OBA’s Simons hears ‘wealth tax’ suggestion at UK Tory conference
A talk about a “wealth tax” to help pay for the devastation caused by Covid-19 was one of the events attended by the Opposition leader at the UK Conservative Party conference this week.
Cole Simons said it was important to examine how other countries had dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Simons said: “I’m hopeful that by attending this conference, I will be able to gain a wider perspective and hopefully bring back new strategies and solutions to assist with Bermuda’s ongoing challenges.”
The four-day conference, held in Manchester, was themed around delivery of “the people’s priorities” and “getting on with the job to build back better”.
Mr Simons attended “A Wealth Tax To Pay For Covid" presentation, which was organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
The IFS said on its website: “During the pandemic, UK government borrowing and spending rose to levels not seen outside of the world wars.
“The government have already announced almost £40 billion [about $54 billion] of tax rises this year, which will take tax revenues to their highest ever sustained level of national income.
“Yet even this is unlikely to be enough to avoid public spending cuts, to meet the full costs of an ageing society, to deal with the various inequalities that have risen during the pandemic and to meet other challenges such as achieving net-zero emissions.”
The IFS asked: “If the UK needs to raise more revenue in future, should it make more use of taxes on wealth?"
Mr Simons also heard a lecture organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs and The Taxpayers’ Alliance – “Boom Or Bust: The Economy In A Post Pandemic World”.
He had talks with Stephen Harper, a former Canadian Conservative Party Prime Minister.
An OBA spokeswoman said: “The two discussed the priorities of his role as chair of International Democratic Union and how Bermuda could be involved.”
Mr Simons had a meeting with John Le Fondré, the Chief Minister of Jersey, when they “shared their common experiences on the challenges and management of the pandemic”.
The OBA leader said: “We also talked about the latest developments in our financial service industries, Bermuda’s strong relationship and connection with Jersey.
“We also touched on the possibility of Jersey participating in trade missions overseas in a joined-up fashion with the UK Government as an overseas Crown Dependency.”
Mr Simons also had talks with Andrew Rosindell, a British Conservative MP who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
Mr Simons also attended a reception organised by Gibraltar, also a UK Overseas Territory, where Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, was the keynote speaker.
The OBA spokeswoman said: “During his speech, Mr Johnson underscored the sovereignty of Gibraltar and despite the challenges presented by the EU member states, the enduring relationship between Gibraltar and the UK.”