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Labour win would threaten 'exodus of wealthy'

Ben Gartside
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at campaign rally in Bristol on 9 December. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Britain could see an exodus of hundreds of its richest entrepreneurs if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is elected on Thursday, a leading financial adviser has warned.

Nigel Green, chief executive of the DeVere Group, which advises on the management of billions of pounds in funds, told the Telegraph a Labour victory would “trigger an exodus of the country’s most successful and wealthiest individuals.”

“An increasing number of high-net-worth clients are legitimately worried about the damaging impact of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government on their finances,” Green said.

"We can realistically expect a Corbyn government would trigger an exodus of the country’s most successful and wealthiest individuals who contribute significantly both directly and indirectly to the British economy.

“Soaking the rich doesn’t work because these people, typically, have the resources to move to lower tax jurisdictions if the tax burden in the UK becomes too great. They are internationally mobile.”

Phones4U founder John Caudwell also criticised the party's plans in a debate with Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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Billionaire entrepreneur Caudwell told Radio 4: “Nearly every wealthy person I know is thinking of leaving the UK including me if Labour gets in.”

Caudwell later described shadow chancellor McDonnell as “a wolf in sheep's clothing” to the Telegraph. He said: "He is a very amicable but, dangerously amicable because he is sort of credible unless you listen to what the Labour party has said.

“If Labour put in policies that I think are going to destroy the fabric of Britain, that is going to become divisive against entrepreneurial spirit.”

However, some felt that the alarming reactions to Labour’s policies were over the top.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance UK, former McDonnell adviser and IPPR associate fellow James Meadway said: “Labour’s tax plans ask those at the top to pay the same levels of tax for our public services as you see in successful northern European economies like the Netherlands, and below the levels of prosperous Scandinavia.

“The best economic evidence we have shows that wealthy people do not flee where they live when taxes rise, because people appreciate that they are making a fair contribution to society.

“We could expect Labour’s investment programme to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and economic prosperity across the whole country after years of persistent underinvestment.”

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