The move hardly says much for Brown and the strength of his convictions, but the tax picture now looks a fair deal brighter than it did three weeks ago for the average small business owner, whose retirement plans would have taken a hit under the previous CGT proposals.
Private-equity bosses will probably still be grumbling. Still, it could be worse – they could be Americans. The super-rich on that side of the pond may well be holding their heads in despair today at the actions of one of their own: Warren Buffet, the country’s second-richest man, has taken the unprecedented step of complaining that he should be paying more tax. It’s the equivalent of the square kid in school suggesting that the class isn’t getting enough homework.
Buffet has even singled out the problem that he pays a lower rate than his receptionist. Our own private-equity heads, themselves castigated this summer for paying less tax than their cleaners, would perhaps do well to take their 18% rate and keep quiet.