Lawyers slam National Insurance changes announced in pre-Budget report

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  • Oh my god! Tax measure threat to millionaire partner profits shocker! Partners in the top 100 firms are lucky that its the bankers in the firing line and not them. Doesn't stop them bleating though does it?

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  • The first poster may well be right but that has no relevance to the validity of the important point made by Michael Carter when he said
    " I’d suggest that everybody, save for perhaps politicians, would benefit from the amalgamation of NIC and income tax so we have real clarity and everybody can clearly see tax changes.
    “In everything but name this is a 1 per cent increase in income tax.”
    It is more "smoke & mirrors", just like the Chancellor's continual reference to "reducing the PSBR" thus avoiding referring to the issue that debt will increase until at least 1214 and to achieve that require growth at 3.5%, together with Gordon's "efficiency savings", in part we are this mess because of reliance on Gordon's growth projections some 5 or six years ago, I know it is December but sadly I do no believe in Father Christmas

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  • I'm sure they can afford it.
    In any event, all they need to do is increase their clients' bills. This would probably equate to taking an extra five minutes to complete each job.
    Given the size of the avreage bill, I doubt the clients would even notice.

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  • What are all of these City lawyers doing making overtly political comments? Especially Michael Wistow, who trots out the tired old line that the UK will become less attractive due to a "politically motivated tax change". Is Wistow speaking on behalf of his firm and, if so, does BLP assume that all of its clients share such an overtly policitical view of what is an attempt by the Chancellor to persuade the banks to live up to their responsibilities to the tax payers who bailed them out? Seeking to persuade the banks to act responsibly is grounded in fairness, not politics. It is a pity that Mr Wistow cannot identify himself with the widespread anger felt in society at large at the arrogance of the bankers and their employers.

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  • Whatever you think of Michael Wistow's views, surely he should be allowed to express them whether or not they tally with those of his or BLP's clients.
    He is not a politician, but someone giving his opinion on an event that has a direct impact on his business.

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  • I agree with the comment above that pointed out that Michael Carter's statement is very apt. They certainly are - but are wrapped up in an article that sounds as if it is about highly paid lawyers whining about a tax increase. That sort of message will get in the way of sensible comments such as Michael's. The profession should think a little about how their comments might be perceived by the general public.

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  • Jimmy Two Times, I have no issue with anyone being able to express their views, but it seems an odd decision for a law firm firmly to criticise Government policy (and thereby take an overtly political stance) and purportedly to speak for "people in the City". Since when did BLP take on the mantle of the BBA or the CBI? I am a person in the City and I welcome yesterday's moves by the Chancellor - neither BLP nor Michael Wistow speak for me. As for making the UK less attractive, that old chestnut has been bandied around by bankers for years to encourage 'light touch' regulation, and look where that got us. It is telling that President Sarkozy - no Socialist he - has announced today that he agrees with a one-off tax on bonuses, therefore those mobile bankers can forget about relocating to Paris. I agree with Peter Blair's comments, incidentally.

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  • The main distinction between income tax and national insurance is that NI is paid only against your employment whereas income tax covers, and is payable on, a whole spectrum of potential sources such as investment income and the like.

    Overtly therefore, this seems to place an added burden on employment per se - both employers and employees.

    At a time when both groups are feeling the pressure - and, for example, public sector pay increases are being frozen at 1% next year, it seems a tad stupid.

    However, I can't confess to knowing what the alternatives were... we're overstretched, across the board.

    I do fail to see why how this is viewed by a few people in the city, rather than the profession as a whole, is relevant. They have enough spokespeople and media avenues to express their own opinions without any pompous lawyers feeling the need to interject on their behalf.

    On a related note, viz bankers bonuses, I did read an article by a managing partner the other day decrying the brouhaha over this matter with what I assume he believed to be a clinching argument: 'What next?', he cried,'Will somebody want to tax partners profit shares if we make too much money?'.

    Er..... Yes. Put some of the money back into the firm and then maybe you won't have to lay off so many of your junior colleagues the moment there is a sniff of a cold in the market.

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