Rich, Vulgar & In London

Great Britain, Media, Observatory

Everyone complains about how expensive London is, and part of it is down to property prices being jacked up by the super-rich attracted by the domicile laws, which are unique in the world. If you come from overseas, can prove you are going to return and can establish a domicile separate from your “residency” in the UK, you pay normal UK taxes and your overseas income is out of the reach of the Inland Revenue.

At the moment the Greeks and Italians are here shovelling money out of their respective countries into properties. Americans pay tax on their worldwide income wherever they are, so they don’t come. And the reason no party ever removes the law is because of a belief in the fallacious theory that the wealth somehow trickles down.

There are signs everywhere in this Olympic year that prices are being steeply raised, but there’s no balancing trickle-down income from the rich. This week the Times newspaper doubled the price of subscription for its online edition after conducting a survey of those who are happy to pay. They found that the average salary of users was in excess of £100,000 pa.

As yet, the Times is still one of the few papers to charge. It looks to me as if their opportunistic model is based on the skewed figures of those who find the subscription rate a mere drop in their expenditure ocean.

Meanwhile, there’s more excess. Over at Whitely’s cinema in Bayswater, forget the popcorn; you can have red mullet and prawn risotto or chicken and goat’s cheese mousse on hazelnut toast while you watch your movie. Although paying a fortune to drop soy sauce over yourself in the dark seems absurd. The reviewer at the Independent made the mistake of having her meal while watching Polanski’s ‘Carnage’, which features a spectacular spewing scene from Kate Winslet.

The excellent John Lanchester has an article on the subject of the super-rich here.