Wealthy Britons disillusioned with UK’s business environment, survey reveals

With polling stations set to open in less than 24 hours, Wealth Club, an investment platform for affluent and sophisticated investors, has unveiled its inaugural ‘British Wealth Report.’

The survey sheds light on the current sentiment of the UK’s wealthiest individuals regarding wealth creation, tax policies, and the attractiveness of the UK as a business hub.

Nicholas Hyett, Investment Manager at Wealth Club, highlighted the stark findings: “The UK has an image problem. Wealthy investors view the country as an unappealing place to start a business, citing a culture unsupportive of wealth creators and burdensome taxation. These individuals are crucial to the UK economy. The top 100 earners contribute an average of £46 million in tax each, while the highest-earning 100,000 cover a quarter of the total income tax and capital gains tax bill, despite representing just 0.3% of UK taxpayers. This data, obtained via a Freedom of Information request to HMRC in November 2023, underscores the importance of changing this group’s perception of the UK.”

The report reveals significant dissatisfaction among high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs):

Wealth Creation: 55% feel the UK does not support wealth creation or creators. 42% consider the UK an unattractive place to set up a business, and 31% are more inclined to leave the UK for financial reasons compared to 12 months ago.Economic Outlook: 81% believe the UK is in a worse economic state than five years ago, with only 12% seeing improvement. For the future, 45% expect moderate or significant economic growth, while 11% foresee a decline. Additionally, 78% anticipate lower interest rates next year, and 19% expect them to remain the same.Taxation: 60% predict tax increases regardless of the election outcome, and 37% expect tax hikes only if Labour wins. A striking 83% foresee a higher personal tax burden in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 24% feel poorer than a year ago, and 27% feel wealthier. The current taxation rate is deemed too high by 71%, just right by 22%, and too low by 7%. If given the choice, 42% would cut inheritance tax.Investment Sentiment: Only 32% see the UK as an attractive investment destination, though 39% believe the UK stock market will rise next year. The US stock market is viewed as the most attractive by 47% of HNWIs, followed by UK Smaller Companies (41%), while only 25% find large listed UK companies appealing for investment.

As the Labour Party, the anticipated winners of this election, position themselves as proponents of growth and wealth creation, they face the challenge of improving the UK’s appeal to investors and entrepreneurs. The next edition of the ‘British Wealth Report,’ due at the end of the year, will reveal whether the new government has managed to enhance the UK’s business credentials.

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