The richest people in Britain are making plans to flee the country with £1trillion amid fears Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister.
Billionaires and multimillionaires say they are preparing for ‘Corbygeddon’, with plans being made to protect themselves from left-wing tax increases by shifting trusts and assets overseas.
The Sunday Times reported that those featured in its Rich List feared a Corbyn government would be harmful to the culture of free enterprise in the UK.
The paper reported that the boss of the Queen’s bank Coutts says his clients are more worried about Jeremy Corbyn than Brexit, and a tax expert said he helped 10 people with a net wealth of £500m or more flee the country, adding up to more than £5billion over the past year.
The news comes amid recent polls showing Labour leading in a poll of voting intentions for a general election.
ComRes put Jeremy Corbyn’s party on 27%, next to the Brexit Party on 20% and the Tories slipping to third place on 19% – which would be their worst ever result.
A separate poll, by Opinium for the Observer, put Labour in second place behind the Brexit Party for the European Elections.
The news also comes as Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell announced the party would trial universal basic income if it wins power.
Pilot schemes would be held in Liverpool, Sheffield and the Midlands, Mr McDonnell told the Mirror.
The plan would award every citizen a fixed sum to cover the basics whether they are rich or poor, in work or unemployed.
Mr McDonnell said people can spend the cash how they like, but the intention is for it to be used to study, set up a business or leave work to care for a loved one.
He said: ‘I’d like to see a Northern and Midlands town in the pilot so we have a spread.
‘I would like Liverpool – of course I would, I’m a Scouser – but Sheffield have really worked hard. I’ve been involved in their -anti-poverty campaign and they’ve done a lot round the real living wage.
‘I think those two cities would be ideal and somewhere in the Midlands.’
Trials have been held elsewhere in the world, including Kenya, Finland and the US, as well as potentially being explored in four Scottish cities.
The shadow chancellor was this week handed a feasibility report for different universal basic income (UBI) models for low-income areas, including one in which a whole community gets basic incomes.
All the means-tested benefits – apart from housing benefit – would be taken away and every adult would pocket, for example, £100 per week, plus an additional £50 for each child they have.
‘Of course it’s a radical idea,’ Mr McDonnell said. ‘But I can remember, when I was at the trade unions – campaigning for child benefit and that’s almost like UBI – you get a universal amount of money just based on having a child.
‘UBI shares that concept. It’s about winning the -argument and getting the design right.’
The concept has been around since at least the 1960s and was raised in the 1972 US presidential election, followed by the introduction of a UBI scheme called the Manitoba Basic Income Experiment in Winnipeg in 1975.
In the UK, charity Citizen’s Income Trust has been encouraging debate for 35 years.
But some critics fear that UBI would be too expensive, including John Kay, former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
He said: ‘If you do the numbers, either the basic income is -unrealistically low or the tax rate to finance it is unacceptably high. End of story.’
Mr McDonnell is convinced of the benefits and said Ed Miliband was also keen to see the pilots included in the manifesto.
He said the reason behind the policy was because the social security system has ‘collapsed’, and we now need a ‘radical alternative’.
The Sunday Times’ Rich List revealed that the country’s 1,000 wealthiest individuals and families have amassed a record wealth of £771.3billion – an increase of £47.8billion in a year.
The number of billionaires in the country has increased to 151, an increase of six on the previous year.
London-based brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja have replaced Sir Jim Ratcliffe at the top of the list.
Sir James Dyson sits at fifth place, having amassed a fortune of £12.6billion, and new entries to the list include songwriter Ed Sheeran and golfer Rory McIlroy.