PLSA AC 2018: Industry should be more focused on taxation of assets than Brexit - Andrew Marr

The possibility of taxes on asset growth should be discussed more in the pensions industry than Brexit, journalist Andrew Marr has said.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's annual conference, Marr also discussed the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn as the next Prime Minister and the chances of a second referendum.

Marr, who discussed what’s going on behind the scenes of Brexit, said a no-deal is the biggest threat to the Conservatives, but for the pensions industry, other issues are more pertinent.

“One of them is taxation. Theresa May said at the Tory party conference, I thought interestingly, perhaps unwisely, that austerity was over. What did she mean by that?”

An end to austerity, he said, if the government is set on not borrowing money, we can expect a tax-raising autumn budget. The question then, is where.

“The taxation of assets is the new big thing,” Marr said, and the next step forward will most likely be taxation to even out the gross disparity in asset wealth, which would mean some kind of taxation on assets such as properties worth around £1-2m.

“It will be politically extremely controversial,” he said. “It is one of those things that somebody is going to grab. And if it is not Philip Hammond it will be John McDonnell.”

When asked who he thinks will replace May as leader of the Tory party and as Prime Minister, Marr concluded that David Davis would be a safer choice than Boris Johnson, at least for a short period of time. As Prime Minister, he said: “As things stand, Jeremy Corbyn.”

Addressing the discussion around a second referendum, Marr said it would be very hard to do as it is no longer a question with two options. The division of the last referendum is still visible today, he said, in a way he has never seen politics divide people before.

“I worry that if we have another referendum, it would be unbearably nasty. I think the Russian trolls would stir up the praise on all sides, I think money from abroad would be flooding in, I think it would be a really, really nasty and grim experience. So whether or not it happens, I do not look forward to it,” he said.

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