Singapore on Thames

Knowing what you want

Singapore on Thames is the economic model that many MPs and supporters of Brexit see as the future of the UK. By this they mean a very wealthy country, with very low income tax, low corporation tax and no inheritance tax. Also Singapore is very pro business and sitting at the crossroads of Asia is the world’s second busiest port, shipping and re-shipping around the region and the world. The fact that the UK has just introduced numerous barriers to trade in its own region doesn’t seem to worry such supporters but maybe some other facts might.

For a start if you want to be like Singapore you’d better start nationalising things quickly, Singapore’s government and its sovereign wealth funds hold shares in huge swathes of the economy, among which are telecommunications, media, public transportation, defence, ports, banking, shipping, airlines, infrastructure and real estate. Many of those shares are held by its two sovereign wealth funds which are independent from Government, in the sense that the Prime Minister and his wife sit on their boards.

The Government owns 90% of Singapore’s land and 80% of all housing and although income taxes are low, a maximum of 22%; there is also a compulsory savings rate of 20% (invested with the Government) that pays for your pension and health insurance. Singapore also has a high level of income inequality, is a tax haven and imports 99% of its food.

But maybe the supporters of Singapore on Thames don’t mean those bits.