Recently, I watched the programme of Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story by Channel 4. The programme, presented by Martin Durkin, painted a very gloomy picture for Britain. Using many visual presentations, Mr Durkin was telling the people in Britain that we are in serious trouble with 4.8 trillion pound in debt.
And then, it used Hong Kong as a comparison to say that the British should follow what Hong Kong has been doing – to have a low tax system.
After living in Hong Kong about half a century before moving to reside in the UK 7 years ago, I have something to say based on my own experience.
But I am no economist. I can only offer my opinion as a citizen with experience in both countries.
The low tax system in Hong Kong indeed is very good in the way that people have more disposable money, with that they go out and spend and in turn it helps the business, especially the small businesses. Everyone has an opportunity to get rich in Hong Kong, really rich. It’s very easy to start a small business. The whole city is very entrepreneurial.
There are only 8 million people in Hong Kong. They have announced in earlier this year that a 26-billion-Hong Kong-dollar (3.34-billion-US-dollar) budget surplus for the past fiscal year and said that its finances had been buoyed by rising tax revenues and land sale.
What a different picture to the UK.
But I want to say that money is not everything for a society. People in Hong Kong can get very greedy (although some economists may say greed is good). Money can blur other values in a human being’s life.
I see less entrepreneurial people now. But I still like Britain. Its devotion to quality. Its pursuit for knowledge. Its logical thinking. Its charity mentality. Its tenacity to protect the underprivileged. Its commitment to give respect to everyone in the society no matter he’s rich or poor – all these qualities appeal to me as a foreigner in Britain.
I don’t know which tax system Britain should pursue. But whichever way, I hope the British can uphold all the above values for human beings and understand that getting rich is not the only thing in life.