.............What was painfully apparent from talking to the head and visiting secondary schools was that few bright children from areas such as Wakefield now have a chance of making it to top universities. From the outskirts of Liverpool in the north to the coastal communities of Kent in the south, large swathes of the country have become educational wastelands – where children, despite their talents, face the bleakest of life prospects.
In London, meanwhile, where I now live, a very different phenomenon has transformed the capital’s most sought-after postcodes. The latest figures suggest that the rich from outside the UK now purchase the vast majority of super-prime property in London. Belgravia, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Chelsea and even exclusive enclaves in the home counties are becoming non-British zones.
It is not London’s weather that attracts the wealthy from overseas; for many, it is its non-domicile tax status. Among major countries, only in the UK do we allow wealthy foreigners to be permanent residents and not declare their worldwide income and pay tax on it. Instead, they make a one-off payment of £30,000 a year and pay tax on UK source income, which many do not have. At the same time, the UK is renowned for having the best private education money can buy.