29 JULY 1972, Page 28

Skinflint's City Diary

Last year I suggested in this column that Mr Sam Wanamaker's proposed re-creation

of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre at South wark was the main platform for a giant property development scheme to overcome

planning authority opposition. This led to a dispute with Mr Wanamaker which I am pleased to say has now been settled. Mr Wanamaker writes:—

" In January, 1971, the Globe Playhouse Trust Ltd., a registered educational and cultural charity, was formed with the following Trustees: "Brian Batsford, Eugene R. Black, Lord Brock, Prof. J. Bronowski, Prof. W. J. H.

Butterfield, Sir Hugh Casson, Lady Casson, Nevin Coghill, Sir Reginald Goodwin, Rt. Hon. Ray Gunter, Rt. Hon. Earl of Harewood, Gabriel Harrison, Sir Richard Hayward, Glenda Jackson, John Mills, Prof. Rev. Moelwyn Merchant, Prof. Allardyce Nicoll, Sir Harmer Nicholls, Mrs Sean O'Casey, The Marquis of Queensberry, Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, Mrs. H. Sebag-Montefiore, Mrs J.

Edward Sieff, Prof. T. J. B. Spencer, Rt. Rev. Bishop of Southwark, Councillor N. H. Tertis, Dr. Michael Young, Sam Wanamaker, Prof. G. Wickham and Edward Woodward.

"In addition to these Trustees, a group of distinguished people in the field of town

planning, land economics and architecture agreed to be advisors and consultants. On the planning side were:

"Raymond Andrews, Ove Arup, Prof. Colin Buchanan, Sir Hugh Casson, Theo Corsby, Prof. Lord Llewelyn-Davies, Philip Dowson, Sir Robert Matthew, Sir Paul Reilly, Peter Shepheard, Peter and Alison Smithson, Harry Teggin, Ralph Tubbs, Sir Hugh Wilson and Water Bor.

"On the economic/political side were the following: "Rt. Hon. Ray Gunter, Lord Harewood, Sir Cyril Black, Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, Prof. C.

D. Foster, Prof. D. Denman, Dr Michael Young, Brian Batsford, Mrs H. Sebag-Montefiore, Mrs J. Edward Sieff and Mr J. Perry.

"The first three objects of the Trust's Declaration of Purpose are as follows:

I. To reclaim Southwark'tj Thames bank, universally recognised as an historic area of

international interest, particularly because of its association with Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theatre.

2. To propose a redevelopment plan, bounded by Blackfriars and London Bridges, and

the river Thames and Southwark Street, to become an area of culture, education and entertainment with related amenities in a harmonious relationship of housing, offices and hotels.

3. To construct a third Globe Playhouse on or near its original site within a comprehensive development concept appropriate for the area; the form, size and character of the building to be decided by consulting scholars, theatre professionals and architects.

"There are six further objects having to do with the production of Shakespeare's plays, the founding of a World Centre for Shakespeare Studies, the establishment of a library and museum, the promotion of music of the Elizabethan age, the creation of a Shakespeare Birthday Fund for the commissioning of new works of music, poetry and drama, and, lastly, the promotion and organisation of all sorts of cultural and educational events in the Borough of Southwark.

"The Trustees and their Consultants created and endorsed a plan for the redevelopment of London's riverside between London and Blackfriars Bridges. This plan was meant to draw attention to the great possibilities inherent for the future in this historic area. Being realistic, the plan included commercial developments and offices, as well as hotels, restaurants and other public facilities for the many thousands of people who would be living in, working in and enjoying the area.

" It has been misunderstood by many that the Trust was proposing to build these structures. This indeed has never been the case, rather it was hoped •that local and national governments, together with site owners and property developers, would be influenced by this projection, providing always they were satisfied of its commercial viability.

"It is now known that major developers are planning to implement many of the proposals in the scheme proposed by the Trust. The Trust itself has been offered, by one of the major developers, the site of the Globe Theatre and £100,000 towards its reconstruction. As in the Globe's plan, two other theatres have been proposed, and serious discussions are going forward which will bring this about."

Sam Wanamaher Executive Director

Tax and charity

A firm of Scottish accountants, possibly the best known north of the Border, have written about my words in The Spectator of July 15 on charitable trusts. You may remember that I suggested that charitable trusts were used by rich men with the help of accommodating trustees as a tax-dodging personal haven and borrowing source. My professional friends in Scotland say that I have fallen flat on my face, since this procedure as a piece of tax avoidance was legislated against as long ago as 1938 and eventually becoming section 451 of the Income Tax Act 1952. They say that if the settlor does borrow, and assuming he pays a commercial rate of interest and makes repayment, the amount of borrowing from a .charitable trust will be liable for income tax on the grossed-up amount. They go on to say that this might result in the combined income and surtax substantially exceeding the amount borrowed.

My illustration in the issue of July 15 left much unsaid. Dear old men using the device of a charitable trust are more tricky than the good simple-minded professional folk in Scotland. They borrow through back-to-back loans with a small and friendly merchant bank, and probably take up the loan through some private company they own which uses the money they have borrowed — leaving a too confused and blurred trail for our Scottish accountants or the Revenue to track. Those who believe in the equity of capitalism must let it work. The tax system should not distort market forces. Neither charities nor institutions should be free from taxation. Such freedom gives them a stock market licence beyond the immediate value of the tax they are dodging.

The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers while provoking the smallest possible amount of hissing.

— Jean Baptiste Colbert.