Our history correspondent reports.
Archaeologists were not surprised when about £350K in Roman coins from about 270AD were found in Bath. Around that time, in what we now call England, there was a top rate of tax equivalent to 50p in today's money and many wealthy Romans came up with schemes to hide their wealth from the then chancellor Gordonius Parsimonius. This has resulted in a number of what archaeologists call stashes being created and later uncovered.
Significantly, a few centuries later following a change of government, the new Chancellor Georgius Verigenerus, lowered the top rate of tax to the equivalent of 45p. It has been noted that since that date very few stashes have been discovered leading us to believe that Verigenerus' strategy of lowering the top rate of tax led to the almost complete cessation of this early form of tax evasion.
Critics of this style of pandering to the rich point out that it didn't take long after the 45p rate was introduced for the Roman Empire to go into terminal decline and external investment in Britain dried up. Roman encampment after Roman encampment closed their gates throwing local workers into long term unemployment.
Fortunately most of our senior politicians, having been to a good public school and a select university, have a good grounding in history and are unlikely to allow this unfortunate chapter of our history to repeat itself.