Correcting the Evening Standard

Today I made a proposal for the form of CGT changes the Coalition government might introduce. As yet there are no government proposals, as I imagine they are thinking through how best to change it.

The Evening Standard expressed interest in the scheme I had outlined. I explained it to them and explained it was a contribution to the debate before legislation and before government proposals. How on earth they think this makes me a “rebel” I have no idea. There is currently no government proposal to rebel against. There does have to be proper debate of ideas and proposals before turning to draft legislation. Newspapers should grow up,and stop making divisions up.

If I were ever to lead a rebellion against a government proposal I would make that clear at the time of marshalling support, and brief the press accordingly.

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15 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    The proverbial story looking for a problem methinks

  2. Michele
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    and I hope to God you would talk to David Cameron about your views first ….

  3. Mark Wadsworth
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Fair response, but I still think you're not quite right.

    The CGT rate on business assets, shares etc should be nil% (profits have already been taxed and what is being sold is the value of the after-tax profits); the rate on goods and chattels should be nil% (raises very little anyway); the rate on tax avoidance type assets should be your marginal income tax rate (whatever that is); and the rate on land and buildings should either be 100% or else other parts of the tax system should be tweaked to abolish property price bubbles for good, seeing all the damage that they cause, and if windfall gains from properties are eliminated, whether first, second or third homes, then the CGT rate is irrelevant).

  4. Acorn
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Some time back there was a proposal that there should be a statutory right of reply in the print and broadcast media. If the media headlined with an "agent provocateur" piece, then the same space and time would be made available for a reply from the target.

    The target would have the right to reply or just leave a large blank space in the same position of the newspaper or an equivalent silent blank screen on BBC News, for instance. I still think this is a good idea.

    JR, I think you are destined to become a rebel. You have done your bit for the party;(personal ref left out-ed) Just continue telling it; like it has got to be told.

    You know; I know; and all the rest of us Redwoodians know, that £6 billion is f*** all in our debt and deficit nightmare. We have to chop £200 billion out of government spending – at 2010 prices – over, at most, ten years. Four to five years would be better, but we have to be pragmatic.

    Capital gains tax does not generate a lot of cash, probably £3 billion this year. A lot less than the £7 billion a couple of years back when it was locked to income tax rates. The same goes for Inheritance Tax, including the remnants of Capital Transfer Tax and Estate Duty that will yield about 2 to 3 billion. They are peanuts compared to a current 2010 fiscal deficit of around £170 billion.

    You know; I know and next doors dog knows, that the only way to get this level of cost reduction is in welfare benefits and the NHS. The state has to stop being the purchaser and the provider of services like education and health. A basic provision from the state for these services is all that can be afforded. Education vouchers and a basic life saving health insurance. Individuals buy their own bells and whistles on top of these.

  5. Frugal Dougal
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    It looks as though the Evening Standard is indulging in the classic Murdoch trick of making up the news in the absence of the real thing.

  6. Mark
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I guess the Press isn't used to the idea of debate leading to sensible policy: they're used to seeing a fait accompli smuggled through the EU and a Statutory Instrument, or a policy announcement from a Downing Street hack to them first and Parliament later (if at all). Most of them have lost the art of examining a policy for its impact, preferring to spout a line to take spoon fed by some government insider.

  7. Antisthenes
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    As a grown up and a politician to boot you of all people should know that journalists do not want to report reasoned objective thought that does not sell papers. Sensationalism and controversy is the name of the game for them the more sensational and controversial the more papers they sell. What honourable people consider to be gross manipulation of the truth is only poetic license to them. Labour has long recognised this fatal flaw inherent in the type of journalism practiced in modern times and have exploited it for all it's worth. Compared to Labour the Conservatives are babes in arms when it comes to using this modern form of journalism to their advantage. Wise up play Labour at their own game, unfortunately it means lowering yourselves to their level, discarding Queensbury rules and throwing away your gloves and indulging in bare knuckle street fighting.

  8. Simon2
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    In any country with an acknowledged property shortage and affordability problem , property speculation and multiple property ownership should be discouraged by the taxation system. Why anyone would disagree with 100% tax , never mind just 40% tax on multiple home CGT , escapes me.

  9. ps
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    It would be a great shame if your excellent proposal Re CGT is torpedoed by the evening standard.

    Perhaps they don't appreciate the reasoning in your suggestion that there are long term benefits (I.E higher tax take in the long run) from having a fairer CGT tax.

    I am sure the members of the government will view the proposal in a more positive light.

    • Sam
      Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Having bought several rental properties from Taxed Income to supplement my pension , being taxed at 50% on a forced sale in the event of needing nursing home care seems totally contrary to the conservative doctrine of taking personal responsibility

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    The media seem to have nothing better to do than speculate on what taxes are going to be increased and look for reasons to suggest that this coalition can't last after just one week. The country has an economic crisis a new government trying to deal with it and all the media can do is play silly games.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Agreed

  11. JM
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The desire of the press to find splits and departures by one or other of the Conservatives or Liberals from their manifesto at every turn demonstrates a) how juvenille the press are and b) how debased debated has become under the previous government's iron control. Remember Campbell's famous grid?

    We have become unused to political debate. Anyone who ventures an opinion not 100% in line with the party line is branded as a rebel. It is claimed that the party is split. Rubbish.

    It is a good thing that people debate and disagree. It might actually improve the quality of the legislation at the end of the day. (Perish the thought!) Ramming through legislation without debate as the last government did simply produces bad laws. If the government were to lose a vote or two would it matter? No. Life would go on.

    I hope that Cameron/Clegg will encourage full debate in Parliament of their proposals and if the government has to think again, say that it is good and healthy for democracy and acknowledge that government is not the fount of all wisdom and knowledge and that others do have informed opinions to bring to bear, which should be taken into account.

    Now there's a thought!

  12. alisonfi
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I voted Conservative and always have. I'd like your opinion please Mr Redwood.

    Married, mid thirties work in London, the wealth generating sector of the economy, on two very modest middle incomes most of which go on rent.

    My husband is putting in 12 hour days 7 days a week to be able to help us save for a long sought FIRST property. The deposit for a modest home first home will be at least £25k and like many others we don’t have recourse to wealthy parents. We will not benefit, from what I can tell, from any of the tax situations being discussed but are of course angrily willing to be pay our share of the tax debt Labour has bequeathed on a spending spree that we certainly didn’t benefit from one bit in the 13 years Labour were in charge. Property speculation has added nothing of value to the economy except misery for people like us. It could be argued that it ties up capital that could be invested more productively, creates no jobs, generates no wealth and most certainly has pushed up house prices for first time buyers – meanwhile buy to let landlords charge us the earth to pay off their mortgages and give them handsome capital allegedly for their ‘pensions’ if that is indeed what they are using them for. They would be better invested and encouraged to be invested elsewhere. They simply extract rents from the poorest. At one point we were on a low income and struggled to keep up with rent. If people want to engage in it then fine, but they shouldn't be rewarded with huge tax breaks which affect hard working savers like me and my husband desperate to get on the property ladder. Not while the property market is so skewed by their investments and other issues. It could be argued that tax breaks should go to entrepreneurs, people who start businesses, generate wealth and create jobs. If this continues we will be forced to take our efforts (and talents) abroad- as using Cameron’s election phrase – we cannot go on like this.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    John

    Good to see you on the Daily Politics show this lunchtime (20th May) being able to give your views on CGT, also good to hear you say the media needs to grow up (calling you a rebel, and asking if you were a rebel), clearly you have rattled a few cages, from the brief comments by interviewers, that perhaps you did not hear after your interview.

    In a way you were also given support by Jeffrey Archer in the studio, who also used very forceful language to tell the media and the presenters in question to back off trying to use every opportunity to attempt to drive a wedge between the coalition partners, and give them a chance to succeed.

    Let us hope the Government listens to you well thought out and commonsense proposals.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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