Don’t tax the email

1 April 2012

Sometimes you need to get in your retaliation early.  The answer to anyone in government who thinks we need an email tax is No, No, No.

These things begin for the most plausible of reasons. The Business Department is saying emails are now doing huge damage to the public investment in the Royal Mail. As they grapple with the problem with higher stamp charges, the wish is to hit the free private sector rival with a tax to show that emails are not harmless or costless competitors.

I think maybe the idea started in the Climate Change department . Apparently regular use of emails and websites means people are keeping on their computers for many more hours, so much more power is used with all the consequent carbon dioxide effects that produces at the power stations.

Meanwhile the Treasury never needs much encouraging when someone suggests a new and very buoyant source of revenue, especially one where there is a clear record of use which you cannot erase unless you smash your computer hard drive. Even Number 10 is said to be considering it, despite the obvious downside of its unpopularity, because they hope it can be angled in a way which stops so much unhelpful blogging and comment. Wouldn’t people think twice before being rude about the government if there was a tax on it?

I guess Ministers know it would be unpopular. I expect they will deny it if asked prematurely.  They will probably say it is the privileged who are digitally enriched and dominate in the email stakes. The very poor after all may be on the wrong side of the digital divide and will not have to pay a penny of this tax. They will also doubtless have some large figures for the amount of carbon they could save by getting the nation to ration their use of the email and websites.

 

Ministers will wish, of course, to keep quiet the growing pressure for an EU directive regulating email traffic on a cross border basis and endorsing a tax on them, as they appreciate this would get in the way of a fair hearing for this idea amongst Eurosceptic newspapers and voters in the UK.

I am afraid I am supporter of free speech in this case. Free speech should mean just that. I do not want to have to pay a levy every time I send an email or put out a blog entry. I invite my readers to join me in getting in our retaliation  fast. Today’s the day to do it, don’t put it off til tomorrow.  I am very grateful to a Parliamentary colleague for giving me the tip off about this idea.

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142 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    That’s as likely as the notion the Euro will survive – or perhaps that is a way of raising enough trillions to allow the Euro to survive.

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      This would put the nail in the coffin of this wretched coalition government. In stupidity it ranks next the the April Fool joke this morning that pensioners would be required to qualify for their weekly pension at the Post Office by spending 5 minutes on a treadmill.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    This is yet another absurd suggestion, the email electricity used is already taxed anyway (and is highly overpriced due to the green religion anyway). This on top of the increases to airline taxes and the NHS prescription fee rise to £7.65 coming into effect today (needless to say only for England). Interestingly most of the common medicines only cost a few pennies, so the government (or someone) make a huge profit on them anyway. I assume the profit is sent to Scotland or the EU or something.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Born yesterday.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Alas not.

  3. Goodnight Vienna
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    An April Fool, surely? If I were taxed every time I made a rude comment about the government I would be impoverished. Oh, wait…

    Reply: The post does clearly display the date at the top for a reason

    • Goodnight Vienna
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Precisely, but it seems not everyone ‘gets it’. Well done 🙂

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Alas with this daft government, it is far too close to reality to give me much chance of not being fooled.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        Some tax on providers to stop or deter spam, fishing, and fraudulent emails (perhaps going to some good cause) might not be such a bad idea.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I see that wiki has a list of “notable” Oxford PPE people. It makes for grim and depressing reading. Should someone (perhaps as young as 18) who decides to study such a course (one that seems to be mainly a training for exploiting the state sector for personal advantage) really be considered suitable to become an MP or public “servant”?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_with_PPE_degrees_from_Oxford

        George Gardiner, former British Conservative MP and Christopher Hitchins seemed to be some of the very few sensible exceptions to the rule alas both now deceased. The rest of the list is very depressing indeed, almost a personification of what is wrong with Britain.

        • forthurst
          Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          I notice Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit infamy is on the list but then he previously had acquired a maths degree so it harder to accredit blame.

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            He is a good guy too is he not – I missed him so that is three.

    • MickC
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but serious blogs are for serious discussion-just as serious newspapers should be. Discussion can undoubtedly be with humour-but best if its not of the junior variety.

      We have jokes enough with this so-called Conservative Prime Minister-and he’s not funny either.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Well stop being a killjoy then, seriously

        • MickC
          Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, can’t help it-the current state of the nation has killed off my sense of humour!

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Perhaps a better April fool would have been:- Cameron and Osborne decide to make moral case for smaller government, lower taxes and real private sector growth.

      But then perhaps that would be too obviously false.

      • zorro
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        You beat me to it, I was going to post something along those lines earlier.

        zorro

    • Techno
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Do a search on “email tax” and you will see that it has been proposed in the past, and not on April Fools Day.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      There was a good story that the government had decided to chuck all the previous wisdom and established knowledge about how to run the infrastructure of state education and was running a cultural revolution to get rid of anyone who suggested that melting down all their teaspoons at once might not be the best idea for this country.

      Roll on April 2nd.

    • Acorn
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      A very foolish comment for a statesman like you JR!!!, you are not the Cabinet Secretary yet. Already down here in the New Forest, we have long queues outside Internet Café’s. Panicked persons are cruising the streets looking for unprotected Wi-Fi Routers and BTFON networks they can hack.

      The Food Standards Agency has turned up here at our local petrol station (he is about 142nd in the queue at the moment). Cos a lady (33rd in queue) has complained that the pasty she wants to buy is full of small holes and is probably full of worms. We told her that the holes were cos Jerry, the attendant, keeps poking his electronic thermometer in it, to establish if he has to charge VAT on it. Temperature currently 21.25467 degrees Celsius. Jerry reckons it will be VAT free by the time the guy the lady paid to hold her place in the petrol queue, gets to a petrol pump.

      Hope you are enjoying yet another holiday, we are looking forward to next weeks panic any idea what Cam is thinking up? Got to go now cos there is a heated argument over how full the government wants our petrol tanks to be. Jerry says 2/3; Sid says 3/4 but he will ring Francis Maude to find out.

    • Bernard JUBY
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Whether it’s a “poissin d’avril” or not the PO has just shot itself in the foot by increasing postage rates – thus giving electronic forms of contact a huge shot in the arm.

  4. Gary
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    The brain dead hand of govt.

  5. Martyn
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Nice try, John. Very good, in fact, because taxing an email is just the sort of stupidity one expects from government these days….

    Of course, I am mindful of it being the 1st of April!

  6. stred
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Good one. But dangerous- some Civil idiot will believe the line that emails produce more CO2 than Royal Mail lorries and think it would be a useful source of income.

  7. Mark
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I do hope its an April fool. Unfortunately it’s just he sort of daft big government thinking that takes hold, alongside single currencies, man made global warming and one size fits all education. Has anyone in Whitehal ever heard of unintended consequences?

  8. Alan Radford
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I understand that the new tax is to be based on the word count in each e-mail, and that the tax is to apply to text messages as well. This is an unacceptable policy. Many older people will be unfairly hit as they always like to write words out in full, and use proper punctuation, capital letters and apostrophes in all the right places. This will only encourage the further demise of our language as youth develop an ever more condensed and indecipherable paralell ‘text-speak’.
    Outrgd & &gry
    Tnbrdg Wlls

    • Nick Heath
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Like +1

  9. lojolondon
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Nice one John – you got me thinking there!!

    Just on the Royal Mail – I guess you know the whole problem is that the profitable business, parcel and bulk mail parts were given away to Deutsche Post, and the unprofitable part of the business was kept because no-one wanted it. So at the time we could have predicted that this would happen – Deutsche exports profits to pay tax in Germany, and the UK taxpayer has to pay a steadily increasing subsidy on post.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      lojolondon: “Deutsche exports profits to pay tax in Germany, and the UK taxpayer has to pay a steadily increasing subsidy on post.”

      Wait a minute, is there a pattern here?

      Wasn’t there something similar with Bombardier and Siemens?

      A manufacturing company employing people in the United Kingdom is discriminated against for a ‘European’ company.

  10. zorro
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    John, you will tip lifelogic over the edge….:-)

    Zorro

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      It’s Sunday. Bach and cliffs.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I will not go over the edge of the cliffs, but will take a walk on them, even though the early summer seems to have gone.

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          I can highly recommend the Military Wives choir’s album ‘In our Dreams’. Absolutely beautiful.

    • BobE
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic please buy a blood pressure monitor …….. 😉

  11. Greg Tingey
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    “1 April 2012”

    And some stupid idiots …. Gary / lifelogic / Duyfken ——- fell for it …..

    • Duyfken
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I beg your pardon, Greg, but I most certainly did not fall for it – and don’t be so superior please!

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I did indeed fall for it. But, in mitigation, it is not remotely unlikely with this lot in power. After all there are proposals for a financial transaction tax, a tax on nice views, a tax on bins, a minimum price on alcohol, a tax on c02 (breathing), a tax on methane (farting), a tax on above ambient temperature pies ……. There is nothing the state will not tax (or licence) if they think they can get away with it – justified by the quack green science or health and safety or some other ruse.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Even a tax on TV’s to subsidise BBC propaganda.

    • Duyfken
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      No apology from Mr Tingey I note!

  12. chris g
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Very funny april fool. I can’t believe people are responding as though a serious prospect!

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      chris g: “I can’t believe people are responding as though a serious prospect!

      Looked at your internet provider bill lately? VAT inclusive.

      You already pay tax on the emails you send.

  13. Matthew Dear
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Duyfken, lifelogic: you need to get more sleep!

    • Duyfken
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      And so should you my dear Matthew; it seems you cannot do irony.

  14. ROGER THE PILOT
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

    • uanime5
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      As long as you can fool some of the people all the time you’ll be always be able to find work as a consultant.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    John,
    You need to be careful; this government is out to tax whatever it can and maybe your April fool piece will have directed them to look at how they can tax internet use. On the other hand, they seem to ignore your views so perhaps we can relax!

  16. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    John,

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

    On a serious issue……Public investment in Royal mail is undermined by so many government departments using private postal services, rather than the one they own. It also undermines UKPLC because most private postal services are foreign owned unless the government sees the EUSSR as a single nation.

    This is akin to Justin King (ceo Sainsburys)shopping at Asda.

  17. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Love it!

  18. Anthony Harrison
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Nice joke, Mr Redwood! Unfortunately Royal Mail Letters got its April Fool joke in early, with the planned rise of a First Class letter to 60p etc. This more than makes up for our not actually having to submit to an “email tax”…
    I see little future for Royal Mail at this rate: its charges rise inexorably as its service goes down. In my not especially rural location midway between Exeter and Plymouth and very close to major road & rail links, both the delivery and collection of post are tardy and erratic. Thanks goodness for eamil….

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      The should charge the going rate for deliveries to the remote part of Scotland say £15 and less for say London 20p to reflect true costs.

  19. Steve Cox
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Happy April 1st!

  20. Helen
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s one way of restricting the activities of various Campaign Groups.

    Of course everyone can get round this by using the various “rooms” and messaging systems which will spring up on the net to bypass the email tax.

  21. Alex
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I preferred the April Fool joke that was published a bit early, the one about making poor people pay more to have a drink. That was hilarious.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is as absurd as Ted Heath’s insane £2 per week pay controls and comes, I suspect, from a similarly irrational mind.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Ah yes, I remember those wage controls, cannot remember who was responsible, as I think many tried.

        Thats when many started to get company cars, and funny job titles (promotion), in order to circumvent it all.

        Also remember Mr Wilsons (think it was him) limit as to how much money you could take on holiday, £25.00 seems to ring a bell if you were going abroad, no matter for how long !

        Amazing some of the policies of past governments, as you quite rightly say nothing, absolutely nothing can be ruled out for tax or control purposes.

        Reply: I think the limit was £50

  22. Tedgo
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I assume this is a 1st of April thingy, but one should not give the government ideas.

    I am sure technology would soon get round such a tax, by going offshore rather than handling emails through your own ISP.

    I assume that the Royal Mail’s recent large price increases are a result that they have not been able to substantially increase the contract price with the likes of TNT. In effect the public are subsidising these companies.

    I never understood why the Royal Mail ever undertook to do the last mile delivery for those companies, if they had refused then it would have been much more difficult for those companies to establish themselves.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Royal Mail had no choice in the matter, nor can they decide what to charge.

      • Tedgo
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        So Joe Public is obviously heavily subsidising business mail.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Think of the public sector boost to the economy. We could employ lots more people in a new department, the Asset Recovery Scheme Executive agency to help implement a new Carbon Reduction Asset Protection scheme. That will help growth.

      Zorro

  23. Richard1
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The alarming thing about this is it isn’t that far-fetched. In particular the link to the climate change dept, which is pursuing precisely this kind of policy.

  24. Sue
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The sad thing about this article is, that with this distinctly unconservative government, one can never be quite sure whether it’s an April Fool joke or not!

  25. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I would like to toast the email tax with chilled champagne, but the chill-levy being introduced by the government (the BBC this morning tell me so as to socially balance the hot pasty tax) means I can no longer afford it!

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      You have to become an MP then Champagne it is subsidised by taxpayers.

  26. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Tabloid press announce better times for fanciers as email tax boosts pigeon post.

  27. Bernard Otway
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    John I asked your opinion on Simon Hefer’s piece in yesterday’s Mail on saturday,and then read Max Hastings’ two pages in the same paper,along virtually the same lines.
    You have not answered my question on Mr Hefer in the piece on polls,will you now answer the same question on Max Hastings piece AND Simon Hefer’s.Despite all your protestations
    there are I believe many Galloway like events that now will happen. MARK MY WORDS !!!!
    AND AND AND some brave conservative MP’s will totally rebel as they have no alternative
    other than oblivion come the next election,they have nothing to lose and will realise this.

    Reply: I had not read Simon’s piece when I posted your last one. I have now. I agree with some of what Simon says, and have set out in public and in private to Mr Cameron what I think now needs to be done to right the economy and to deal with the ever growing powers of the EU.

  28. Epigenes
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Aha, Mr Redwood, Sir Tim Berners – Lee could have patented the Internet and Email, presumably with some royalties going to his employer, CERN a government sponsored organisation. So your suggestion is not so far fetched.

    Imagine his wealth if he had charged one US cent per Email. Approximately 294 billion are sent every day. Assume that halves because of the charge (to, say 150 billion). That equates to USD1.5 billion/day = USD0.5475 trillion/year.

    He would pass Bill Gates (alleged) wealth of USD34 billion in 23 days.

    This income would clear the deficit and government debt (1.5 trillion?) in less than three years.

    I think you may have opened a Pandora’s box.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Webb in which this blog resides. He did not invent the internet or email. For the fact that he did not charge us all for his invention, we can thank both him and the fact that he was an Englishman. There is a tendency by some to fix all scientific advances in a particular sphere on one individual: thus Einstein was solely responsible for all advances in Physics of the 20th century; not true, see ‘How Einstein ruined Physics’ by Roger Schlafly ISBN 1461120195.

      I think this proposal makes a lot of sense. The existence of the web and email makes the job of keeping us safe a lot harder. All the work by the security services has to be paid for. Furthermore their computers have to be very powerful initiating the oxidation of enormous amounts of carbon which is all our fault for disbelieving official versions of history and engaging in other forms of thoughcrime.

      • Epigenes
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        I’ve never read so much garbage in all my life, pal. Everything in your post is factually incorrect.

        I think you are on the wrong blog, pal.

        Try Komment Macht Frei – they love garbage. Even better, try Guido Fawkes and see what response you get.

        Do not lecture me in physics because you are not qualified in the subject and do not know any physics.

        OK. I get it – it is another April fool.

        http://www.order-order.com/

        • forthurst
          Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          “I think you are on the wrong blog, pal.”

          I’m interested in British politics with which I believe this blog deals almost exclusively, whereas from your blog references you would appear to be more interested in the politics of somewhere else.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        To describe the world wide web as “An Invention” is a bit of a stretch. It is just a continuation of sending data by cable, visual light, modem or RF wireless which has been slowly refined and improved, in many ways and with the hugely better electronics and communication technology available. This over the many years since the very early days of morse code, radio, telephones, faxes …. – more of an evolution.

        Just a shame government has in general evolved in reverse to steal the money generated by all the better technology.

  29. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Broadsheet press warn snails to strike in protest about increased workload following introduction of email tax.

  30. Brian Taylor
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I will mention this in my next email to my MP, you mention carbon tax in relation to this tax on emails, perhaps I can draw your attention to recent election in Queensland the winning party promised to and has started to cut all spending carbon reduction put in place by the previous party that was led by Anna Bligh.

    I think the first party here to put this in its manifesto will win by a margin!

    • Mark
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      That was some landslide: to go from a chamber of 51 Labour, 34 Liberal National to 7 Labour, 78 Liberal National in one election must be some sort of record – partly aided by AV, of course.

  31. Richard Cavin
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I suppose this will be called the ShamCamTax?

  32. Bob
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    You are very naughty, this will just put ideas into their devious heads.
    They don’t need any encouragement.

    How about a BBC tax. Say 30% of the licence fee money to be diverted to the NHS.

  33. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Please stop giving them ideas!

  34. colliemum
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Nice one, John!

    I especially liked the paragraph about the Climate Change Dept. starting this idea.

    A proper April Fool joke needs to be probable (unlike, say, introducing a proposal to tax the faeries at the bottom of the garden …), and we all know that any department ‘working’ on climate change does come up with April-foolish ideas, no matter what the actual calendar date.

    Congratulations for an excellent 1st April post!

  35. Bazman
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Is anyone against paying for newspapers even though free ones are to be had? An e mail tax is inevitable and it is scientifically provable that the more letters per e-mail is directly related to the amount of electricity consumed by a computer and with laws being proposed to save e-mails for security purposes a tax will quite easily be calculable. The amount per letter will be the main question. 144 words is enough to say anything really so will prevent wittering gossip and will be real solution to the problem of spam e-mails which are in danger of making e-mail useless.

    • Mark
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      140 characters is enough. A Twitter tax for next year?

  36. DaveK
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    John

    Nice to see a “green” post, hope you didn’t turn all your lights off last night though.

  37. alan jutson
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Think I will pass on your “e” mail tax.

    But tell me, is the report in the Mail on Sunday (today’s date) likely to be factual, that the European Court of Justice has ruled that food bought for immediate consumtion, or eaten outside of the premises, has to be rated Zero Vat.

    The reason given: That the service provided is minimal, as it is simply a sale of food !

    It is reported that an American food chain which has 1,400 franchises in the UK , has a test case before the Courts in July of this year.
    If the test case rules against Customs and Excise, then Billions in tax will need to be refunded.

    Food for thought.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      This is more likely to be an accurate summary of a complicated story:

      http://www.eureferendum.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/making-mockery-of-themselves.html

      “But, as with the postal charges, the MSM simply doesn’t get the EU dimension, failing to detect that the anomalies on hot food charging had to be dealt with, because of an ECJ judgement that could cost him billions if not addressed.”

      “Cutting to the chase on this bundle of cases, the judgement on 10 March last year ruled that the supply of food or meals freshly prepared for immediate consumption from snack stalls or mobile snack bars or in cinema foyers is a supply of goods rather than service – as long as the supply of services preceding and accompanying the supply of the food were not predominant.

      Ostensibly, this did not apply to the UK – or so HMRC said at the time. Yet the Fish Fryers Federation and others disagreed, because the essence of the ECJ judgement was that they were supplying goods (as in foodstuffs), not services. And as the UK zero rates food, they were thus salivating at the prospect of a mega-refund.”

      “And there gripped the cold, mindless jaws of the VAT Sixth Directive, of which the ECJ had so cruelly reminded us. To their horror, HMRC have confronted their worst nightmare. If the fish fryers are selling hot food rather than services, and have to charge VAT on it, so does everybody else who sells hot food.”

      To avoid discussing this openly, we now have a successor to Pitt and Gladstone and Disraeli and Churchill and Thatcher instead discussing whether he last bought a hot pasty in Leeds, or was it a sausage roll in Liverpool?

      It’s enough to make you weep.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Dennis

        I see the Sunday Times also has a report on the very same topic today.

        All seems to stem from a case in Germany last year.

        Marie Wolf and Kathryn Cooper (any relation) both reporters suggest that sausage and chip seller Mr Bog, who sold such items from his mobile snack bar, took the EU to court, because he claimed that he was not running a full scale catering service, and he should therefore not pay/charge VAT.

        It is reported he won his case.

        Thus the National Federation of Fish Fryers in the UK are following this up, and have hired KPMG to fight a case on their behalf for a massive refund.

        The Pasty tax.
        The law of unintended consequences.

        The Granny tax
        The tax that lost the next election.

        That was the week that was !

  38. matthu
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    You could also tax every electronic payment, tax every credit card payment and measure and tax every time you switch TV channels (super-tax when you are switching away from the BBC). You could tax every plastic bag (oh wait … ), tax every Mb downloaded over broadband and tax every SMS. It’s also probably not too late to consider a fat cat tax on prople taking funds out of ISAs, a tax on unfilled seats in cars travelling on motorways, a tax on lane-changing or parking in non-council owned car parks. Then you could also consider a tax on newspapers publishing page 3 girls, a tax on dogs walking in public parks, a tax on people walking on beaches, a tax on foreign aeroplanes flying over Europe (oh no, wait – that’s a European competency) and a tax on the air you breathe out.

    The really sad thing is that while some might think these ideas are all part of an elaborate April Fool’s joke they have probably all been considered in all earnestness by the great and the good who spend all of our taxes.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      I hate to disillusion you but there is already a partial tax on parking in non council car parks. My main business office ( which I own) has 4 car parking spaces ( which I also own) I have to pay £600 per year business rates on each of the car park spaces.

      I have also heard of residential parkers who have negotiated use of a business car park ( pub, shop, hotel,club etc) also being charged business rates to park

      • APL
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        libertarian: ” ( which I also own)”

        No one owns anything in the Socialist soviet republic of once great britian. At best you rent from the state.

        Try not paying your council tax. See how long you retain your liberty!

      • matthu
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes – there is also already a tax in certain areas on using public parks, there is already an attempt by the EU at taxing foreign airlines flying over european air space, and there is already a tax on CO2 (ther air we breathe out) introduced under various guises.

        There is no direct tax on investments held in ISAs, but the very low interest rate engineered by the government/BOE is tantamount to another tax on savers.

        So, no – nothing would surprise me, even if it were not technically feasible.

  39. Mike Stanley
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Very good AF John, but have you made the mistake of giving someone in Government the idea?

  40. Gary
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    What these buffoons don’t realise is that they will never get it right to control email in order to tax it. It will be like herding cats. People will use peer to peer messaging, encrypted boards, instant messaging, images, and 100 other methods before the bureaucrat even gets out of bed.

    They are fools, and people are sick of them. That is what Bradford is about.

  41. James Matthews
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    This year’s April fool. Next year’s budget headline?

  42. APL
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    JR: “Ministers will wish, of course, to keep quiet the growing pressure for an EU ..”

    Ho ho, Mr Redwood, you are a wag.

    The problem with modern Britain administered as we are from a foreign power, is that satire doesn’t do justice to our predicament. We are actually living a Kafkaesque existence.

    Take the pastie tax for example, it is in fact a measure to bring into line, from an EU perspective, the VAT rate hot foodstuffs. The change now has been introduced in an attempt to avoid being dragged before the ECJ.

    Won’t hear that from the ‘Camborne’ creature though, it is too busy disguising the influence of the EU within the UK.

    They prefer to take the ‘political hit’ on the UK domestic scene rather than simply tell the truth to the voting population, the British EU administration have changed the VAT rate because the EU tells us we must.

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the joke, but this tax has already been mooted in all seriousness.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_taxes#E-mail_tax

    “The United Nations has in the past considered proposing an e-mail tax, in an effort to raise funds to boost Internet technology access to poor countries. Citing a “knowledge gap” between the United States and underdeveloped countries, proponents of e-mail taxes believe that its potential redistributive effects make it an ideal tax for implementation on a global scale.”

    http://www.psocommons.org/policyandinternet/vol4/iss1/art7/

    “The European Union (EU) wants to finance part of the EU budget with a European tax which citizens would pay directly to the Union. One option is a communication tax.”

  44. Gary
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    April fools or not. They have a stated purpose to control the internet. That is what SOPA and about 5 other bills are for.

  45. Bernard
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    You joke about an email tax but……
    I would not be at all surprised to hear, that somewhere behind the scenes, that someone is cosidering a ‘Broadband Tax’.
    It is only a matter of time.
    They are waiting until virtually every household has broadband, then abolish TV licence and introduce £200 BB Licence fee.
    No more free emails.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Bernard: “No more free emails.”

      Bernard, don’t know if you have looked at your current broad band connection bill, but mine has a 17.5% charge for VAT.

      Use of the Internet is already taxed.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        APL

        How did you get away with 17.5% VAT mine is 20%.

      • Bernard
        Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Very true APL.
        But very few things don’t carry VAT.
        There is, after all, even VAT on our toilet paper, so I guess you say, we are taxed every time we use it!
        Remember that tomorrow morning!
        Cheers…..B

  46. Roger Black
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Nice one, John. We are living in scary times when it’s hard to decide whether stories like this are April Fools Day jokes or not . . .

  47. David Walley
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Whilst this is intended as a calendar-related article (i.e. an April’s Fool joke), the concept of charging for emails has actually been seriously discussed for several years.

    These earlier proposals had nothing to do with AGW/climate change, or boosting Government’s empty coffers, but were a plausible plan for attacking the volume of spam on the internet.

    Most (possibly all) spam originates from the computers of “innocent” users, which have been subverted to evil purposes by malware, trojans, etc. The users may be unaware of this, or may simply not care about it. If they were hit by a significant charge for sending out these emails, then they would become aware and have a powerful incentive to stop it, and improve protection to prevent a recurrence.

    Whilst I sympathise with those objects (i.e. the spam-reduction, rather than AGW/Government funds shortage), I strongly disagree with the proposal – it adds a layer of bureaucracy to the system, and I don’t recall seeing the practical problems addressed e.g. who collects the money, how does the victim check the charge, what would be the dispute procedure, etc. I also don’t recall these proposals ever indicating who would receive the proceeds of this tax, or what it would be used for.

    My instincts are for tax reduction and simplification – I believe adding new taxes should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, and I don’t think this one qualifies.

  48. David B
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks John that made me smile.

  49. Steven Granger
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    A hilarious joke John and I would laugh if it were not for the fact that the real joke is on us. Rather than this poor attempt at comedy, your time might be better spent pointing out the real reason for the drastic rise in postal charges and for the loss in value of the state’s investment in the post office – namely EU directives. Your recent article on the “pasty tax” might have mentioned the EU angle, namely that Osborne effectively had no choice but to impose the tax as, otherwise, he would have had to have removed Vat from takeaway food which would have cost billions. As a “prominent Eurosceptic” I would have thought you would have been falling over yourself to point out the impotence of our government on these and other matters. But alas, not a word. John, you are to Euroscepticism what Dale Winton is to Rugby League.

    • APL
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Steven Granger: “your time might be better spent pointing out the real reason for the drastic rise in postal charges and for the loss ”

      John Redwood, like the rest of the Tory party are not in the business of exposing just how far the tentacles of the European Unions extend into the governance of the United Kingdom.

      His job is to provide a distraction, so that we all look elsewhere, anywhere else, but at the cancerous growth that afflicts all of us.

      After all, when we are governed from Brussels, it doesn’t really matter which cipher is installed in Westminster, the faces may change, but the pension are still padded at our expense and the poor MPs continue to draw their very handsome salaries also at our expense, for …… concealing the truth.

      Reply: What nonsense. I regularly point out how much of our law now comes from the EU, which is why I voted against joining in the first place.

      • APL
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        So, Mr Redwood, according to the Daily Mail it seems the Tory administration you support has come up with the wonderful idea of archiving all internet traffic in order to snoop on the citizens of the United Kingdom.

        Do you think this is an initiative the Tories have come up with all by their lonesome? Just asking because they opposed a similar idea when in opposition.

    • zorro
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      John is as inextricably liked to Euroscepticism, as I am sure Dale Winton would be to rugby league if he was to find himself in the middle of a scrum!

      zorro

  50. Alex
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Another hilarious April Fool spoof is at
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745

    At least I assume it is; to assume otherwise would require that the party who promised to reduce the scope and power of the state had actually turned out to be even more authoritarian and illiberal than the last administration.

    • Martyn
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Strangely, perhaps sinisterly, this move to enable GCHQ to monitor every piece of internet traffic (senders, recievers, subject etc) will provide the government with a super method of applying a new tax to emails.

      In a statement, the Home Office said “action was needed to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes”. What a load of cobblers – in one place they claim it is for anti-terrorist use and here it is to do with technology. Be very sure that if it goes ahead an email tax could very well come into being. April 1st or not….

      • APL
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Martyn: “What a load of cobblers .. ”

        Yep. But guess what?

        Surprise!!!

        Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union has been waiting in the wings since 15 March 2006.

        So now we know why Blairs administration tried something similar, that failed and why the Tories, supposedly ideologically at opposite poles from the Labour party are it appears going to try the same thing again.

        The British political process is a hoax and a fraud, it’s the European Union. But according to Mr Redwood, there is no interest in the EU on the doorstep.

        Well we know why, obligations foisted on us six years ago by the EU are obediently implemented by the British government despite the wishes of the British electorate.

        This ain’t democracy. It’s a fraud.

        Reply: As you should know by now from my blog and from the speeches I make in the Commons, I am trying to raise awareness of the great power the EU now wields over us. I also need to explain to you why many MPs think they can largely ignore the issue. In the last four canvassing sessions I have undertaken on the doorstep I have only had one mention of the EU.

        • APL
          Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          JR: “I am trying to raise awareness of the great power the EU now wields over us.”

          I for one would be a little more supportive of you if you didn’t appear to be trying to minimise the impact the EU has on us through its various programs.

          Anti competition regulations leading to British manufacturing operations being discriminated against in favor of German manufacturers (in this case Bombardier and Siemens).

          Or the HS2 link which seems to have an overarching European Union plan that happens to coincide with the proposals that, according to you the British government have entirely voluntarily adopted themselves.

          And now we are to be subjected to STAZI style surveillance at the behest of the EUropean Union, but dressed up as an UK government initiative.

          And the British government are colluding in the pretense that this idea is theirs!

          And when one observes just how far the rotten hand of the European Union has extended into the entrails of the United Kingdom governance, with the ready acceptance of the Political class, is it any wonder that people hold the political class in utter contempt?

  51. Dan Course
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Good April fools:P

  52. Susan
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Happy April fools day Mr Redwood.

    I hope you will not mind if I make a couple of comments which are off topic.

    Firstly I wish people would stop saying the SNP are winning in Scotland because the Scottish are so disillusioned with the three main parties. They voted for Mr Salmond for a combination of reasons none of which had much to do with this. Alex Salmond was able to whip up hatred towards the English by repeating ill informed history and untruths about about the finances flowing Scotlands way. The Scottish also thought that Mr. Salmond would be able to squeeze more money out of the UK Government under the threat of leaving the Union. Alex Salmond is pulling Scotland backwards in most ways by making the Country more insular and divided. Scotland has actually had nothing to grumble about in this Union or the treatment it has received from any of the main parties who have all fallen over themselves to keep Scotland happy.

    Secondly I cannot for the life of me understand why there is this battle between UKIP and those Conservatives which are against the EU. Surely if both see that the most important issue facing the UK is getting out of the EU or at least curtailing their power over Britain they should work together to achieve this. It seems ironic in British politics that people who are allies in the same cause are enemies as well.

    Lastly the George Galloway result should not be applauded it is a sign that England is potentially becoming a divided Country and that people like this can exploit this division. There can be much worse things than having a PM who is out of touch, this can be put right but other things cannot.

  53. David John Wilson
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    While I realize the seriousness of this blog I would actually support such a move. A tax of 0.01p on each email sent would cost me less than£1 a year. However most of the emails that I receive are unwanted and have been sent to thousands of people. I would gladly pay a few pounds a year to reduce the number that I receive.

    • Steve Tierney
      Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Good god.

  54. Ralph McHendry
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Nice try, Mr Redwood, but the date gave it away. Or did it??

  55. Credible
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    More relevent is the legislation to allow our emails, phone calls, text mesasages and internet usage to be monitored.
    I thought this government voted against that when in opposition.
    Is this really what Conservatives want?
    This government is full of liars

  56. John B
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I am conscious it is 01 April… and I have just read about the tax on chilled Champagne over at Daily Mail on-line, but since it is hard these days to separate what passes for political thought and a joke, clever people can turn somebody’s PC into a spambot, or hijack their email address book and send emails out without the PC owner’s knowledge.

    If an email tax is introduced, we can expect some fun times as thousands of people are charged tax on emails they know nothing about.

    Also of course it is quite easy – so I am told – to route your Internet connexion via a proxy server, in say Russia, so your IP address cannot be traced.

    Emails sent thus could not be taxed, so in the event the idiots try to impose such a tax, it is unlikely to be very successful.

  57. matthu
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Alex – your reference to the BBC article dscribing how “Internet firms will be required to give intelligence agency GCHQ access to communications on demand, in real time” is almost definitiely a joke – but the joke is really on us because this is probably already happening.

    Else why all the fuss about denying a proper inquest in case the public discovers the extent to which communications are already being monitored and the technology already in place?

  58. George
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  59. pipesmoker
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Am I right in thinking that the proposed bit tax will only apply to computers using Microsoft Windows?

    In my world without fences I don’t need Gates!

  60. Bert Young
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    An e mail tax would bring down any government . John Redwood is absolutely right to expose this possibility and I urge him to do everything in his power to stop it .

  61. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Spying on everybody? Taxing their e-mails? Do the inhabitants of numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street wish the population to get their guns out? If so, they are going the right way about it.

    There is a partial answer to the Post Office’s problems. If you live in isolation or in a small hamlet, be serously rich or expect a poor postal service (such people really do need e-mail). Otherwise, live in a town or village.

    The desire for this idiotic and evil tax results from the obsession of nearly all politicians (a) to raise revenue for imaginary social obligations and (b) to control people. If you are serious about stopping it, you or David Davis should stand against Cameron this Autumn.

    • APL
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall: “… wish the population to get their guns out?”

      Ever wonder why the government made the lawful ownership of guns illegal?

      Now the only people who have guns are criminals.

  62. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid – one way or another – we’re all going to have to pay a lot more tax.

    The pensioners are up in arms about it – the pasty eaters too … Where is it all to come from then ?

    The Nu Lab wreckers delivered the most toxic of chalices to the Coagulation.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      D’oh !

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Being my Birthday you would have thought I’d have learned by now.

  63. Andy Man
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    There is no depth to which government will sink to steal from it’s serfs. Just today I saw cameras set up at boot sales to record number plates do that the tax gangsters can extort money from anyone that dares to more than a couple of boot sales a year. I note that our ruling elites all have their extra incomes and perks. Us poor proles will be prevented from making a few extra quid by getting up at 4am and standing in the freezing cold.
    Now email tax. Next maybe tax for each website we view? Why not do away with the pretense and simply tale all our money and just issue us with food and clothing when we finish work at the tractor factory every night?

    • stred
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      My friend, who is a carpenter/joiner just lost all his uninsured tools, worth £2k , stolen from a deadlocked van in a Wickes car park. He was told these would probably sold the next day in a boot sale. Possibly, the plods are doing their job and comparing numbers. Not too hopeful though.

  64. uanime5
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I hear some companies are planning to avoid this new tax by replacing emails with shouting.

  65. bin lurkin
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Agree wih much of what you generaly have to say on this blog JR and recognised it as an April fool immediately. Nice try.

    However I also (naively) at first read the Sunday Times report on the Big Brother surveillance plans as an April fool report too, how foolish was I!

    I take it that had you actually had any inkling that these anti-libertarian plans were afoot you would not havve published your frivolous light hearted gesture today. As others have commented, your reportage is just a little too close to the realm of the possible given the idiocy of this unconservative government and the still untamed bureacratic tendency which they have signally failed to get under control.

    While I’m pleased to see David Davis has now come out in public strongly against these ridiculous proposals, and trust you will do the same, this is really the last straw (pun intended

    Reply: No, I was not expecting an April Fool serious story along those lines from the government. I too want to restore more of our civil liberties, not undermine them further.

  66. Steve Tierney
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    This is only funny until it actually gets suggested. And then it’s prophetic.

  67. Matthew
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Very good Mr R took me in for 10 minutes
    I came back from business tonight, read it thought of government and marbles the saw the date!

    Good to have some humour back on the site

  68. Derek Emery
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    There are many alternatives to emails and many people prefer social sites such as facebook. I would think whatever government come up with to tax there will be others working round it with new types of messaging. I guess you could convert speech directly to text and then send this via the SMS service.
    Its about time the coalition trying reducing spending instead of continuously thinking up ways to increase taxation.

  69. peter davies
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I hope this is an April fool!

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of – if its true credit to you JR for bringing it up.

    I would liken this to the tobin tax on bank transactions. Were this to go ahead I for one would ensure that any websites I have are hosted overseas (they are anyway) – All emails are sent from an autoresponder overseas (easy to do) and anything sent out via normal email business are from a virtual server overseas (I have one of those for business purposes) so all I would need to do is setup the email client and login remotely.

    The treasury needs to understand that anything that impedes business is ultimately going to be counter productive – we pay tax on the electricity used to power these things already, we pay tax of everything that moves, no need to add to things that move electronically. Companies even pay tax for frequencies to supply web services and we pay VAT on all telecoms services like line rental and whatever else for goodness sake.

    This cannot be dressed up as the ‘poor would not miss out’ as virtually anyone can have a laptop nowadays with an internet connection for very little.

    I hope if one of those stupid directives come from Brussels for this it is put to a referendum like the governement promised about new legislation and rejected – then you will see tonnes of email and web providers setting up shop in the UK for EU customers bringing in more tech jobs for us – when will these socialists learn?

  70. Neil Craig
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Since energy use is repeatedly taxed at many levels up to taxes to subsidise windmills the use of emails is laready taxrd.

    Typical of the Ministry of Ecofascism that they should be the originator of an attempt to tax and restrict free speech.

  71. REPay
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    It is a testimony to the low trust I have in governments that read a couple of paragraphs before I realized the date!

  72. i.stafford
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    The idea that the EU might impose a tax on e-mails in another example of the creeping competence of the EU. How does this even remotely assist the single market?
    Silence on the part of British politicians as to the extent of EU competence in pretty commonplace. What is just as worrying is reports in Sunday Telegraph that the VAT on hot pasties is prompted by a decision of the ECJ. If true, it is another example of the silence on EU competence which pervades Whitehall.

  73. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “The Business Department is saying emails are now doing huge damage to the public investment in the Royal Mail.”

    What about the increase in demand for Postal Services regarding Internet Purchases ? Has anyone in the Business Department calculated the effect of online purchases generating Parcel and small packet deliveries. This must have more than made up for the loss in revenues related to emails.

  74. John Eustace
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    If only the proposal for the government to snoop into all of our e-mails and web history was also a joke….
    I trust you will be resisting this proposal?

  75. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    If the Government is so concerned with raising revenues and reducing our deficit, why haven’t they considered the role of Government created Currency instead of Government issued Treasury Bonds?

    http://www.jamesrobertson.com/book/creatingnewmoney.pdf
    Authors: Joseph Huber & James Robertson

    James Robertson: “His early career had been in Whitehall; he accompanied Harold
    Macmillan on his prime-ministerial “Wind of Change” tour of Africa in
    1960, and then worked in the Cabinet Office. He later set up and
    directed the Inter-Bank Research Organisation for the UK banks, and
    contributed to enquiries on government, civil service, parliament, and
    London’s future as a financial centre.”

    Seigniorage Reform could help far more than a few extra pence on a stamp or the introduction of an intrusive email taxation rate. How much will it cost to introduce such an email tax and how much to Police it?

    As you already know, Mr Redwood, we do not even have a Fractional Reserve System in our Banking system, Banks create as much or as little as they like and decide which sectors (Productive or non-productive) get the funds. They remove billions of pounds of Treasury Money – through lost Seigniorage, and charge the Government (through Treasury Bond purchases) for the privelege of that lost revenue. Despite this vast arena of potential revenue for the Government and potential for far more democratic delegation of funding in the economy, someone in Government is still trying to gain a few Browny Points by suggesting “MORE TAXATION”.

    Is this really about increasing revenues to the Treasury or is it just blind ignorance of economics?

    Can we some have ideas from Government concerning raising funds and reducing our deficit which do not involve increasing Taxation please, before some bright eyed young researcher at the House of Commons comes up with the genius idea of enforcing a Tax everytime we take our Dogs for a walk.

  76. Steven Whitfield
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the government pressing ahead with big brother legislation to snoop on emails and web browsing records in the catch all name of ‘counter terrosrism’. Maybe, one day there will be a special unit to monitor Mp’s that run blogs that sometimes express views that are percieved as being ‘unhelpful’ to the ruling elite . Sadly that isn’t an April Fool.

  77. Simon_c
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    While it may have been an April 1st post. Sadly the updating of the RIPA & other email/internet snooping legislation is not, and amounts to not only a back door “tax” via requiring the ISPs to carry the cost, but also a huge intrusion into our freedoms for little extra intelligence gain. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/02/ccdp_government_snooping_plans/

    Time for everyone to upgrade to ipv6 with opportunistic, automatic encryption where nobody knows the keys.

  78. Atlas
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I hope this is an April Fool. Otherwise it is as you put it John, “No, NO, NO !”

  • 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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