More thoughts on my four tax avoiders


         All four of my tax sketch people would be surprised if they found out that the government’s wish for people to pay a higher overall rate of tax was directed at them. They do not see themselves as tax avoiders. They, after all, are doing things the government wishes to encourage by offering them lower tax rates.

          Charity, the retired accountant, has always in the past been a Conservative voter. She is not entirely happy with the Coalition, and is particularly concerned that it is unwilling to bring powers back from the EU which she did not want surrendered in the first place.  She would not vote UKIP in a General Election, as she does not want to end up with a pro EU MP, but she is asking herself whether she should vote UKIP in the next European election to show how she feels about the EU issue. She will watch to see if Mr Cameron follows up his veto on the latest Treaty,which she was pleased about.  She was not pleased to learn that the Age Allowance will be phased out, though relieved to discover that it was not going to be cut in cash terms.

       Prudence has usually voted Lib Dem. She particularly liked their promise to avoid tuition fees for young people going to university. She feels badly let down by them, as her youngest child is about to go to university and will be caught by the large increases in fees. She does not have enough income herself  to pay her daughter’s bills. She was thinking about voting Green next time, but is worried that they will put her energy costs up too much. She is genuinely floating.  

         Mr Reader, the teacher, has always been a strong Labour voter. Mr Blair tried his patience, as he did not think he was a good enough socialist. He approved of Mr Brown’s spending plans, but was worried by the economic collapse on Labour’s watch. He thinks Mr Miliband should be tougher on the rich and the bankers, and is disturbed by the Labour reluctance to support the teachers’ unions wholeheartedly. In the end he will probably vote Labour again.

           Ed, the businessman, did not bother to vote in 2010. He wanted the Conservatives to offer a strongly pro enterprise package, but did not see it. He likes what they are doing on Corporation Tax, but does not like some of the anti business rhetoric he hears from the Coalition, or their personal tax  and red tape policies. He probably won’t vote next time either, unless some party comes up with a package which he thinks makes sense for people like him, and for the smaller companies he helps.



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  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I cannot help thinking of a poster on the Metropolitan Railway from the time when they were encouraging people to move out into the countryside – not the suburbs. One of the major attractions was that you would become a ratepayer!

    The idea was that you would be privileged to join the people who actually paid for public services!

    The trouble nowadays with all this very greedy tax is that we cannot see where it is all going and we suspect – with very good visual evidence – that most of it is simply being used to buy votes.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Clearly voting has very little effect. Given that you vote for a person on a huge basket of issues and they will not deliver any pre-promises they make anyway (as we have seen for example on the EU renegotiation, tuition fees and inheritance tax). MPs will respond mainly to party to keep in favour anyway the system makes them.

    You also generally know that in your area you only have two or at best three likely outcomes so need to vote tactically too (other than at MEP talking shop level – where no real power is held anyway) .

    It certainly cannot be described as democracy by anyone rational.

    • Bob
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      There is now a vote them out campaign on the social networking sites: and #votethemout on Twitter.

      They are expounding the view that Labour, Tories and Lib Dems are all cut from the same cloth and voting for them is a wasted vote.

      Seems pretty obvious to me.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic I agree with you entirely on this.

      I associate almost entirely with JR’s ED character. I WILL vote UKIP because to not vote is unthinkable, to vote for any of the others is irresponsible and therefore my vote is a protest.

      Our democratic system is no longer fit for purpose. I am unable to vote for people who I feel should be in government and represent my views because I’m not a resident of their constituency ( although I actually own a business in one of their constituencies but of course I don’t get a vote for that even though my business pays a huge amount of tax)

      That is why we have the utter mess that is tribal politics in the UK. Most voting it seems to me comes down to tactics, i.e. stopping who you definitley don’t want.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps best to leave (unless you are non UK domicile) and run it all from a sensible tax regime (or become nondom in Ireland perhaps) until a sensible government eventually returns. That has been my approach, I certainly do not regret it.

      • zorro
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        All true….and though FPTP is supposed to deliver strong government, I wonder if it really does….. I just do not think that a majority Cameron Conservative government would have acted differently no matter what their protestations. Unfortunately, my vote is worthless in the constituency where I currently reside and this is why I do want a more representative voting system where your vote does count. We are in a crisis scenario around our current electoral representation system.

        There is a definite mood around people I know to make the politicians squeal. I doubt that Cameron really understands how he has so truly misunderstood the mood of people in this country…and will pay the price in bucketloads over the next three years.


        • Timaction
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think Mr Cameron cares about anything much other than being the Prime Minister. That was his only goal and having achieved it he must realise that the game is up.

          So lets remind ourselves of his progress on his promises:

          Immigration, up and rising.

          Defence spending down and we’re joining forces with the French whilst giving away £21 billions annually in foreign and EU aid, whilst running a £50 billion annual trade deficit with them!!

          Bank and Euro bailout successes? None.

          International Health Service costs up and rising to treat the world.

          Reform of the Human Rights Act or the EU Court. No and we can’t deport known terrorists thanks to the EU Court, but the French/Italians can!

          Over 1 million young people unemployed and over 6 million economically inactive whilst millions of Eastern Europeans come here to do the starter jobs on minimum wages that our young people would normally do. Cameron wants Turkey in the EU so we can have a few millions more here!

          Repatriation of powers from the EU and reform of the CAP or fisheries policy? None and there’s not going to be.

          Income, indirect and green taxes all up for no cuts in public services.

          A mad EU energy/windmill policy costing us billions.

          Our democracy is tired and broken. It relies on a small elective dictatorship executive and civil service that is entrenched with socialism.

          Our only chance is UKIP unless Cameron is thrown out by true Tories.

          • uanime5
            Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            1) The ECHR isn’t an EU court, it’s independent of the EU.

            2) We can’t deport terrorists to countries where they may be killed, tortured, or tried using evidence obtained by torture. However we can deport them to countries where they won’t be killed, tortured, or tried unfairly; or if these countries have agreed not to kill/torture these people.

            It’s a grave error to assume that all attempts to deport terrorists are the same because they all involve terrorists. The important thing is where you’re deporting them to.

          • APL
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            JR: “true Tories.”

            If such a creature exists it is on the CITES list of endangered species.

            The Tory party today is comprised largely of party apparatchiks vying between themselves for the next rung on the ladder.

          • APL
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “The important thing is where you’re deporting them to.”

            That’s a matter of opinion, Chum.

            “Terrorists”, just deport them. Then make sure they cannot sneak back into our country.

            The important thing – has the government arrived at the designation ‘Terrorist’ in a right and proper manner? Most of the time it seems to me the answer to that is ‘No’.

          • uanime5
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            Ironically the terrorists the ECHR wouldn’t let the UK deport to Jordan can be deported to the USA. As I stated it all depends on where you’re trying to deport people to.


        • libertarian
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          I agree Zorro

          I personally feel that rather than vote to elect a party apparatchik to represent an arbitary geographical area as currently I’d actually quite like to vote to choose a government, rather than have one chosen for me.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          I too do not think that a majority Cameron Conservative government would have been much different. A real Tory would never have appointed Chris Patten to chair the BBC trust or indeed to anything much.

          I hear on radio 4 PM the government has lots more money to burn on ramming the welsh language down everyone’s and their children’s throats in Wales. I can remember going on holiday in many parts of Wales and never even hearing it ever spoken. £95,000 PA for the person in charge of the indoctrination program. £95,000 (plus pension?) should go quite a long way in Wales. I certainly will not be investing there.

          Reply: Wales has a devolved Labour government of course.

          • JimF
            Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply: Easy to say. I think we need a UK Government which takes the UK deficit SERIOUSLY, and doesn’t allow some do-gooder Labour types in various parts of the UK to appoint new posts for totally unnecessary, undesirable projects like this. We have child benefit being removed from tax-paying families to pay for this!!!!

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Is not forcing people’s children to learn an obscure, little used language to 16 (and then used only in parts of Wales) not a bit racist and perhaps a bit of a form of child abuse too. Particularly if you then start ramming it down the throats of employers too and using it as a recruitment criteria for the state sector. Do they want integration or sectional fighting?

    • uanime5
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Having over 400 safe seats doesn’t help either as many MPs keep getting elected because of the party they belong to, rather than the ideals they represent. We need a better electoral system.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        No seat is safe, only in the minds of the lazy.

  3. Duyfken
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Charity seems to be in a bit of a bind, because her sitting Tory MP is “pro EU”. No matter for whom she may vote, a “pro EU” candidate will win: Tory, Labour or LibDem. So what would be wrong with casting around for another alternative? Either she does not vote or goes for a candidate and Party which intends to “bring powers back from the EU which she did not want surrendered in the first place.”

    Cameron has shown untrustworthiness and it would be reckless to gamble on his words. It would equally be naive to fall for any seemingly substantive gestures he may provide prior to the next GE.

    • Bernard JUBY
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Poor old Charity is stuck with the Party list system which puts its preferred candidates in place and screens out anyone likely to think fo think for themselves or ask awkward questions – I know, I speak from experience!
      If only there were a way to fund them perhaps we would see many more, “ZNone of The Above” Candidates 5the Z is there so that they are placed at the bottom of the list). What happened recently can happen again. Would the Conservatives then make a Coalition with them?

      Poor old Ed is really waiting for MPs to recognise micro-businesses and do something about it instead of talking about them. He may have liked the bit about Corporation Tax but where was the help for the Unincorporated???

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is finished. No-one will believe any of his promises now or in the future. He’s blown it.


      • lifelogic
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Indeed no promises he makes on anything will be believed by anyone sensible at the next election.

        • APL
          Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

          The burning question of the moment, Does Cameron have the brass neck, or lack of self awareness, to use the word ‘promise’ in public at all?

  4. lifelogic
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    What seems clear is that Charity, Prudence, Reader and Ed would all be better off with lower taxes, fewer regulations, less government, more freedom, less EU and a real pro business, pro growth agenda.

    Just a shame that:-
    a. They do not all realise it and
    b. They do not have a party to vote for that would actually deliver it anyway.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      The BBC mood music and indoctrination is very much to blame for both a. and b. above.

      Cameron clearly likes a socialist, pro EU, pro ever bigger government, fake green BBC – as it suits his agenda. Otherwise he would clearly not have put Lord Patten in his position.

      • Bob
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Maybe Watermelons would be a more appropriate name for the Tories:

        “Millions of householders who want to build a conservatory, replace a broken boiler or install new windows will be forced to spend hundreds of pounds more on ‘green’ projects.

        They will not be permitted to carry out the home improvement or repair unless they agree to fork out for measures such as loft or wall insulation.

        The work is expected to add ten per cent to the cost of any building project in the home.

        Read more:

        • Martyn
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          I suspect that the added costs could amount to more than 10% of the final figure. Local authorities already charge heavily for each planning application (e.g. for a conservatory) and will now probably have to separately charge applicants (costs unknown) for the additional staff and ‘energy compliance officers’ needed to manage this side of the plan. Also, those who have not yet obtained an ‘energy performance certificate’ (EPC) for their homes will also have to pay for an accredited ‘domestic energy assessor’ in order to get their certificate – and the potential costs of having to make significant improvements to get the certificate in some cases could be as much as the cost of the conservatory.

          I think it is simple common-sense for householders to make their buildings as energy-efficient as is practical and affordable (I have spent a lot in this area myself), but this proposal will remove the right of the individual to not bother with energy-improvement as part of their planned extension or whatever if that is their wish. It is an intrusive measure that I would not expect to be made by a Conservative government, but hey! never mind – the real winner from this will be the government as each of the separate cost elements involved will generate even more income from VAT.

          • stred
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

            Any application for LA permission will probably double the cost of a conservatory or boiler. Fees and the inspection of other insulation methods by LA staff who do not understand the best options and follow dictats by duffers in the DECC will also cause long delays in the construction process.

            The daftest ‘information’ being put out by the BBC R4 today is that a new conservatory will cause additional energy consumption, so insulation is needed to force home owners to offset this. Total b——s.
            The conservatory will insulate the outside wall and be a cost effective solar heater for most of the year.

            One really has to wonder how the big industry lobbyists manage to get the civil servants to consider such expensive and silly regulations. They have already done it for the intallation of solar heating systems, where our standard specification is the most complicated and expensive, needing planning permission if it is done in the least visually intrusive and easily servicable, but not if put on roofs.

            I was told that a friend who, was made chief research officer for an important ministry, was suprised that he got the job because he had no science qualificatons. He was told this was just what the ‘top people’ were looking for, so that he would not be biased. Some of the leading lights from the energy quangos that speak on discussion programmes obviously are not qualified in the engineering concerned.

        • Cliff. Wokingham
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes another form of stimulus.
          Yet another policy announced in the media rather than in Parliament.

          I didn’t think you needed the local authority’s consent to install a new boiler; is this a Nu Labour/EUSSR style policy to get state inspectors/snoopers into our homes?
          Where will it end? Will we need approval to change the wallpaper?

          Mr Cameron is leading the Conservative Party isn’t he or is it just Blue Labour?

          • lifelogic
            Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            Indeed you do now need their permission and you have to install a modern unreliable condensing one that breaks down all the time.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Sounds even worse than the absurd Hip packs that they (almost) got rid of. – Almost the only positive thing they have done so far since the election oh and the M4 bus lane has gone.

        • zorro
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Another nail in his political coffin if enacted….


        • alan jutson
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink


          Interesting article in the Daily Mail today (Tuesday) by Christopher Booker.

          The headlines that you outline and describe are but a small part of the actual proposed policy, if this report is true and factual.

          It has proposed new guidelines for every new build home in the country, and will affect every existing property in some way.

          Good reading, but frightening cost and outcomes.

          This is the result of the Huhne ideas of madness that many of us suggested/warned would happen.

          It even applies to commercial buildings !

  5. Mick Anderson
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    She would not vote UKIP in a General Election, as she does not want to end up with a pro EU MP

    As UKIP have no chance of winning a General Election, casting any vote is inevitably for a pro EU Party. Many MPs will claim to be Euro-sceptic when canvassing, then vote in favour of the EU because that’s what the Party demands. The MP with his name against the area in which I live claims to be in favour of recovering powers gifted to the EU, but as he is on the payroll vote he has never voted against the Party Leader.

    If I bother to vote at all it will be for UKIP. Not because I am an enthusiast, but knowing that my protest vote can’t do any harm. I know that JR will say that some of the UKIP votes cast at the last Election caused Conservative candidates to lose, thus denying the Party a majority. The problem with that argument is that having Mr Cameron in charge of a majority Conservative Government would not have improved the current policies. He might occasionally talk the talk, but would never even try to walk the walk.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Agree totally Mr Anderson

      • zorro
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        I have mentioned this before….Even if Cameron had obtained a 200 seat majority against the hapless Brown….. No matter what he protests, he would not have done anything differently. He is all talk and no trousers.


    • Bernard JUBY
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      I know of one MEP who topped his Tory list (so was assured of being elected( who got there because he swore that he was a Euro-sceptic during the hustings. He changed his tune as soon as his snout entered the trough!

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Spot on! Some of us have lost all vestiges of support for ANY party…

      • APL
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Vote independent!

  6. alan jutson
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Your examples are reasonable and have some logic to them, but such is the frustration of many voters at the moment with all of the main parties, some people may vote outside of their normal and typical interests.
    They know by doing so they are cutting off their nose to spite their face, but such is the frustration, they are perpared to do almost anything to give the main Party candidates/leaders a bloody nose as well.

    The past couple of decades has certainly seen a loss of trust in politicians, so do not be surprised if some strong independent candidates do rather better than normal next time around.

    Only those main party candidates who have shown some courage and stood up for their true beliefs against the party machine, will be rewarded with votes.

  7. AN Grey
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Liberty, having been duped for 20 years by the three main parties finally decides to vote for UKIP.
    Cameron’s fake promises to reform UK relations with the EU, his sucking up to the ECHR , his unwillingness to control immigration and poor handling of the economy. Reinforce Liberty’s view that Cameron is a fraud. Pasties and cash for dinners and 56 days for free speech all show that he is no conservative.

    UKIPs pledge to get Britain out of Afghanistan quickly is important to Liberty who puts a high price on the life and welfare of British servicemen.

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the unwarranted proposals for intrusion into the communications of anyone….


  8. JimF
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    To Charity: Vote for what you believe in.
    To Prudence: UKIP would have scrapped tuition fees for your daughter, and made a University degree worth something again.
    To Mr Reader: If you’re worried about the economic collapse on Labour’s watch, then tell me what the Coalition has done to reverse the trend? There is only one party which would stop the same thing happening all over again. Oh, and it’s the party which would give you a referendum on Europe.
    To Ed: There’s a party which will abolish employer’s NI, wrap tax up into a flat rate of 31% and abolish 120’000 EU directives. How does that sound?

    • Bernard JUBY
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Thoroughly agree with all of your comments.
      This nonsense that a University Degree is for everyone – and the resultant dumbing down of O and A Levels – makes many of them not worth the paper that they’re written on. Do you really think that employers and the public can’t see that?.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s UKIP, surely?

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      All sounds good but they can never be elected with the current voting system and all the core “always have always will” Labour and Tory voters.

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        That doesn’t seem logical to me!

        It just needs enough people to start a trend.

        Why wait for an election?

        Join a party and participate, even if it is the Conservative Party!!! ::)

        It’s not the winning that matters, t’s the taking part that counts!

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s definitely not the Conservative Party….that’s a cast iron truth


  9. John Moss
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It is worth reminding people concerned about this that the Age Related Allowance just went up by £560 and that in total, somebody over 65 with an income above £10,500 will be £1,341 better off than somebody with the same income who is under 65 in 2015.

    Somebody aged 60 who earns £10,500 will pay £766 more this tax year than somebody over 65 who has the same income from the state pension and other income. Next year, that penalty will reduce a little, but will still be £414.

    Assuming the Personal Allowance for younger people reaches £10,000 from April 2014, the penalty for being younger will fall to £160 and if it then rises to £10,500 in April 2015, it will, finally be eliminated.

    • Mark
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s worth reminding people that those who retired just 5 years ago were able to secure almost double the annuity rates compared with those just about to retire, and that the measures to withdraw age related allowance take immediate effect on those who are just retiring, while those who retired 5 years ago will continue to receive the allowance. This measure has been angled at those who are just about to retire, despite their pensions being plundered already by QE.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink


        Yes, I am a victim too.

  10. Nick
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    So when you and all the other MPs get forced to publish your tax returns, what percentage are going to be tax/evaders or avoiders like Ken Livingstone.

    Large numbers are based on their register of interests.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Indeed the foolish Osborne need to get the cap back on Pandora’s box and quickly.

      • Susan
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink


        How will he do that, all the troubles are out of Pandora’s box and it will look very suspicious if he tries to close it now. Maybe he will wait for Hope to come along.

        The point is if the Chancellor continues to squeeze middle class voters who are taking the burden of the tax rises, especially skilled workers, questions will continue to be asked why them and not the more well off. Resentment can only grow over these issues especially if they think people are getting away with what the Chancellor calls agressive tax avoidance. Whether it is legal or not has become irrelevant because the Chancellor has opened the debate by calling it repugnant. The only possible way he can now close it is to prove beyond doubt that no members of his Government has been involved in these activities otherwise it looks like total hypocrisy.

        Skilled workers are very important to the UK economy, without them business cannot flourish. The Government tax rises are falling mainly on this group of people. This could have devastating effects on the UK economy as they may decide to take their efforts somewhere else.

  11. Bazman
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    No charity no faith no Hope. I saw it on my favourite soap. Take fifty thousand million pills, but don’t for get to pays the bills.
    Charity is a retired desk jockey who’s anti EU stance is trying to create working conditions and pay cuts she will never have to live with. She will justify this by saying it’s the EU that let all the cheap workers in in the first place forgetting that it’s businesses that employed them and will further use any anti EU measures to drive down wages and conditions further.The age related pay cuts were traitorous to her and have prevented her from investing more into her immortal soul at the local church.
    Prudence is a closet Tory who knows that a Conservative agenda would hit her in the pocket so votes for lightweight Tories that are ‘people like us’.
    Mr reader is pretty much right. Miliband is a Tory in disguise continuing in the belief that if we feed the horses enough oats, the birds will eventually get some and pandering to the working class who think they are middle class because they have a large TV and work in an office. They are executives really and drive an executive car at least that what the badge says. Fags are a rip off mind. Mr reader would like more holidays and a shorter working week leading to a shorter working day. He didn’t become a teacher for the money, but kids are annoying.
    Ed sees voting as just another regulation and any deal with the devil that boosts business is deal worth having. If he does vote then he will vote Tory as they look after business. The problem being that your business has to be big, not just big, but massive, preferably with no competitors and willing to donate to the Tory party. He has aspirations though and admires Richard Branson, and that’s what counts.
    Ram it.

  12. Susan
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Most ordinary people do not see themselves as tax avoiders because in general they are not. Most people who are employed by a company or business have very few ways to avoid tax other than through tax free savings, if they can afford it, and their pension. These are tax breaks because as you say the Government is supposed to encourage pension and other savings to prevent reliance on the state in old age. Honest tax payers only become angry about tax avoidance when they themselves are struggling paying high taxation and see a footballer or others earning vast amounts of money and only paying the minimum amount of tax. This is a natural reaction when taxation is very high for themselves and they feel they are taking the burden for these people who do not pay their fair share.

    Some distinction has to be made between the two. Indeed the Chancellor tried to do so by talking about aggressive avoidance. Of course we all knew what he meant by this, but just appealing to peoples better nature will have little effect. We cannot with the best will in the World just lump all people together and say they all avoid tax in some way, that would be grossly unfair. What the Chancellor has to do is decide whether he thinks it is fair that people on high incomes should be able to avoid tax, whether it sets a bad example and if he is losing too much tax by allowing it to continue. This would mean he has to decide whether it is legal or not. At the moment the whole argument has become blurred and nobody knows what to believe.

    Reply: Yes, but the porblem the Coalition now has its scheme to limit how much tax allowance anyone can claim may hit charitable giving by the richer earners.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      GAAR (Osbornes proposed general anti avoidance rule) is going to be a disaster it needs to be killed. If they do not want people to invest in tax breaks do not make them available and just lower the rates for all.

      I certainly consider myself to be a “tax avoider” and regard it as highly moral (given the UK system) and a rational reaction to an absurd tax system. I would encourage more to do it, save the tax and do something good and useful with it. This rather than let the government waste it on buying votes, transfers to the feckless, quack green tosh, a huge over paid state sector & counter productive wars

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Of course if taxpayers cannot think of anything better to do with their money than conduct counter productive wars, pay for MPs second homes, build lots of pointless sports stadia in one place & for a few weeks use or put pointless PV cells on roofs in the cloudy and sun lacking UK then perhaps they should indeed pay tax and not try to avoid it.

        There surely cannot be that many who come into that category?

      • Susan
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


        I don’t disagree that tax is too high and the money collected wasted by Government. That was not my point. The point I am making is that a lot of ordinary people have no way of avoiding large amounts of tax, therefore they naturally become angry when they think rich people are. After all their tax burden goes up the more people avoid tax.

        There is also another consideration for George Osborne and one he may be thinking about in his recent actions. When tax reaches high levels and more people are seen to be avoiding tax, especially the rich, the public begin to lose faith in the tax system itself. This would mean more people would become less honest in their declarations to HMRC. We have seen this happen in Countries such as Greece and Italy.

        After all lifelogic it cannot always be “I’m alright Jack pull the ladder up” because we are all in this together are we not.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          I want the ladder to be available to everyone and there are ways to save taxes even for “ordinary people” as you put it.

          • Susan
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink


            In my last paragraph, I was merely teasing you, sorry you have taken is seriously. It was a play on words as in Mr. Camerons “we are all in this together.”

        • Mick Anderson
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps the primary thing to remember is that if the Political classes did not keep on demanding ever-increasing sums of money, everybodies taxes could be lower. It’s not the fault of higher earners that the Government is a profligate waster; they are simply looking after number one, which is no more than any sensible person would do. I don’t know any idiots on good salaries….

          It’s the difference between cause and effect – Governmental greed is the cause, while tax avoidance is merely the effect. Imagine if Mr Osborne had kept his promise to simplify the tax system….

          • Susan
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Mike Anderson,

            The fact is though, that at the moment taxes are not lower, so it is perhaps wise to deal with the situation as it is now, not what we would all like it to be.

            Therefore the more people avoid tax the higher it will go.

            BTW I don’t class an honest tax payer who does not employ a tax advisor to limit his tax by agressive avoidance as an idiot.

          • alan jutson
            Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink


            “I do not know any idiots on good salaries”

            Have you seen Question time ?

            Clearly these people are not idiots, they just act that way.

            Many have had the advantage of an expensive classic education, but still seem unable to add up.

    • Susan
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I understand that Mr. Redwood. However one could ask are they giving to charities out of the goodness of their hearts or to avoid tax. Why should philanthropists, as they call themselves, expect a return for what is supposed to be money given to a charity. I certainly would not, if I had plenty of money and I thought I could benefit others by giving to a cause I believed in. Maybe this measure is showing the real side of things. After all I do not think much of someone threatening a Charity that they will not give because their tax break has gone.

      There seems to be an awful lot of charities in this Country, not all of them seem to benefit people to a great extent.

      This time I am most definitely on the side of the Chancellor.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I assume you are aware that, as a taxpayer, you contribute to many charities. For many a substantial portion of their income comes directly from government departments, ie you as taxpayer. You have no choice in the matter. All of this is in addition to cash disbursed as foreign aid.

        The point of Gift Aid is to encourage people to give to charities. The cap obviously will have a big impact if the charities are to be believed. If Gift Aid were withdrawn altogether, the impact would be even greater.

        • Susan
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink


          You assume correctly.

        • APL
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          oldtimer: “I assume you are aware that, as a taxpayer, you contribute to many charities.”

          Keep gift aid.

          Abolish government subsidy of ‘charities’.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Certainly many charities are not really doing much real and useful charitable work I would tighten the rules.

        • Susan
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink


          I agree. There is a great deal of charities in the UK, a lot are doing nothing useful. Besides which, why should the tax payer stand behind a charity not of their choosing. Anyone would think that George Osborne had told people they could not donate anymore by the outcry.

          • APL
            Posted April 12, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            Susan: “There is a great deal of charities in the UK, a lot are doing nothing useful.”

            There is a little nexus of charitable giving in the Westminster village, it’s laudable that there is such enthusiasm for charitable giving there.

    • matthu
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      The problem with charities is the sheer number who front up lobbying groups for the green agenda. Even Oxfam is lumped in with that group.

      And did anyone notice what proportion of our overseas aid is going towards supporting “climate awareness” in countries such as Canada and Tanzania? Don’t ever again suggest that the government is feeling squeezed when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can afford to waste your and my taxes on funding climate awareness in Brazil and India and China and Russia and the USA (!) and Canada and Tanzania.

      • nicol sinclair
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Hear hear! I second that…

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          And then there is the BBC as well!

    • sm
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      1) it doesn’t effect the tax claim of the charity.
      2) it caps the donors personal relief only, they can still give.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    No good news there for the Conservatives! I think a lot of your councillors will find out in May just how unpopular your party is with its natural core supporters, not because they have cut too far too fast, but the opposite, and have shown themselves time and time again to be incompetent. As you know, councillors are the first to feel the wrath of the electorate even though it is the national government which is being judged. If it were the EU elections, this year UKIP would have the most seats. What is Cameron going to do to prevent the annihilation of your party in 2015?

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      What is Cameron going to do to prevent the annihilation of his party in 2015? I suspect he has left it too late now. The only positives are the poor quality and leadership of the alternatives – amazingly they are even worse than him.

      • ian wragg
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        What makes you think Cameroon wants to prevent annihilation at the next election. He’sdoing everything in his power to ensure such an outcome.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          He certainly seem to be doing so.

        • Mark
          Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          You may be right: the art is in being McCavity – i.e. not being around when the whole house of cards comes down. Perhaps he has concluded that is inevitable 4-5 years from now.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Brian, re Cameron and 2015, see my post @ 9:11.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Cameron’s plan is create laws that benefit various companies so they’ll give him a directorship when he’s no longer PM. Why would he want to be PM after 2105 when there is so much more lucrative work available?

      Reply: there is no evidence for such an assertion.

  14. lifelogic
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I see that Cameron is quoted “I know these are difficult times – but my promise to pensioners is that we are on your side” (By increasing your tax burdens, inflating away your saving & the value of your pension and by paying tiny amounts of deposit interest and by pushing up you fuel bills with quack greenery I assume).

    How does he deliver this with a straight face?

    Next he will be telling us the he wants more powers back from the EU, and that he is at heart a tax cutter and he believes less government and fewer regulations. While his army start reading all our emails I assume.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      “How does he deliver this with a straight face? ”
      He is a PR man and is trained to say black is white without batting an eyelid. As for our e-mails, it’s a pity he isn’t reading the contributions on this blog and acting to address the unhappiness with him and his government.

    • norman
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      The whole email snooping thing shows what a farce politics in the UK has become, which provides excellent entertainment but little else.

      The Conservatives are being forced by the EU to implement this, but can’t say that as their supporters will get riled (both by the authoritarian nature of the policy and the fact this area is another we’ve meekly surrendered to Brussels). The Lib Dems, the most pro-EU party, are having to pretend this isn’t the case and that they are still the cuddly (traditional) liberals people thought they were before the mask slipped and Labour is saying nothing of substance in the hope we all forget how useless Miliband enough and vote for them as the least worst option.

      As I say, great farce, but no way to run a country.

    • APL
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      lifelogic: “How does he deliver this with a straight face? ”

      PR is everything for Cameron.

      It’s the only thing he knows and obviously, he wasn’t very good at that, so went into politics.

    • Robin
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Well said lifelogic.
      With Cameron on our side who needs enemies? All that man had done is reassure me that my vote must be with UKIP. Who else, apart from John and a handfull of his colleagues, has the future of this country at heart?

  15. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    To add to your collection of tax avoiders I would like to add myself. My change of heart came when my mother died some years ago. I provided another gravestone recording both parents. And was amazed to find I had to pay VAT! VAT on my parent’s gravestone. What miserable people politicians are.

    Mr Cameron has confirmed what many people already knew. There is no difference between the Tories, LibDems and Labour. You all have the same basic policies. At the next general election your core vote will stay at home or vote for some other party. It doesn’t matter which one, just vote for someone else and have some fun……

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t anyone in a private care home have to have VAT added to their fees?

      Those with no money and are in publicly funded homes obviously do not!

  16. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    When Charity speaks to her friends about the European elections in 2104 she finds that many of them are thinking the same way she is. They realise that it does not matter who they vote for in terms of the practical effect on the running of the EU, nor on the governance of the UK, and so this is an ideal opportunity for a protest vote.

    BUT what a significant protest vote will do is to raise the EU issue in the UK. What a LARGE protest vote will do is force the EU to the front of UK politics where it will remain come the general election soon afterwards, and the three main parties will find it impossible to avoid it as a topic of debate as they largely managed to do at the last general election.

    So the interesting question arises as to what Cameron will do to try and head off this most unwelcome scenario. Cameron, as PM, is in the driving seat, but he will likely find the leaders of Labour and the LibDems willing fellow travels in any scheme, as they have as much to loose as the Conservatives.

    Lets play the speculation game. One possibility is that the Conservatives, Labour and the LibDems will jointly make an undertaking to hold an EU Referendum: the UK in or out of the EU. This would relieve the pressure for a protest vote. The timing would be important. The scheme might backfire.

    But the leaders may well believe that with the three main parties campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU, and many other voices of the same opinion, such as multi-national businesses with their resources, they can get the “IN” result they want, and also bury the issue well and truly for a generation.

    • Bernard JUBY
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      You’ve clearly forgotton that the EU NEVER takes NO for an answer so will run and re-run the ballot until they get a yes.
      Answer – cut off their funding untill they manage to get their accounts approved. After all would Companies House allow any other business to trade in this way?

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Bernard, before we can correct the UK government’s relationship with the EU we have to correct the electors’ relationship with the UK government.

        • Bernard JUBY
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you but it’s a way forward to show thazt we’ve had enough of this money-wasting lunancy.

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that anyone would believe any LibLabCon pledge on an EU referendum during the next election campaign. None of them believe in leaving the EU and would use any means to ensure that they got the right result anyway.


  17. waramess
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Tribalism in politics is slowly dying. No longer do many people hold on to a view that they will vote for and defend their party right or wrong, now people are seeing the light as politicians of all colours leave the electorate with no optional policies other than to increase tax receipts.

    Slowly the electorate are realising that the politicians have them coralled and they seek to break loose by witholding their votes.

    Charity, Prudence and Reader might no longer be representative of the electorate and looking into the rear view mirror might no longer an option for politicians who should not be surprised if at some time there is a UKIP watershed.

  18. Gary
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The tax code is diabolical. Over 14,000 pages, the longest in the world. Scrap it, make it one line : “pay tax,15% of income.”

    Let the govt gravy train and war machine shrink accordingly.

    • nicol sinclair
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      I have always favoured a flat rate tax. But, it is not even on the horizon yet.

      • Dr Dan H.
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        These days an increasing number of people are coming to the conclusion that doing absolutely everything cash-in-hand is the way forwards, leading to a personal tax rate as close to zero as is possible to achieve. Essentially Cameron (and the Labour dunces before him) is waltzing merrily down the very same path that the Greeks chose to dance down a few decades before.

        The major political parties have all but lost their roots; membership of political parties is miniscule and dwindling fast. Politicians are out of touch with their electorate and use politics increasingly as a gateway into jobs that allow them to swindle the electorate still further. Tax rates are increasing, and people are finding more and more ways to dodge what is increasingly legalised theft and nothing more.

        The end-point comes when people simply stop voting and declare all-out war on the government to get rid of the parasites. If the trend isn’t reversed fairly quickly, that day will come.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I was doing some research for business purposes on Lithuania today.

      They have been growing at 8% have low unemployment a flat tax of 21% and a small business corporation tax rate of 5%. Looks a lovely country too.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Do they have welfare, free healthcare, or a large number of immigrants working in this country?

      • sjb
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Lithuania has made a great success of its membership of the EU, which is now its largest trading partner: exports, 61%; imports, 56% [1].

        For those who advocate currency devaluation to achieve growth, let me point out that Lithuania has been pegged to the euro for ten years.[2]

        [1] Exports, imports by country: Jan-Dec 2011
        [2] Bank of Lithuania: Monetary Policy

  19. Liz
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Of more interest is to know is how much tax EU bureaucrats pay (not much I surmise) – they are the real masters now: unelected, unaccountable and living in gilded cages.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Needless to say EU bureaucrats have “special” tax and pension arrangements too.

      • zorro
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Come on Lifelogic, you’ve still got time to apply for a job!


      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        With “tax avoidance” such a hot topic in the UK at present now would be an ideal time to turn the avoidance spotlight on the EU.

      • APL
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        lifelogic: ““special” tax and pension arrangements too.”

        Still get ‘duty free’ I recall. Denied to the plebs for about a decade.

  20. elf
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The perspective of “Charity” is one I think being increasingly adopted. I voted Conservative last election (in one of the constituencies where UKIP votes prevented a conservative win). But I’m completely aghast at the policies being adopted and pushed forward by Conservatives in power. I know it’s a Coalition, but should that mean morals and beliefs should be sold up the river? I think rather, the Conservative party has instead become a socialist big-state party just like the other two main parties.

    I will be voting UKIP next Gen Election not because I think they will get even a single MP, but instead because I feel there will be no huge difference to me if it’s a Labour, Lib Dem, or a Conservative majority government. As an entrepreneur, I will be treated with contempt, taxed punitively, and made to feel embarrassed that I am fortunate enough to contribute so much tax to the public coffers. I only hope my UKIP vote can signal to the backbench Conservatives that they have an infected leadership who have no understanding of how to grow business and jobs, and who will continue Labour’s legacy of destroying the once great Britain.

  21. John Bracewell
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I do not understand the piece about Prudence not being able to pay her daughter’s university education bills. The tuition fees increase is only ‘paid for’ when the graduate has a job which is lucrative enough to mean Prudence’s daughter starts to repay the loan which covered the tuition fees cost. So the tuition fees increase does not affect the finances of Prudence.

    Reply: Indeed, but that is not the way lots see it. The Lib dems did promise not to impose tuition fees.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      As you say “The tuition fees increase is only ‘paid for’ when the graduate has a job” but
      inflation interest accrues on the debt and it will restrict her getting a mortgage when they do finally get a job for perhaps many years.

      Many of the degrees are clearly worthless anyway.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Most graduates need their parent’s help to pay for food and accommodations while they study. Student loans are usually not sufficient.

  22. David John Wilson
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Surely it makes sense for someone who is anti-EU vote UKIP in a general election as if they reached a position of some power in the UK parliament it would advance the probability of the UK withdrawing from Europe. How ever to vote UKIP in a European election makes no sense at all as we need MEPs who will look after our interests in the EU and not MEPs who are bent on disrupting it.

    Sue should of course be voting for Scottish independence as one of the advantages will be that students from the rest of the UK will then under EU rules be able to attend Scottish universities without paying fees as currently can antone from the rest of Europe.

    While companies like Amazon avoid paying corporation tax on their UK business it is difficult to support the curent government policies in this area. The money used reducing corporation tax wouuld have been much better used reducing employers NI contributions. This could have been targetted at specific high unemployment age groups like the under 25s and would have had additional benefits like reducing the cost of exports and improving the cash flow in small companies.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      David, I think you have a exceedingly generous view of our MEPs’ behaviour in the European Parliament. Mostly they vote as they are told irrespective of the UK interest. Those who you think are disruptive are the ones speaking up for the UK, and any “disruption” can be no more than a little ripple as the vast majority in that Parliament don’t car a stuff about the UK interest.

      In any event the European Parliament has no significant power, they are basically there to give an pretence of democracy and don’t count for anything of significance. That is why the European elections are an ideal opportunity for a protest vote.

      • uanime5
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        The European Parliament can approve, reject, or amend European law so it does have significant power. Perhaps if most UK MEPs didn’t align with minority anti-EU parties but instead aligned with some of the stronger parties they might be able to change EU law in a way that favourable to the UK.

  23. matthu
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    For weeks now the BBC has put off reporting the cataclysmic defeat experienced by the ruling Australian Labor Party in the Queensland state elections last month.

    It seems finally they have conceded there is really no other way to spin this: best slip it out quietly and hope nobody notices …

    Professor John Wanna from the Australian National University had the following to say:

    “… the kind of policy problems that Gillard has got herself into look like they are impossible to resolve.

    “It is widespread among middle-of-the-road voters that Julia Gillard deceived electors by saying (before the last election) she wouldn’t introduce the carbon tax,” he added.

    I wonder how many ways we could list in which our main electoral parties have deceived the electorate?

    I think the sheer level of deception amongst mainstream political parties is going to be a major issue at the next election. Once having betrayed the electorate to that extent, it takes a long time to regain the same level of trust.

    • norman
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      I read an article in The Spectator, 2 years ago now it must be, by the deputy leader of the Australian Conservative Party (if memory serves) and it was real fire and thunder stuff, none of the touchy feely modernisation garbage but proper conservative values – hard work, small state, individual responsibility, putting people before bureaucracy.

      It sticks in my mind because it was one of the strongest articles I’ve read in the magazine in recent years (the odd American gets a run out which also makes for fine reading).

      I can only think Australians must be thick and so aren’t able to be persuaded
      by the kind of sophisticated argument Cameron puts forward for un-conservative Conservatism and so that’s why their Conservative Party still sticks to the facts of life message.

      Pity we turned out to be too thick to appreciate it too, eh? Maybe next time! Chin up Cameron! No, better not, nose sticking up in the air like that gives a bad impression.

  24. matthu
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    And who was it who dreamed up the latest stealth tax?

    The Daily Mail is reporting (okay, I know – but none of the other mainstream newspapers are any better at challenging the government) that if you need to replace a boiler / add a conservatory / install new windows / make pretty well any other home improvement it is being suggested you will now be expected to shell out even more for loft insulation / cavity wall insulation or some other green project which is expected to add ten percent to the cost of the entire project!

    But don’t worry – if you don’t have the readies you will have the golden opportunity to borrow it under the Coalition’s Green Deal – and pay it back over years to come through an extra charge on your energy bills.

    Alongside the windmills and solar panels you are already paying for.

    On a serious note, my aged mother was persuaded to fork out £13k three years ago for photovoltaic cells – but she hasn’t earned a penny, apparently because the panels were of German manufacture had never been accredited for use in the UK.

    Such are the scams and deceptions against the elderly that this government is supporting.

    Coalition/EU policies of this ilk will never again get my vote.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the government is almost a partner and certainly lends credibility to this frequently absurd mis-selling of quack green tosh.

  25. Normandee
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Vote for UKIP and allow a pro EU candidate in, vote conservative and get a pro EU conservative party.
    So where to go from here ? You tell me, you will say keep voting Conservative, either way we are screwed, stuck with a corrupt and evil facist europe. You and your posse raise an anti EU smoke screen to keep us busy, whilst the parcelling up of the country goes ahead full steam. Then you will all raise your hands (no doubt somewhat stronger from several years of wringing them ) and say, “we tried” then you go back to the same old benches, or maybe to a front bench for your years of undercover work in support of the party.

  26. Mark
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The polls record voters’ attempts to wrestle with Hobson’s choice. You have to dig deep into the polling data to find that the biggest rise is in those who conclude that “no choice” is the right answer. NOTA is by some margin the largest segment of the electorate at 40%+ (and the one that has grown most since the election), while Labour languish on about 25% or less.

    In the mean time it appears that the political strategists have decided that alienating voters still further is the best course of action while they pursue minority votes of one kind or another. The phenomenon seems to apply across the political spectrum, as if politicians have given up trying.

  27. Bazman
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Is buying fifty quid worth of stamps, 108 first class, tax avoidance?

  28. JoolsB
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


    Isn’t there a fifth one? What about Mr. and Mrs. English who usually vote Tory and in fact gave that nice Mr. Cameron a 62 seat majority in 2010. They thought in return they might see Mr. Cameron put an end to Labour’s discrimination against them since they introduced their lopsided devolution act but are now very disappointed that not only did Mr. Cameron not do this but he made it worse by tripling tuition fees to £9,000 but only for their children whilst at the same time abolishing ema but again only for their children and of course they though they might enjoy free prescriptions and free hospital parking the same as Mr. & Mrs Scottish, Welsh & NI enjoy but again they were disappointed to see that not only would this not happen but they would increase instead. They at least hoped their elderly parents would no longer have to sell their homes to pay for any care the same as Mr & Mrs Scottish don’t have to but this didn’t happen either. They are very disappointed that despite that 62 seat majority, they still do not get the government of their choosing the same as Mr & Mrs. Scottish, Welsh & NI do because Mr. Cameron still refuses to address either the English Question or the Barnett Formula which discriminates against every one of Mr. and Mrs. English’s family.

    They are now likely to vote UKIP, because they alone are offering Mr. and Mrs. English equality with the rest of the Un-united Kingdom.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Mr. and Mrs. English have joined UKIP, and are happier for it!

    • uanime5
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      If Cameron has a majority he wouldn’t have needed to enter into a Coalition with the Lib Dems.

      Also Mr. & Mrs Scottish, Welsh, & NI are doing very well because their regions have a lot of devolved powers. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. English should call for similar powers for themselves.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Exactly. The point is Cameron did receive a majority in ENGLAND and yet unlike the rest of the UK, England is still denied any form of self determination and is governed by a coalition nobody voted for. Mr. and Mrs. Scottish voted for a SNP government for themselves but used their second vote (Mrs & Mrs English only get one vote) to send their usual army of Labour MPs down to Westminster to overturn the wishes of Mr. and Mrs. England who are the only ones the UK coalition Government has any control over on 80% of matters nowadays, it being the only government they are allowed. The Scots Government can reject tuition fees for their own but their MPs at Westminster, with nothing to do but meddle in English only matters, can decide whether or not Mr. and Mrs. English’s children should pay them.

        Mr. and Mrs. Scottish, Welsh & NI are doing very nicely because unlike Mr. and Mrs. English, they have someone standing up for their interests and theirs alone not to mention a bigger portion of the UK coffers to spend on themselves. Mr. Cameron thinks Mrs. and Mrs. English should shut up and not mind paying out all this extra money so Messrs. Scottish, Welsh & NI can afford things they are denied on grounds of cost just so long as he can remain PM of the whole UK if in name only, after all he has already denounced us as ‘sour little Englanders’ and said he does not want to be PM of only England.

        Mr. & Mrs. England deserve better and Mr. Farage and UKIP are the only ones offering to give Mr and Mrs. England equality unlike Mr. Cameron and the Tories who wants our votes but can’t even speak of Mr. and Mrs. England by name let alone stand up for them.

  29. matthu
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    And the most bizarre thing of all, perhaps John Redwood can tell us why it is (as James Delingpole points out)

    “Here we have a Prime Minister who claims not to be a Europhile but who, apparently, would prefer to see his personal reputation and his Coalition’s reputation take several massive hits rather than allow public opprobrium for deeply unpopular measures to be directed towards the institution that devised them: the EU.”

    But stranger than that, none of the other politicians can bring themselves to point this out either.

    And neither can any of the press.

    And neither of course does the BBC.

    Because they all have their fingers in the pie. they all stand to benefit by not rocking the boat.

    So we have these unpopular measures such as the pasty tax, the charter that will allow email snooping and various acts of climate madness all being forced upon a highly disenfranchised electorate and no-one points out that it is our highly-paid aggressively tax-avoiding EU masters that are behind all of this madness.

    And they wonder why readership is deserting the mainstream newspapers and why voters are deserting the mainstream political parties.

    Now I have never voted for anything other than for one of the mainstream parties before, but what do they have to offer? Absolute deception and lies. And it’s time somebody called them on it.

    Don’t expect the newspapers to have a Damascene conversion overnight. The BBC certainly won’t: they know which side their bread is buttered.

    But any political party or independant politican that can will reap a landslide.

    • zorro
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Cameron the great Eurosceptic desperate to repatriate powers from the EU but still prepared to allow this snoopers charter….as Bazman might say…Ram it.


  30. oldtimer
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I have news for Prudence, your Liberal supporter. It is not the Greens she should blame for higher energy bills (already with us) but the party she supports, the Lib Dems (Clegg, Hume – when in office – and the rest of the party were enthusiastic windfarm supporters). She should add to the Labour (E Miliband pushed the Climate Change Act through Parliament) and the Conservatives (Cameron was gung ho in favour of it).

    • oldtimer
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      For Hume, please read Huhne. How quickly one forgets the those who have fallen from office. Unfortunately we all continue to live under the burden of his absurd Carbon Plan.

  31. matthu
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    John – please ask the question in parliament (or answer here) by what authority our government can spend millions of our taxes on raising climate awareness in the United States and Canada, Russia, Brazil, India and Tanzania?

    No wonder they were reluctant to give this information out in response to a FOIA request. Citing that it may harm international relations. Absolute drivel: they never wanted this stuff to come out because they had no right spending it in the first place, let alone in times of austerity.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      It could have been worse; they could have been raising even more climate awareness here in England!

  32. Electro-Kevin
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    If we all stopped voting tactically and, instead, voted for whom we believed in then we would pretty soon get the politicians we wanted.

    If you’re tempted to vote UKIP then you have a moral duty to vote UKIP.

    Tribal loyalties are a mistake and result in self harm. If the Tories aren’t to your satisfaction then the reason is that they’ve taken you for a mug.

    I voted Tory at the last general election but I now wish Labour had won. If only to cause the Tories to restructure and for Labour to get the blame for that which is rightfully theirs.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Slightly more on topic:

      Big Society

      Retirement age being raised to 67/70. High youth unemployment.

      Shouldn’t it be a requirement that those approaching retirement mentor youngsters to take their place ? Perhaps job-share to a degree ?

      • JimF
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        This is something that seems never to be mentioned.
        Us 55+ers made to toil away for more and more years until retirement to pay benefits to increasing number of 18-24 year olds without work. Crazy, isn’t it?

    • Bob
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


      The three main parties need to be kicked into touch. Unless your MP has a proven track record of independence from the whips and represents your views, then #votethemout

      Don’t let the media convince you that it’s a choice between Labour, Tory and Libs. It’s not true, it’s a lie.

  33. ian wragg
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Well at last I have taken the plunge and just paid my £30 sub to UKIP. Now I will expend all my efforts in their favour.
    No more votes of mine for the taxing, pro eu big government parties.
    Bring on an election.
    No good you keep promising jam tomorrow John.

    Reply: Nor UKIP promising out of the jam tomorrow but tomorrow never comes.

  34. James Reade
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Any we wonder why politicians are viewed as out of touch by the electorate when they create such wonderfully patronising caricatures of voters…

  35. Bert Young
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    So many comments and too much confusion it would seem . JR is a very sensible man – one who I would certainly vote for ( sadly I am not in his constituency ) ; he must rally forces to create the change in direction the Conservative Party have to make . Europe is the focus point and the Thurrock result ( plus the others to follow ) emphasise how important it is to do this quickly . Fingers crossed !

  36. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Am I to understand from the comments above (I wouldn’t dream these days of reading anything the Government has to say directly) that they have allowed that obsessive Huhne character to make or propose that it become illegal (or nore difficult in terms of tax) to put up what I shall call a simple ‘greenhouse type’ conservatory even with Council permission? With my high blood pressure I am glad to have been initiated in to this idiocy gradually. Those whom Ye Gods would destroy they first make mad.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      I am sure there will be an urgent need to build friendly web applications to advise and control members of the public. This new activity will effortlessly create new jobs and add to the wealth of the nation as all these employees will be paying tax. ::)

      If councils can have positions such as “Director of Wheelie Bins”, should we not expect similar positions to oversee the important developments in this expanding, innovative and leading edge policy statement? No local authority can be without one. Well, several actually, as there are holidays, training and motivational courses to to be taken.

      Will there a University that offers a degree specialising in this new regulatory system?

      There will need to be a special course for those with existing scientific knowledge to be re-educated so that they will not notice when policies contravening the the Laws of Physics are introduced.

  37. Barbara Stevens
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    We now have this brainless idea to tax renovations on property. Whoever thought of this must be desperate, and it won’t work or be accepted by the majority who keep their homes uptodate. However, I’ve recently had to us the local council for a complaint against a private landlord, and was directed to the ‘private rented housing sector’, this sector as been set up because of the number of complaints against private landlords who don’t do up their properties, thus the tenants have to complain to get things done. This is funded via the council tax which we all pay. Why is this? Why should council tax payers pay to fund these departments? Landlords who have created this problem should be made to pay for it, via a registry system and fees for each house in the rented field. As for asking homeowners to pay a green tax is nothing short of a rip off. How much more does this silly coalition expect the homeowner to be subjected to this discrimination. What of Social Housing who will pay for the repairs and updating of these homes? As most don’t pay rent and get it for free we can assume this too will be free.
    The Conservatives are on the borderline to being shifted to the back foot of politics if this sort of legisalation keeps coming. They’re doing nothing for those who have provided for themselves, but taxing those who work to the hilt, to pay for bankers mistakes, and tax cuts for the very well off. I think its about time a few of the old heads of the Tory party got together and stopped the rot, by that I mean Cameron and his ilk.
    It seems as though they are trying to tax anything they can, what we will see a erosion of properties without repairs, and we will be back to square one, poor housing stock, even in the private sector, and it’s bad enough now. UKIP appear more appealing by the day.

    • JimF
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      They’re doing nothing for those who have provided for themselves, but taxing those who work to the hilt, to pay for bankers mistakes, and tax cuts for the very well off.
      That is the new Conservative Way, I’m afraid. Although even the very well off are, actually, likely to pay more tax than they did. There is an infectious disease amongst Conservatives now that we have to tax to meet spending, and not that we have to spend to meet a sensible tax rate. Even our host seems to have gone down with a light version of this sickness (see post above).

      I think its about time a few of the old heads of the Tory party got together and stopped the rot, by that I mean Cameron and his ilk.
      “old heads” – poor Norman and Margaret can’t do much about this. The younger ones seem to have caught the LibDem infection.

      It seems as though they are trying to tax anything they can, what we will see a erosion of properties without repairs, and we will be back to square one, poor housing stock, even in the private sector, and it’s bad enough now.
      Indeed, daft as a brush. We pay income tax. We pay VAT on housing improvements (even for listed properties which were an unwritten deal that in return for VAT-free improvements the owner would look after the property in line with special planning considerations for the national interest). Now there is some special tax. OMG. What is there left to tax?

      UKIP appear more appealing by the day.
      It does to this ex-Tory voter too. The policies are costed, appealing and would be MADE to work. No back-tracking. No incontinent spend and tax by the Lab Con duopoly.

  38. Matthew
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think that the tax avoidance examples given are representative of most people’s concern, they are Jackanory type examples.

    People are concerned with aggressive tax avoidance.

    People aren’t in the main concerned with avoiding tax by giving to charity, pensions (which is only deferring tax) or national savings. The state makes allowances in these areas as it is considered to be beneficial to society overall. Indeed your list could have been much, much longer, personal allowances, ISA’s, EIS relief…. Tax relief on films that never see the cinema.
    Go to any large accountancy firm and they will offer you a route to avoid GCT (take as an example) the schemes are often untested but put together by some brainbox who graduated in string theory.
    You go with the scheme, which is clearly at variance with the letter of the law.
    HMRC contest the scheme and you either fight them or back down, the latter if you’re sensible as the state owns half of everything and has the resources to match.
    If you’re a wealthy enough individual or corporation then you take the state on and, you might just win or a compromise is reached and you make big savings.
    Meanwhile we foot soldiers get stuck with the 28% tax and 50% IT
    It’s an issue of fairness and I would welcome Mr Osborne getting tough with these people
    (Like the doors of the Ritz Hotel, the courts are open to rich and poor alike.’ Lord Darling)
    Change the words a bit, but the tax system follows a similar pattern.

    • sm
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Yep … that’s equality before the law and all. Those that can influence and control the laws that apply and or the form of the economic benefits and contractual tax terms etc should be held to a much higher level of scrutiny and public tax accounts for all (practical limits aside).

      It is self evident a minimum wage paye worker is a low risk. where as the other end of the spectrum probably requires a good reform.

  39. Derek Emery
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    There is no corporate governance in UK government or in the EU so there is no risk analysis only political analysis. Hence nobody in charge in the EU or UK saw the debt crisis coming. The UK and EU are massively in debt and will be for many many years. Hence there is no bright future possible because there is no money, only massive debt.
    Regardless of which party is in charge the damage has been done and is close to irreparable.
    It is very likely that the EU will drag along as the low growth high unemployment centre in the world. Within a decade it will have been sidelined by the advancing rest of the world economies. Most of the EU public will become increasingly dissatisfied as their future and fortune increasingly lag behind the rest of the world.

    Whichever party gains power the public will be dissatisfied because they cannot offer what the public want as far too much money will have to be spent servicing debt.

    • uanime5
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Given that certain EU countries, such as Germany, have above average growth and low unemployment it’s unlikely that the entire EU will be the low growth high unemployment centre in the world. Especially with the competition they face from African dictatorships.

      “Within a decade it will have been sidelined by the advancing rest of the world economies.”

      Even the BRICS won’t be at the current level of the UK in 10 years and may not even reach this level for 100 years.

  40. uanime5
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I like these four people, they seem realistic.

  41. Iain Gill
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I tend towards flat rate tax for everyone for all earnings. Just get rid of income tax, national insurance, dividend tax, capital gains tax and all the rest of the earnings side taxes and collapse them all down to one single flat rate tax which everyone pays on all earnings no matter how they earnt the money. They you go you’ve saved the country a fortune in wasted energy on accountants. Why on earth do I pay a fortune in tax because I trade through an umbrella company rather than through my own Limited company a la Ken? It’s a complete nonsense.
    Do I think the examples you give are the real problem? No not at all. It’s much worse that we have tens and tens of thousands of ICT visa holders working in this country paying significantly less tax than Brits because they are allowed to claim significant parts of their earnings are expenses in circumstances which a Brit working far away from home would not. It’s much worse that we have companies like (named company-ed)which is not actually a UK company rather its registered (outside UK) and engaged like its parent companies in lots of tax avoidance and lots of use of multinational registrations so that they don’t have to publish their accounts for scrutiny like normal British companies do at companies house, sucking the UK dry of wealth and intellectual property and engaged in all sorts of shady dealings.
    Do I want our rock stars to be taxed so much they all move abroad again? No don’t be silly. They on the whole earnt their money through their own work and talent.
    Your analysis misses the biggest category which is the “have given up on the political system” mass vote. People are so cheesed off with all the main parties that anyone prepared to be honest and stand will walk home, doesn’t matter whether we agree with them or not it would just be so refreshing to have some honesty. When politicians say things like “control immigration” we all know now they talk with forked tongue, the whole political bubble is far far removed from the will of the people. At some point this has got to get fixed.
    Do I think we are “all in this together”? No not at all. And I don’t think the inherited wealth and privilege kept going by the public school system can survive. If I thought swimming into a few Oxbridge oarsmen would change anything I probably would.
    Where does the positive change to improve society and reflect the will of the vast majority of legal, decent, honest citizens come from? It’s sure not coming from the press, or the political class?

    • Bob
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      A flat tax rate is a UKIP policy.
      Also, restoration of grammar schools, and immigration controls.

      Reply: And how would UKIP impose immigration control? What flat rate do they propose, anmd how much money would it raise?

      • JimF
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:
        Let’s start by not welcoming immigrants with multiple benefits which wouldn’t accrue for UK emigrants to third world countries.
        And you’re still worrying about raising taxes instead of NOT SPENDING in the first place. Please look at the coin from the other side.

      • Bob
        Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        @JR – Reply to reply

        UKIP believes in merging income tax and national insurance into a flat rate income tax to greatly simplify our tax code, which currently stands at over 11,000 pages.

        At the last election we opted to merge 20% basic income tax with 11% national insurance to create a 31% flat tax on all earned incomes over £11,500. As a tax cut for all, with a higher threshold, it would also take the poorest paid out of income tax altogether.

        It would also mean abolishing the existing 40% and 50% income tax brackets, the latter actually costing the economy rather than taking in revenue.

        For employers, UKIP aims to abolish employers’ national insurance across a parliament to end the tax on jobs. This will undoubtedly boost employment and simplify the process of employing people.

        Reply: That would cut the revenue a lot, so what would UKIP cut out of public spending to allow this , whilst also presumably tackling the deficit?

        • Bob
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          @ JR – Reply to reply:

          They would do what the Tories said they were going to do, cut the wasted billions plus EU contributions and forcing foreign aid onto countries that don’t need or want it. The country would be like a coiled spring as businesses regained confidence. The revenue growth would soon turn deficit to surplus.

        • JimF
          Posted April 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Osborne has said that he expects high earners to pay at least 1/3 of their income in tax, and yet you’re saying 31% is too low for lower mortals? OK, at least we know where we stand.

          As for saving money, where can we start? The £1000bn and growing public sector tax liability, maybe, which would be frozen? Or the bail-out money given to banks? Or the net contribution to the EU? Or the over generous benefits system where I think UKIP wouldn’t be paying 5.2% annual increases? Housing benefit which was going to be cut but never really was? Welsh language managing co-ordinators on £95000 a year, freshly appointed under this administration?

  42. Martyn
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    My grandparents, parents and my family have long been traditionally conservative with a small and big C. Of course, my granparents and now my parents have passed on but me and my family remain conservative with a small ‘c’, but will no longer vote for Cameron and the Conservative party as it stands at present.

    It once was inconcievable that the Conservatives would attack their core voters in the way that they are doing – Mr Cameron cannot blame it on the coalition that he leads and should be demanding compliance with Conservative policy, but now his policies are unrecognisable as conservative in principle I can stand no more and will not vote for him or his party again.

    I never thought it would come to this – I have great respect for my own Conservative MP and his predecessor, hard-working and good as they are but, enough is enough say I and although my vote may or may not affect the outcome for my MP, there are far larger issues to contend with and if he loses out then so be it, but vote Conservative at the next election I shall not!

  • 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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