UK taxes income and capital highly – it’s official from the EU


 Eurostat has produced an interesting document comparing the tax policies of the various EU countries. It begins with the stark conclusion:

          ” The European Union is, taken as a whole, a high tax area”

   It points out that in Japan and the USA taxes are 40% lower as a proportion of GDP. Tax levels in the rest of the advanced world and in the developing world are usually lower than the EU by a considerable margin.

           The UK is in the middle of the EU pack for overall taxation, at 38% of GDP. Where the UK is at the dear end within the overall high tax area is the taxation of income and capital.

            The UK is the second highest when it comes to the share of income  taxes in the total tax take. The UK gets 44% of all its revenue by taxing earnings and enterprise, where France gets just 26%and Germany 29%. There are only five countries with a higher top rate of Income Tax  than  the UK’s. The UK also has the third highest implicit tax rate on capital, at 37%.

          So all those why say the UK is too Anglo Saxon, and would do better if it had tax rates of a more egalitarian kind as on the continent, should rejoice. The UK is already leading the pack of high tax EU countries when it comes to the proportion of tax revenue that comes from  taxing income and capital, and is near the top when it comes to tax rates on the rich and successful.

          The problem for the EU as a whole is the high cost large government model is not delivering the same faster growth and rising living standards that lower tax and smaller government models are delivering elsewhere.


  1. lifelogic
    June 2, 2012

    Indeed and this is the nub of the problem (though it is expenditure levels rather than tax level that really count in the end) and these are nearly 50%. Furthermore on top of this we have absurd over regulation of everything and a very poor level of public services in general actually delivered. They cannot, it seems, even collect the bins efficiently, repair the roads nor run decent schools/hospitals despite this vast expenditure.

    If you bring say £10M to the UK and even do well investing it, taxes: (income tax, vat, IHT, CGT, stamp duty, VED, fuel taxes and green tosh, landfill tax and all the rest) will make sure the bulk ends up with the state in just a few years. Unless you are going to be “Morally Repugnant” as the, not quite rich comfortable, silver spoon Osborne puts it. So why would anyone do so?

    The tax levels, government waste and over regulation, which keep so many unemployed are what are truly “Morally Repugnant”. The continued employment of a clearly totally “anti business secretary” is perhaps too. Surely it is “Morally Repugnant” to give more money to such an inefficient state, when it clearly will only waste it or use it largely negatively – at least where one can legally avoid this.

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      I see that in the NHS a recent report suggests that:

      Do not resuscitate orders ‘ignored’ as doctors try to revive patients suffering cardiac arrest (is this really that hard to organise?)
      One in 52 who wanted to be allowed to die had their wishes ignored
      A third of cardiac arrests could have been prevented
      Terminally ill patients resuscitated even though it was not in their best interests
      Almost half of patient assessments when they reached hospital were not good enough.

      Free at the point of total incompetence it so often seem.

      1. Stephen Birch
        June 2, 2012

        Do you really want the doctors to waste valuable seconds reading the notes of your relative( whom they have never seen before) before starting the attempt at resuscitation? The problems are generally managerial not medical.

        1. lifelogic
          June 2, 2012

          I agree fully the problems are mainly managerial but clearly the ward should know the position (if they have expressed an opinion not to be revived) just as they need to know all the other relevant medical history. If they do not know this very quickly it is surely incompetence.

      2. Bazman
        June 2, 2012

        Is there some sort of correlation of the chances of being resuscitated and the location/price of your house and what if any planning permission applications are outstanding? I’m sure the Mail could find one.

      3. uanime5
        June 2, 2012

        So you object to doctors saving people’s lives?

        1. lifelogic
          June 3, 2012

          When they have been instructed not to, by the patient, and it is not in the patients best interests – of course I object.

    2. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      Not even the prospect of any sensible government, to replace the current socialists in three years, to uplift the spirits.

      Anyway the EU is calling the shots and is clearly heading totally the wrong way – extinguishing any vestigial democracy, common sense as it goes.

      1. Martyn
        June 2, 2012

        Lifelogic – have you seen this, a left-ish article that describes how the EU must inevitably fall apart at some point? Worth a read….

        1. lifelogic
          June 2, 2012

          I certainly do not see how the EU can ever be a democracy without a real demos. Not that it have ever tried to be one, other than as a superficial but very expensive veneer.

    3. Lindsay McDougall
      June 4, 2012

      It’s not incompetence. It’s malevolent control freakery. The NHS is a nasty, Stalinist monopoly whose time has gone, long gone. So, too, are the Social Services. If you are poor, they will steal your children and give them away to rich, barren (women-ed). If you are old, you will be pressured into taking a very bad value for money annuity so that your savings are eroded and lent to the Government, who duly waste the money.

  2. Mike Stallard
    June 2, 2012

    This figure is fascinating and is certainly not part of BBC dogma!

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      Facts rarely have much to do with BBC reporting, it is all about emotion and their big government agenda. Indeed, BBC propaganda is in large part, the cause of huge government waste, both in the UK and EU. The BBC very nearly helped to push the UK into the Euro too. They see to have forgotten that as they report on the current mess.

  3. Sue
    June 2, 2012

    So, Mr Redwood, if nobody in government listens to you, what do you suggest us “little folk” do? Not only do we have to support our huge government and it’s very generous socialist policies, we are also being fleeced to support the gargantuan EU and it’s “structural cohesion” programme. It will take years (if ever) for enough money to be transferred to the poorer members to bring them up to scratch and meanwhile all the EU can think of is “enlargement” and “a closer union”.

    What an utter nightmare. Let’s dispense with a referendum and just get the hell out of this horror. It’s getting worse by the day. Everyone knows the project is going to fail eventually.

    The UK government and especially Ted Heath have managed to bring this country to it’s knees. Do something ethical for once and tell the EU we have had enough and you are no longer willing to take advantage of Britons. We are not the Irish, we have enough courage and tenacity to make our country great again.

    1. APL
      June 2, 2012

      Sue: “So, Mr Redwood, if nobody in government listens to you, what do you suggest us “little folk” do? ”

      Good question Sue, it leads us too to ask, how do we measure Mr Redwoods policy of ‘change from within’. As broadly we like and admire Mr Redwood, we’d have to measure it on a basis that didn’t include the question’ has it achieved any change’?

      Such a policy also implies there are other individuals working to change the Tory party into a more socialist more Pro EU, less patriotic and less conservative party.
      One can only conclude that the fifth column including the likes of Clarke et al, have been more successful than Mr Redwood.


      Reply: We have our victories for the causes of smnaller government, less Eu interference and greater freedom. The best was keeping us out of the Euro. I have chronicled tax changes where the lower tax case has won or had influence. etc

      1. APL
        June 2, 2012

        JR: “We have our victories for the causes of smnaller government, less Eu interference and greater freedom. ”

        Looking at some of the recent policies of this ‘Tory’ led government, for example intrusive snooping on our internet traffic, the government hasn’t shrunk in the last two years, where is Pickles ‘slaughter of the Quangoes’?

        There has not been less EU interference, nor do we enjoy greater freedom. Do you honestly suggest the British people are more free than, for instance 1965?

        We still keep the name of a currency and call it the Pound, but our government has loaned phenomenal amounts of that money to the Irish government, the Greek government and given money away to the EU such that we will never ever see either a return on that ‘investment’* nor thereturn of that investment.

        *Tory party newspeak for profligate spending. Adopted with out a whimper of protest from Tony Blair regieme.

      2. APL
        June 2, 2012

        JR: “I have chronicled tax changes where the lower tax case has won or had influence. etc”

        And yes you have chronicled, but that is all it is, a story. You have not managed to put these stories into practice, because the Tory party isn’t in the business of being a small government, small state, fiscally conservative administration any more.

        Reply: I led opposition to a 40% CGT which helped get us a 28% instead. I urged lower Corporation Tax in the Economic Policy Review which is government policy etc

        1. Timaction
          June 2, 2012

          The Tory party is no longer the Tory Party that I and many others have voted for all our lives. All we now have is Cameron’s Calamity Coalition. A left wing liberal pro-EU, mass migration, high tax and spend, foriegn aid priority, defence cuts, big Government party. We can’t keep voting Tory if there is no difference from the socialists.
          Bonfire of the Quangos….no! 80% cuts to 20 % tax increases…No!

        2. lifelogic
          June 2, 2012

          40% CGT are they totally mad 28% is absurd.

    2. Bob
      June 2, 2012

      Well said Sue!

      1. Electro-Kevin
        June 2, 2012

        Agree, Bob.

  4. Paul Danon
    June 2, 2012

    With tax and spend rates like that, we should be booming (if we’re to believe Mr Balls and the other Keynesians). I suppose they think that, if we just raised taxes and frittered away even more money on state-projects, we’d be really well off.

  5. James
    June 2, 2012

    I’m not sure what that means in technical terms but having lived in other EU countries you certainly seem to get better value for your taxes there than you do here. You never hear of public sector workers getting the sort of obscene salaries and expenses they do here, perhaps the money is spent on roads and things which are actually useful rather than lining the pockets of those in the institutionally corrupt public sector. I didn’t resent paying taxes in those countries but I do begrudge them here as all we ever seem to hear about are the demands for more from public sector workers and stories about their luxurious lifestyles.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with how things are done in this country and it all seems to stem from the greed and corruption of those in the public sector.

    Reply: Mr Hollande is just cutting the mega salaries of some French nationalised industry bosses, so it’s not that different in high public spending parts of the continent.

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      To reply: not much sign of such cutting under Cameron. Will the new BBC Diector General get £700K+ plus a multi million pension? Or something sensible, say £140,000. Plenty good people would do it for nothing. Though I can see that being surrounded by BBC arty lefties might be a bit trying after a while.

  6. Pete the Bike
    June 2, 2012

    The only thing that possibly could save Britain from it’s socialist, high tax, huge public sector illness is a radical Conservative government with a determined and forceful leadership that would force though massive reforms.
    What we have is a slightly spiced up Lib Dem government with U turn Dave and George the pasty taxer.
    Oh dear. Reality and the markets are going to sort the mess out for us whether we like it or not.

  7. lifelogic
    June 2, 2012

    I see than, in a move one assumes Mr Osborne has designed to help the construction industry (already suffering from a lack of development lending) he has increased the skip/land fill tax from £2.50 to £64 a ton. Quite a bit of inflation there I see. Still we can all live in tents or caravans now I suppose.

    Reply: Apparently not so – there have always been two rates and the Treasury have recently issued new guidance on which waste qualifies for which rate. This guidance was not meant to change the true tax levied.

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      Oh well – that is good news for my building costs (for a change). You clearly cannot believe all you read in the Telegraph, its editorials always seems a bit socialist to me anyway.

    2. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      “not meant to change the true tax levied”

      Just a fortuitous side effect, from the states point of view perhaps?

  8. David Kelly
    June 2, 2012

    Re: your last paragraph, Mr Redwood. No sh**, Sherlock.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    June 2, 2012

    Ronald Reagan:
    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    Members of the EU didn’t seem to realise that this was a criticism of government not a blueprint for it!!

  10. Bazman
    June 2, 2012
  11. oldtimer
    June 2, 2012

    All the signs indicate that the EU is on an irreversible slide. Its social model is bust. Its tax system cannot pay for it as it stands. The tax system is uncompetitive internationally. Money must be borrowed to sustain it. Markets are waking up to the fact that the EZ is unsustainable, but it really applies to the EU social model as a whole. More and more investors (the pension funds and the insurance companies) are voting with their wallets; the skilled, mobile young are voting with their feet. It is all going to get very messy indeed. I doubt the capacity of the politicians in charge to cope with the mess.

  12. Tom
    June 2, 2012

    “The UK gets 44% of all its revenue by taxing earnings and enterprise…”

    I think you mean the UK *government* gets 44% of all its revenue, don’t you?

  13. David John Wilson
    June 2, 2012

    The government could make a major improvement at little cost by looking at the point in the cash flow cycle of both companies and individuals where tax is collected. Small companies in particular would benefit from even a small improvement in their cash flow.
    Thus for example removing employers’ NI contributions instead of reducing corporation tax improves cash flow.
    Similarly for individuals reducing income tax rather than VAT also improves cash flow.

  14. Public Servant
    June 2, 2012

    Mr Redwood,
    You and other like minded commentators spend a lot of time speaking and writing about the top rate of income tax. I wonder if you agree with me though that the creeping expansion of the higher rate to take in people on ever more modest incomes is equally troubling? None of the major political parties seem interested in this but it is surely an even bigger disincentive than the 45p rate. Secondly, a lot of airtime and column inches have been devoted in the last week to the ideas of the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. Generally speaking he has demolished the arguments of anyone the broadcasters have pitted against him. Could you devote a post to the counter arguments as I for one am yet to hear a cogent response.

    Reply: I have said I am against the expansion of the 40p tax rate band, and against the higher rates than 40% owing to the kinks in the marginal rate curve created by freezing allowances for the higher paid.
    I did not hear a cogent argument from Mr Krugman to demolish, but will look out for one.

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      Mr Krugman suffers from the usual delusion than the state invests money wisely. It near always just wastes it as anyone can see. It has usually, anyway, grabbed it from the successful (who would have done something rather better with it in the first place). They have then wasted money in the collection and distribution too and to do what- install absurd PV blink on people roofs or HS2, augment the feckless or buy votes?

  15. Martyn
    June 2, 2012

    Slightly OT but linked to some comments here, I suspect that we must soon have to all be very careful about what we say or write – including on blogs such as these – to avoid falling foul of Kenneth Clarke’s effort of introducing ‘The Defamation Act’. Under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 he assures us that it is compatible with the Convention, so that’s all right, then.

    Web search on ‘UK Defamation Act’ and you will see that it gives wide scope for those who publish (in the widest sense) anything that another considers defamatory to end up in court. A few snippets of its content are:
    2. (4) The Common Law defence of justification is abolished.
    2. (8) The Common Law defence of fair comment is abolished.
    4. (6) The Common Law defence known as the Reynolds defence is abolished.
    11. Trial to be without a jury unless the Court orders otherwise.

    It must be very satisfying for a politician to be able to simply abolish parts of our Common Law so painfully and expensively bought over one thousand years of English history. What we don’t know, of course, is how much else of our Common Law has been abolished by other Acts by governments thrusting us deeper and deeper into the EU. This Act which, although only applying to England and Wales, will enable someone in, say, Brussels to claim that you have defamed their integrity or whatever and, lo and behold, you could be dragged into a UK court and there to be tried without a jury. Nice one, eh?

    1. lifelogic
      June 2, 2012

      An outrage – has the man not done enough damage already?

      1. APL
        June 3, 2012

        lifelogic: “has the man not done enough damage already?”

        Ken Clarke isn’t in the business of ‘damage’, he is in the business of destruction!

    2. uanime5
      June 2, 2012

      Here’s a link for the complete bill:

      Here’s a few snippets you missed Martyn:
      2. (1) It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true.

      3.(1) It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the following conditions are met.
      3.(2) The first condition is that the statement complained of was a statement of opinion.
      3.(3) The second condition is that the statement complained of indicated, whether in general or specific terms, the basis of the opinion.
      3.(4) The third condition is that an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of—
      (a) any fact which existed at the time the statement complained of was published;
      (b) anything asserted to be a fact in a privileged statement published before the statement complained of.

      4.(1) It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that—
      (a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and
      (b) the defendant acted responsibly in publishing the statement complained of.

      So all this bill is doing is replacing common law defences with statutory ones. So your claim that it’s removing people’s right to defend themselves in court is clearly false.

      In civil cases trial without jury is the norm, with defamation being one of the few types of civil cases that can be heard before a jury in order to assess the level of damages that should be awarded. Given that you can’t be imprisoned for defamation (it’s not a crime) I doubt many people will object to not being tried by a jury.

      Finally the common law isn’t a wonderful as you claim it is. Common law develops either due to a lack of statutory law or to fill in the gaps of statutory law and as a result it develops in a piecemeal fashion and usually becomes so convoluted that judges petition Parliament to reform it. I doubt anyone will suffer because common law from a thousand years ago, such as ‘trespass to person’, has been constantly updated over the past thousand years.

      1. forthurst
        June 3, 2012

        The main advantages of the English Common law, was that it was constructed over time by Englishmen who were not motivated by class hatred, envy, congenital inferiority or ‘minority’ interests according to what Englishmen considered fair and reasonable as opposed to laws constructed by aliens, socialists or psychopaths such as the thoughtcrime laws of which you obviously approve.

        1. uanime5
          June 3, 2012

          The English Common law was constructed by judges that came from wealthier families who could afford to send their children to school. So while there wouldn’t have been any congenital inferiority or ‘minority’ interests due to their being no working class, female, or ethnic minority judges; there would have been plenty of class hatred and envy.

          Regarding fairness and reasonableness common law was frequently neither and because court cases were all in Latin this made it impossible for the most people to understand what was happening without a lawyer. As a result people kept petitioning the King for pardons from these bad judgements until he appointed a Chancellor, who created the Court of Equity as a way of preventing the abuses caused by the common law.

          Finally your comments about aliens shows you’re a xenophobe, your comments about socialists and psychopaths shows you don’t know what socialists and psychopaths are, and your claims about thought crimes shows you have no argument.

      2. Lindsay McDougall
        June 5, 2012

        Dr Lemuel Gulliver’s dispatch on the legal system of Brobdingnag, the land of the giants (as told by Jonathan Swift):

        “No law of that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty. But indeed, few of them extend even to that length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple terms, wherein those people are not mercurial enough to discover above one interpretation, And to write a comment on any law is a capital crime.”

        Well, we can dream.

  16. Local Tory
    June 2, 2012

    At this stage in the cycle some cuts in income tax and corporation tax are in my opinion a good idea. We could have done more if the Left had not left the government finances in such an awful state.

    Cutting taxes to incentivise wealth creation and increase demand at the bottom of the cycle is a good thing. Subverting our laws is on the other hand a very bad thing. So combining this with bringing in a General Anti-Avoidance Rule is, in my opinion, a very good idea.

    John, any views on a fiscal devaluation? i.e. cutting employment taxes (to boost labour intensive domestic industries) and increasing VAT (to make some things more expensive e.g. imports). Clearly if contemplated this is not a progressive tax policy, so would need to be combined with measures to protect people on low incomes.

    Let’s also look to reduce other non-tax business costs: subsidies to provide manufacturers with energy and maybe even water at cost; lower business rates all round; for smaller businesses, extending the relief on NI for start-ups and possibly even a corporation tax holiday for start-ups; and a benefits system that helps people to move around the UK to look for and find work.

    My fear is that people will vote again for what they want, rather than for what works and the Left will be back in with a manifesto for economic ruin. We need to get the message across that the only way to increase real wealth is through productivity gains and that there is no easy way to do that.

  17. Derek Emery
    June 2, 2012

    Presumably high taxation stems from the need that UK politicians of all parties see for a large public sector which stems from their political beliefs.

    EU countries has similar political ideas that require a large public sector and hence high taxation.I would guess this is one good reason why the EU and UK have never managed to match GDP growth in the Far East for decades.

    The public sector does not generate trade-able wealth but does up up money that otherwise could have been invested in business expansion that could generate increasing wealth and jobs.

    This could be an important factor in why there is low social mobility in the UK. The reality is few new job opportunities are generated with large spending on the public sector.

    I cant see this changing much as the basis is political ideology with tends to be set in stone, only changing slightly over many decades.

    Perhaps Eurostat is worried about the future for the EU?
    The Far East are on par now economically and technologically ahead in many areas. The most likely scenario is that they will continue to grow faster than the EU leaving it increasingly further behind technologically and economically. The effects of this differential growth are likely to be very obvious in another ten years.

    Whatever happens I cannot imagine UK and EU politicians changing their views very much.

    1. uanime5
      June 2, 2012

      Parts of the private sector also don’t generate wealth. The entertainment industry being one of the major wealth destroying industries.

      Also the only country in the Far East that’s economically and technologically ahead of the UK would be Japan, which currently has no growth. China, South Korea, and Vietnam still have a long way to go.

      1. lifelogic
        June 3, 2012

        “Parts of the private sector also don’t generate wealth. The entertainment industry being one of the major wealth destroying industries.”

        The wealth is transferred from one to another and the people paying for “the entertainment” are clearly content to pay to be entertained. Would you want to ban it?

        1. uanime5
          June 3, 2012

          Wealth transfer isn’t wealth generation. You could spend £1 million investing in a company and recoup this £1 million, but if you spend £1 million on being entertained you will never recoup any of it.

          Consequently it is inaccurate to describe the private sector as the wealth creating sector when it destroys so much wealth.

          1. APL
            June 4, 2012

            uanime5: “The entertainment industry being one of the major wealth destroying industries.”

            When you buy a ticket to a football match, or a SKY subscription, you buy it because in your estimation, you get sufficient value, entertainment, enjoyment, pleasure from the activity for you to warrant the purchase.

            You have converted your surplus wealth into something that gives you personal pleasure or enjoyment.

            In doing so, you provide employment to people working in those industries; football, Sky, the Breweries etc.

            So, the entertainment industry may consume wealth, but the important thing is that the wealth is given as a free exchange where both parties get something they value in return.

            Take the BBC by contrast, you are forced by the government to pay for the BBC because the government thinks you should be entertained and ‘informed’ with government provided ‘entertainment’ and propaganda.

            So yes, there is a good chance the BBC as an industry does destroy wealth. It is neither freely offered nor freely consumed therefor you cannot measure its actual worth.

            But as it is just another arm of BIG government, you shouldn’t really be surprised.

  18. Electro-Kevin
    June 2, 2012

    When much of our economy is based on ‘taking in each other’s washing’ it’s unsurprising that we need such high taxation to keep it all going.

    Without high taxation I imagine that our wonderful housing market would collapse too.

  19. frank salmon
    June 2, 2012

    Thanks John
    Can you tell your colleagues? In particular George Osbourne and Cameron. Tell them they need to adopt UKIP policies if we are ever going to get out of this mess.

  20. Richard1
    June 2, 2012

    The correlation between lower taxes, especially on enterprise, and economic performance is very clear. It is constantly denied by Leftists and their mouthpieces in the media. The reference above to the prominance and exceptionally soft ride given to the leftist economist Paul Krugman is an example. The Conservatives need to move some bigger guns into the front line in the intellectual debate on this and other issues. Some of the lightweight figures now in position must be promoted to roles more suited to their abilities. Its important we win. The good news is the facts are on our side.

    1. uanime5
      June 2, 2012

      How do you explain Germany which has high taxes and strong economic performance? What about all the African countries that have low taxes and poor economic performance?

      It seems the correlation between lower taxes and economic performance isn’t as clear as you claim it is.

      Reply: As I have shown from EU sources, the UK is at the dear end of the EU spectrum on tax.

      1. uanime5
        June 3, 2012

        I though you said it was in the middle, not the dear end.

        “The UK is in the middle of the EU pack for overall taxation, at 38% of GDP. ”

        Reply: At the dear end on taxation of income and capital, in the middle overall.

      2. Richard1
        June 5, 2012

        Africa is finally digging its way out of a long dark age of brutality and socialism. The more market-oriented countries are doing best. Zimababwe, which has much the highest taxes, is doing worst.

        Germany benefited from decades of moderate taxes, tight public spending controls, low inflation, moderate unions, when we in the UK had socialism high taxes, militant unions and inflation. When Mrs Thatcher came in relative preformance began to change – the UK caught up rapidly. Germany (on a relative basis) became sclerotic and was then hit with the integration costs of E Germany. Germany since approx 2000 has undergone a new market-oreinted transformation with welfare reforms and spending cuts and is now again competitive, especially within the EU. On a global comparison they still have high taxes as you point out. They will have to cut taxes and encourage enterprise more, building for example a stronger service sector, if they want to compete with the most dynamic areas of the world.

        It couldnt be clearer: big government and socialism leads to poverty. Free markets and low taxes mean prosperity. Look at the facts.

  21. Steven Whitfield
    June 2, 2012

    I think Mr Redwood must concede that his position is weakened by the fact that he is a member of the Conservative party that took the unhinged decision to match Labour’s spending plans. Whether he supported the policy personally or not, it makes his position less comfortable…. unless he makes a clean break and joins UKIP.

    Reply: I argued not to adopt Labour’s spending plans and proposed lower levels of spending and borrowing. I helped persuade the leadership to come off the Labour plans as the crisis developed.

    1. Norman
      June 3, 2012

      and the delicious irony its when you look at Darlings five year pre-election plan Osborne its following it almost to the pound.

  22. Bruce of Burghfield
    June 2, 2012

    Can I finish with some appropriate humour: Christopher Columbus was a Socialist. He did know where he was going, he did know where he was when he arrived and could not tell people where he had been when he got back. And he did it all on borrowed money. Says it all really!

  23. uanime5
    June 2, 2012

    Given that most of the world is composed of developing countries it’s no surprise that Europe seems high tax by comparison. After all if a country has no welfare or free healthcare they won’t need as much money to pay for everything.

    The USA has lower taxes because of lower levels of welfare and healthcare. As a result they have much higher levels of homelessness and people dying because they can’t get medical treatment.

    In Japan they have a healthcare system in which each person has to pay part of the cost their treatment. Also despite their low taxes they haven’t had any growth in over 2 decades. It seems lower taxes don’t always produce higher growth.

    I suspect there are many more such difference in the services provided by these countries which explain why various countries have different tax levels. It would be more helpful to examine how cost effective these services are rather than just examining the total cost.

    Finally the UK gets more taxation from income tax than France or Germany because of the higher levels of income disparity. In France or Germany no employer would be able to earn 10 times the salary of their lowest paid employees, unlike the UK where earning more than 1,000 time their salary is becoming more common.

    Reply: If French income differentials are so low why then is the new President busily cutting top salaries?

    1. uanime5
      June 3, 2012

      One would assume that it will mainly affect people who work in small companies that pay exceptionally high salaries, celebrities, and professional athletes.

  24. Javelin
    June 2, 2012

    Very well sourced rumours of Spanish bailout next week. SEC enacted a 7% circuit breaker on individual stocks on the DJA late on Friday which has created fear in the US. Despite perky headlines a lot of traders are voicing fears of an imminent meltdown. If Spain goes before the EU bailout mechanism is agreed it will put Lehmans into perspective. Friday at my desk felt like the days before the ERM bail out when I worked on the FX desk at BZW in Tower Hill.

  25. Сретеновић
    June 5, 2012

    UK taxes income and capital highly – it’s official from the EU…

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