Tax, tax and tax again

 

            Some politicians in the UK are only happy when they are thinking how they can take more money away from people to spend as politicians see fit. Far from wanting a private sector led recovery, they wish to shrink the private sector further in order to pay for a larger public sector.

            This week-end has seen the news dominated by Labour’s plan for a Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2m, and the Lib Dem’s possible plan for a wealth tax on assets of more than £2m. The Coalition have already increased Stamp Duty substantially on dearer properties, put Capital Gains Tax up to 28% from 18%, and cut the amount of money people can save in a pension fund from unlimited to £1.8m, then to £1.5m and in due course to £1.25m. Maybe that sets a precedent for how a Wealth Tax would work. It would start at a larger sum and work downwards quickly as politicians got a taste for spending the revenue from it.

             These new proposed Wealth taxes are on top of our existing wealth taxes – people with wealth pay CGT on any gains, income tax on any income the assets generate, Inheritance Tax on passing it to the next generation, and a host of other property and spending taxes.

              Labour’s tax might entail a person with a £2m property having to pay an extra £25,000 a year to live in it. That might be fine for a multimillionaire with a big income, but might be impossible for a pensioner living in a two bedroom flat in central London  which they bought years ago for a small sum, when they have only a modest income.  Income Tax is at least based on ability to pay. An asset tax is not based on that, and forces asset sales by people who are asset rich but income poor.

             A Mansion Tax might lead to people knocking down part of their property to reduce its value below the threshold. Window taxes led to blocking up windows. Mansion taxes could lead to the demolition of the conservatory or the conversion of a spare room into an outbuilding. Maybe people will invite in teenagers to have a week-end party in their place, to do enough damage to take £50,000 off the value to keep it below the threshold.  Unchic shabby will become the new decor for the flats hovering aroungd the £2m. People will be declaring noisy neighbours and anti social behaviour in their street to drive the values down.

             The Lib Dem’s wide ranging possible Wealth Tax will create many more anomalies and problems for many more people. The widow in the £1.999m flat will not want to be given gem jewellery or a good painting, as it could take her  into territory where suddently she would have to pay £20,000 a year wealth tax at 1%. It will give the very rich another reason to go offshore altogether. Buy to let landlords will be dumping their properties, and rushing to spend their surplus on better holidays or more expensive cars that depreciate rapidly. Maybe new businesses will spring up to take valuables off people, in return for letting them use or enjoy them without owning them. The Parliamentary draftsmen will need to be sharp to make the tax difficult to avoid.  Assets are likely to be shared out more evenly amongst family members, with informal arrangements on their use that the taxman might find difficult to crack. The government is likely to lose out on Inheritance Tax, as more better off parents decide the give things to their children early so they no longer have to pay a Wealth Tax on them.

            I would be  interested in your thoughts on this latest wheeze from the politicians.

 

 

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285 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Please keep it simple,to help the low paid keep raising the Tax free allowance forget the 10p rate it’s something else for firms to work out.
    Cut taxes and everyone will spend more!

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      @Brian Taylor
      “Cut taxes and everyone will spend more!”

      Yes, and businesses will invest and employ more.

      1. Lower tax rates = more tax revenue.

      2. High tax rates = less tax revenue.

      High tax rates, IHT, CGT, mansion tax and wealth tax are designed to appeal to those who are envious of success. Once you’ve skinned the rich, then what? eat them? Don’t be surprised if they leave for sunnier climes.

      Make no mistake, we have a spending problem, and punishing work and success is the opposite of what the government should be doing.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        It low taxes resulted in more tax revenue then a 1% tax rate would result in the most tax revenue. Tax rates are raised because higher taxes almost always result in higher tax revenues.

        High tax rates, IHT, CGT, mansion tax and wealth tax are designed to appeal to those who are envious of success.

        No they’re designed to prevent the greedy hording huge amount of money.

        Also it’s possible to be successful without being hugely wealthy.

        • Edward
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Uni,
          We have reached a point where setting rates at their optimum is the way to result in the rich paying even more tax, which I presume you want to happen.
          The trick is to decide what that number is.
          If you just want a headline figure to satisfy your socialist envy based politics, well fine keep putting rates up and add extra new taxes but if you want to raise more revenue then you need to get smart on rates.

        • David Price
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          If the money was payment for my labour that I have saved up, how is that hoarding, how would that be greedy?

          If you spend your money in Spain on holiday while I invest the same amount at my risk, receive dividend and sell at a profit, how is that being greedy?

          If I save up and buy a house instead of spending it on holidays and gambling and booze, why should I pay a wealth tax and you pay nothing?

          What is your definition of huge?

          • APL
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            David Price: “If the money was payment for my labour that I have saved up, how is that hoarding .. ”

            It’s standard deranged ‘left world’ ideology. Springs from the poisoned well, we exist to service the state.

        • Single Acts
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Who are you to say what is greedy or hoarding and so what anyway? If I can sell wildly popular software, how much money am I allowed to make?

          My personal conduct does not need to be approved of by you, anymore than yours has to be approved of by me.

        • Sarah Parsons
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          We bought our house 12 years ago as a rundown wreck. We have poured money into it – all our money from taxed income. It is not worth 2 million but is not that far off – should we abruptly stop improving it, thereby not employing various professionals. Are we greedy and hoarding cash – no just normal working folk with two small kids and a just above average income. On what basis is the capital value of our house to be taxed? To us it seems like theft. We couldn’t possibly afford to pay such a tax. the only people who think this tax is a good idea is those to whom it couldn’t ever apply.
          Would we be better off to buy two houses instead? Its all utterly stupid.

        • Monty
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          It isn’t the people who earned their own money who are greedy. It’s the re-distribution obsessed left who lie awake at night fearful that somewhere in this land, there might be some money that they haven’t staked their claim to.
          This obsession with money, other people’s money, is a chronic disease of the psyche. And the ugliest part of it is this, you are happy to tax some poor dork who slaves away all day every day for the £13K minimum wage, so that the feckless and the bone idle can take £25K a year on benefits, and live in a mansion.
          That’s greed.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          You appear to lack the imagination to grasp anything more than the mantra that higher tax must mean more tax revenue. Using your logic the 98 percent income tax rate must have been the most successful tax ever. Shame that the facts do not support your theory on this subject. Have a look at what happened to tax revenues when income tax was reduced by Nigel Lawson in 1986. By all means let us know how you get on.

          And preventing the greedy from hoarding huge amounts of money? That is truly priceless!

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          Of course at low single figure % rates then higher rates will raise more tax, but when you get much above 30% higher rates just push the rich abroad and start to cause damage to jobs, growth and tax revenues.

          Of course it’s also possible to be successful without being hugely wealthy. But it is not generally greed that drives the rich and they do not hord the money, in general they invest it to produce more, lending it to others expand their businesses, give it to charity, or make countless other investments. Usually are far better investments than the HS2, windfarm subsidies, transfers to the PIGIS, the EU and the feckless, or high pay for countless bureaucrats that the government prefers. Indeed almost anything would be better than those absurd “investments”.

        • stred
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Most of the ‘greedy hoarders’ are people who, having no generous State pension, have decided to invest in order to provide enough income when they retire. They pay tax on this income and often have to spend a lot of time looking after their investment. How would you like State pensions to be taxed twice on a notional value as if they were to return a similar return as filched private schemes?

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

          As I was walking down the stair
          I taxed a man who wasn’t there
          He wasn’t there again today
          I’m sorry that he’s gone away

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          unanime–Did you really say, it is possible you could believe, what you just said about 1%? That is as daft as you have ever been. As I have said before in a different context, why not make it 0.1 % or 0.00000001% or whatever? You must have been great at graphs at school. Unless they are straight, which the one in question certainly isn’t, they go up and down and have peaks where, in the case we are talking about, the obvious principal compensating effects (Higher rate vs Greater Avoidance and Evasion) cancel out. I suppose you think 100% tax is the way to go–anything to feed your hatred of people who have done well, both for themselves and the country.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        The Laffer curve argument falls down for me as I suspect that the rich do not want to pay any taxes or even believe they should. That is a cost for the little people. As for moving abroad, bluffs need to be called. You’re having a Laff.

        • David Price
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          France has wealth tax and from 1998 they have lost 50 times in capital flight what they have received in wealth taxes. Seems a lot of people there called the socialists bluf

          • Bazman
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            Don’t believe the hype, often the loss is made up from the ones who stay and lets face it how many billionaires are going to Moscow? Its the billionaires coming from Moscow to buy houses in ‘high tax’ London. Depardieu has yet to move to Moscow and has in reality took up residency in Belgium. The mega wealthy can buy houses and live in different places. Are we to compete with that?

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          But Baz, no-one chooses to pay tax, we are compelled to by law. I’m sure there are plenty of people in all walks of life that think they should keep more of their own money, as they can spend it much more efficiently than the politicians ever do. Not just the super rich – anyone.

          Bluffs have already been called and those wealthy enough to be able to move away have done so. Good riddance you’d say, but the country is worse off as a result – because tax revenues are falling and all that disposable income is being spent elsewhere so domestic businesses suffer.

          Remember when Usain Bolt said he wouldn’t race here because of the extortionate tax rates? In subtle ways high tax means the UK is worse off not better off.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          Bazman–It’s clear that you have a less than in-depth understanding of the global economy, which is not going to go away because you don’t like it. Some of us – certainly me – know people personally who have gone off to Hong Kong. Bluff indeed. What rot.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      @Brian Taylor: True but the problem is that not all will do so, and i suspect that many will just ‘bank’ the money (to many booms and busts, once bitten twice shy and all that) and that is only going to cause one thing, a still stagnant economy, people need to be encouraged to spend, so perhaps raising VAT to 20% was a wrong move -yes I know all the arguments about the deficit…

      • David Price
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        I was under the impression that banks take each of your £1 savings and leverage it into £9 of loans, or whatever the permitted multiplier is. So saving generates more money in the economy than simply spending it. Those loans are presumably used by other people to fund enterpises, buy goods and buy houses.

        So not a stagnant situation after all, quite the reverse.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

          @David Price: I used inverted comers for a purpose, such are the state of the banks, and the interest rates so low to almost be meaningless, it would not surprise me if some are using the proverbial “zip-up mattress” as their personal ‘banks’ – understand now?…

          In any case, you describe what banks used to do, in case it has escaped your notice banks are not lending or in the past they leant to much and thus over reached themselves, do not be so sure that banks will be in any hurry go back to such practises even if the government/BoE wished it.

          • John McEvoy
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            What are ‘inverted comers’? I dread to think.

  2. Nina Andreeva
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Not much chance of me being able to knock down parts of my palatial gaff in Clifton its a listed building. I cannot even have double glazing put in without some ponce from the council warning me that it would have to be immediately removed because it will ruin the area’s unique Georgian architecture. While at the same time some other ponce from the council keeps sending me stuff on global warming which I would love to comply with if I could have double glazing, so I could turn the central heating down and use less fossil fuels in the first place. Eff ‘em

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Double glazing rarely pays for itself anyway. Some nice Georgian shutters and an extra jumper perhaps.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I live by a main road so I would like to keep the noise down too. However the point I am trying to make is that this tax is just another ill thought idea with the potential consequences ignored. How about the government really cracking down hard on those council tenants who refuse to pay their rent just to balance things out?

        • stred
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          I know Clifton and it is a lovely part of Bristol. In my houses with Victorian douglas fir sliding sashes, as these are still in good condition, I adapted the existing frame with a 10mm hardwood spacer and put a laminated glass pane on the inside. This provides double glazing at a small cost. Insulating E glass could be used. A good seal is vital. I cut down the number of openings, as these are really not necessary, and seal draughty frames with acrylic glazing putty. With internal multifoil wall insulation my bills have reduced by 2/3. Street noise has been drastically reduced. It is possible that some council tosser would object to this if it is listed. However they would be unlikely to find out, as it is all internal and the outside stays the same.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Double glazing, insulation, gas central heating, climate control, shorts/T shirt in the winter and summer indoors, with low bills. Anything less is just not civilised or green/efficient and I don’t fancy a tin bath in front of the fire over a gas combi shower either. The Georgian was for Georgians and have all been killed by time probably helped by poor living conditions.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Nina–Ever considered that you should not be living in a listed building? Double Glazing is repellent in such a setting.

      • Edward
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Leslie, I have long experience of Grade 2 listed homes and there are some strange features.
        The listing tends to freeze the building in the state it is in at the time of the listing.
        So you can have awful double glazing or an unsuitable conservatory if they were already there when listing took place and you may then struggle to change these features for more historically correct ones, once listing has taken place.
        Incidentally there are some clever double glazed glass units which fit discretely into the old frames which look no different and save a lot of energy.
        Some more enlightened local authorities do allow these to be fitted.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Edward– I went to view a lovely old listing building not too long ago–lovely that is superficially from the outside. As soon as I got inside, I almost literally choked on the double glazing. Apart from the to-me-horrible artificially uniform white plastic, there were the entirely inappropriate pseudo brass pseudo bright non tarnishing identical modern handles. The lady seller saw my face drop and told me that she understood, that I wasn’t the first to evince such a reaction and that she herself had always hated the windows. She said she had, soon after moving in just a couple of years ago, obtained a quote to have them removed but had found that idea to be prohibitively expensive. The reason for the sale was that she was getting divorced, she said. She did not quite say this but the flavour was that her unhappiness over the windows, which I gathered had caused arguments, was one of the reasons for the divorce. Good draught-proofing, heavy drapes (meaning literally draping on the floor as they should) with proper pelmets, a nice thick sweater and a big real fire are the answer in such buildings. For my money, literally, I reckon any savings on heating stand in danger of being wiped out by diminution in the value of the house.

        • John McEvoy
          Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Why ask the local ‘authority’? Just get on with it.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Could probably install bespoke double glazed sash windows, but does not want to spend the money. Is that right Nina?

        • Bazman
          Posted February 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          We will now take that as right.

    • MajorFrustration
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I know the feeling. Strange the stance taken as regards windows. My council were the same – wanting to keep the windows as they were in 18C. I reminded them that in 18C there was no running hot/cold water and no central heating in the property but that did not seem to matter. Idiots

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        But if you wanted a huge, pointless, wind turbine (occasionally even rotating) crucifix in the garden I am sure that would be just fine with planning.

        Even/especially in non windy Notting Hill!

        • Nina Andreeva
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          LL I am not making this up . Although I cannot have double glazing there are lots of Georgian houses in my street with the subsidised solar panels on the roof. Although they are mostly out of sight unlike my tasteless white UPVC windows would be, it seem some energy saving devices are more equal than others.

          Time for tea now and quick read of “Benefits Briefing” from the Agitprop Dept of Bristol City Council which has just popped through the letter box. Perhaps I might get lucky and be entitled to some free money? Other than that it will be soon heading for lining the bairns budgie cage.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            “it seems some energy saving devices are more equal than others”

            Except that the PV bling does not actually save any energy anyway just wastes tax payer’s money.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Major, Beg to differ. Have you no eyes to see? Not too long ago, with the bringing on of ghastly modern cheap materials, in particular concrete, sheet glass and plastic (shudder!), the world came to an end after wonderful millennia during which everything was made of natural materials and architects were forced to build and did build beautiful (real arches for instance). That’s what makes a Horse Race I guess.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Indeed and if you do replace the window the new ones will be made of some cheap “wood” cardboard that rots in a few years or worse plastic.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            Not if you pay for hardwood and all this PVC snobbery is just that. At least the windows can open and close as well as stopping heat and noise all year round. It depends on like most things the correct application. Cheap PVC in a 16th century cottage is just arse without any planning laws and if there were no planning laws this is what you would get. Rotting softwood windows in a 1970′s council house are crying out for PVC and this is what a council or landlord will use. The idea that they are without problems and maintenance is false though. The ten year warranty and the deadly competition usually solves that though. As long as ABC windows does not dissolve and become abc windows, as often they do.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Do we not have too many listed buildings. By all means keep Grade I and Grade II listed buildings but why not get rid of the Grade III category. This country lives in the past too much. If we known some of the low quality ancient rubbish, the buildings that remain will attract more tourists and revenue.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Sorry – ‘knock down’, not ‘known’.

    • D K McGregor
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      You will be allowed to have secondary glazing which is more effective than sealed units but more obtrusive on the interior. Or maybe you could have a man in to install some straw.

  3. Steve Cox
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    That politicians of all colours are totally addicted to spending other people’s money is no surprise and certainly not news, but I am very disappointed that a supposedly Conservative-led government is, in effect, both proposing and enacting penal taxation policies similar to those favoured by the Socialist government in France. In that regard I have only one thing to say: Gerard Depardieu.

    Mr. Osborne got his deficit reduction plans bass-ackwards (as my American friends say), first increasing taxes until the pips squeaked, supposedly to be followed by the “savage” spending cuts. The damage that increasing taxation has done to the recovery is only too evident and you have pointed it out on this blog on many occasions, while the prospect of any significant reduction in the deficit between now and 2015 becomes remoter by the day. Mr. Osborne has, in effect, done almost exactly what a Chancellor Ed Balls would have done if he had been in office. It’s no wonder that the mess just keeps on getting worse.

  4. Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Tactics aside, what matters here are the ethics. It’s wrong for government (or anyone) to take from us what we own. This includes earnings as well as assets.

  5. Peter Davies
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I’m not a rich ‘toff’ or anything like that but in my mind these types of taxes are ideas to mobilize one part of society against another and in reality would do little to raise any substantial extra revenue. This is more about grabbing popular headlines that anything else I suspect.

    The reality is that the Lib Dem jewellery proposal is typical of what to expect from the Lib Dems, absolutely barking mad. They will probably be wiped out come the election in any case so are starting to look desperate.

    Labour’s mansion tax is equally likely to achieve nothing, if you had a mansion worth x, I’m sure it would not be difficult to split part of it off into separate flats to let out thus reducing the value of the part you live in. As for the expensive central London flat scenario, in reality how many are there as a percentage of the UK that fit that bracket? Not too many I guess.

    The thing that worries me if this these people do get elected some of this sort of thinly disguised socialist rhetoric will simply scare investors who bring money into the UK away.

    The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and again and still failing – as you point out the only thing that has achieved more revenue is the VAT increase, all the others rises have had the opposite effect so the only thing in reality that will help is dropping the EU monster, dropping taxation and cutting spending properly. Had they cut back properly in 2010 we would probably be almost sorted by now.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      @Peter Davies: “I’m not a rich ‘toff’ or anything like that but in my mind these types of taxes are ideas to mobilize one part of society against another and in reality would do little to raise any substantial extra revenue. This is more about grabbing popular headlines that anything else I suspect.

      Indeed, taxing the ‘toffs’ is much the same as cutting benefits from the ‘shirkers’ (meaning the poor and unemployed, not the work-shy), playing one class off against another -and don’t think that “class” ever went away…

      • APL
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Jerry: “taxing the ‘toffs’ is much the same as cutting benefits from the ‘shirkers’”

        Not the same at all.

        One is money a person has acquired through ( hopefully ) honest hard work, the other isn’t.

        Jerry: “(meaning the poor and unemployed, not the work-shy)”
        Suggest a simple and effective method to distinguish one from the other.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          @APL: Of course it is, the fact that you can’t see it just shows how blinked you are to anything other than what you want to read or hear – both words are the language of political hate, “Toffs” and “Shirkers”, classic divide and rule tactics.

          And as you ask, perhaps a shirker is someone who is plying golf when they should be at the office, an unemployed person is someone who wishes to work but because the shirker is playing golf thus the company is merely coasting rather than looking at ways to expand and thus there are not enough jobs for everyone to be employed – ho-hum…

          You can only, by definition, call someone a ‘shirker’ if they are claiming JSA, are actively seeking work (which again, by definition they are to be claiming JSA [1]) if you first have 100% employment [2], it is a simple case of basic arithmetic!

          [1] if JSA claimants fail to prove this then JSA is stopped, so no need to to apply Mr I. D. Smith’s 6:30am curtain test, which might be closed due to the night shift working having just gone to bed, or the afternoon shift worker not needing to be at work until 2pm, not because the person behind the curtains is necessarily a ‘shirker’

          [2] which means suitable work, not just any work, in many cases, due to either the requirement for having the skills, training, security/CRB clearances etc, physical health and fitness to do the job

          • APL
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

            Jerry: ““Toffs” and “Shirkers”, classic divide and rule tactics.”

            Which it seems to me you are indulging in.

            Now a wealthy person, or in your lingo, a ‘toff’ may be independently wealthy through inherited wealth, or a ‘self made’ individual, it is really irrelevant since he or she owns his or her wealth. With the proviso that he or she came by that wealth honestly, no one has the legitimate right to take that wealth from that person simply because he or she possesses it.

            No again using your ‘lingo’ don’t own anything that hasn’t been obtained by dishonest means, that might be pretending to be unavailable to work for a variety of false reasons, and they intend to take advantage of the funds allocated to the less well off to avoid earning an honest penny themselves. I seek to discourage this behavior.

            As to your other nonsense, it warrants no reply.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            @APL: “Which it seems to me you are indulging in.

            Thanks for totally failing to understand the point, look out for those low flying clues APL! :(

            Now a wealthy person, or in your lingo, a ‘toff’ may be [..//..]

            Actually it was Peter Davies who used the term first.

            But as you really do not seem to get it, let me spell it out for you, for me the use of “Toffs” by the left or the use of “Shirkers” by the right are both equally wrong.

            As to your other nonsense, it warrants no reply.

            “Nonsense” being what you do not understand, or what you can not refute of course, otherwise you would be able to be specific about what you think is “nonsense”, for example are you seriously suggesting that job-seekers who do not actively seek work will not have their JSA stopped, that some jobs do not require CRB clearance, of that some people do not take unofficial time off work?…

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Rather than splitting a mansion into flats why not just get a lodger. It’s much the same idea but requires much less rebuilding.

      • Sarah Parsons
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Take more than a lodger to pay the tax though.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        unanime–Well down to standard. A lodger is one person with but a single room to himself and sharing the owner’s front door and facilities whereas flats can be any size, have by definition their own front door and facilities and often families live in them. See any difference yet? Good, because they are completely different things. Good grief.

  6. colliemum
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    This latest wheeze will not be the latest for very long.
    The simple fact is that for most politicians taxing is the easy way out, and therefore it is taken without thought. However, we’ve now reached the point predicted by A.F>Tytler:
    “”A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

    There are only two ways out of this. Both are radical, and are sure to attract the ire of all oh-so-wellmeaning socialist distributors of other people’s money.
    One is the flat tax, where everybody pays a tax set at 10, or 20%, and that’s it. Everybody means even the welfare recipients have to pay.
    The other is to let only those vote who are paying income and council tax.

    But before such reforms there’s one more thing politicians could do: go through the various departments and their requirements with a thick red pencil. Do we need all the quangos? Where is the promised ‘bonfire’ of them? Do we need all the various departments who are not doing their job but shuffle paper and make up new boxes to tick? Both the Mid Staffs scandal and the FSA scandal show that we pay for a bureaucracy which does not work.

    However, having become somewhat cynical, I don’t think anything like that will happen. But there will be an uprising when the burden on the productive middle class is becoming too great: why should we pay for the unproductive parts of this society, one of which takes and the other of which who grabs? Who knows what the spark will be. But that we’re sitting on a powder keg, in these Western societies, should be pretty obvious by now.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Did A.F>Tytler every provide any examples of this happening? If not then why should anyone take it seriously.

      Your first idea about tax cuts for the wealthy and tax hikes for the poor is idiotic and will result in riots not seen since the poll tax was introduced. Your second idea is equally idiotic and will also result in riots not seen since the poll tax was introduced. The only difference between the two is that the riots against the first will be about not paying taxes, while the riots against the second will be about a severe threat to democracy. You’ve also failed to provide any evidence of a problem of how these solutions will help solve this problem.

      Finally I take it that by “unproductive parts of this society” I take it you’re also referring to the wealthy who keep trying to lower their tax bill as much as possible.

      • John Wood
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        The Romans had a good go at it – Bread and circuses.

        However NOTHING compares with the debt-fuelled economy we have today caused by fractional reserve banking. We have had 5 years ‘recession’ where people have been paying off debt and private debt has only shrunk from 160% of GDP to 140% of GDP – It would have to get down to 100% to match the 1997 figure – so this figures to be another 10 years.

  7. lifelogic
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    It is endless waste and excessive spending by the government that is the problem. The UK has rarely managed to raise any more that about 40% of GDP in taxes and this is far too high for the general good of people and the economy. They are spending/wasting at 50%.

    Wealth taxes are just theft, they take money from people who have earned it and in general use it well then give it to governments who largely waste it. Causing damage to individuals, the wrong incentives and the economy in general. What about the “wealthy” person with a £2M assets and £2M of debt on it anyway?

    For a government that comes to power promising a £1M IHT threshold to be even contemplating this type of theft is appalling and a clear fraud against the voters. Just the contemplation is damaging to the economy.

    On pensions, annuity rates have been pushed so low, by government actions, that £1.25M might only give an index linked pension of about £30K less tax of say 40%. That just gives £18,000 PA net. Meanwhile an MP gets a gross pension of £33,000 after a mere 20 years service.

    The maximum pension they can get after just 28 years is worth rather more than the £1,25 limit they impose on others. Still we are all in it together as they keep lying to us – not me though as I have sensibly left.

    IHT, CGT on non real gains, and wealth taxes are damaging and will not even raise tax as the wealth will just go and the rich and the entrepreneurial with it.

    It will make the UK a country mainly for a few rich non doms, benefit claimants, health care migrants, state sector “workers”, cash in hand merchants, criminals and benefit cheats. They will end up with less tax not more – just as the French are doing.

    Reply Pensions are valued at 20 times, so your £33,000 gross MP pension has a notional capital value of £660,000

    • David Price
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: But you can’t get a perpetually index linked annuity of 5%, more like 3% for joint life if you are lucky so the notional capital requirement for £33,000 gross in the real world is closer to £990,000. And that for only partial contributions from the beneficiary compared to full contributions for 40 years for the rest of us in private pensions.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      To reply:- yes, but annuity rates for an RPI linked joint pension suggest a multiplier of more like 35. Once again the rules discriminate against the private sector with mainly defined contribution schemes.

      A full MP pension exceeds the £1.25M rule they set for others on a rational analysis.
      Do as I say not as I do seems to be the rule once again.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I see BBC journalists (already hugely overpaid and pensioned) have gone on strike for 24 hours.

      A good opportunity to sack them all perhaps and just take back the 10% who are not lefty, pro EU, AGW, enforced equality religion loons on about half current pay levels.

      Doubtless those being made redundant will be getting very generous pay offs and pensions as is the norm in the BBC/state sector.

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        10% ?

        That many!

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          2% then?

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      John ,

      When a pension pot above a certain size (£1,250,000) is cashed in and turned into an annuity, tax is immediately liable on the excess over £1,250,000 .

      Thus a worker with a defined benefit scheme can get a retirement income of £62,500 a year before they have to pay tax on their pension pot.

      Someone with a pension pot of £1,250,000 million faced with the choice of buying an indexed linked annuity at a rate of 3.3% would only be able to get a pension of £41,250 before their pension pot would be taxed .

      Why yet again do we see discrimination against those people who do not have the option of a defined benefit pension ?

      Why is the Govt providing it’s own workers with an implied annuity rate of 5% when the best available to anyone else is 3.3% ?

      Isn’t it time you came clean about the cost of defined benefit pensions and transitioned the whole of the public sector onto the same schemes which are available to lesser mortals ?

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Indeed pay for your own pension you are discriminated against. Get the tax payer to pay it and your are not.

        There is the further limit of 40K PA which hits them too especially when they have variable years.

        • A different Simon
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Yep ,

          Annual assessment of tax hits the irregularly employed and self employed with variable incomes .

          I’m convinced that tax on savings interest and CGT which don’t take account of inflation are just catch alls to prevent people avoiding inflation – the silent tax .

          This almost persuaded me to put some money in my SIPP this year but with the Govt so desperate for money I don’t really want to make it that easy for them and lets face it they have got form .

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Only about 4% of the population pay inheritance tax and is supported by most a justified and progressive tax. Why do you thing the Tories did a u turn? Often the money is not earned and is horded by the rich in offshore tax havens. Or in banks that speculate on housing bubbles. Who is going to pay for infrastructure without tax? Tolls on everything and taxes made regressive such as VAT? Does a NHS worker work harder when the hospital has been taken over by a hedge fund paid by the government or a private nurse more dedicated and competent than an NHS one?

      • Monty
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        “Often the money is not earned and is horded by the rich in offshore tax havens.”

        Funny attitude to whether wealth has been earned. It’s none of your business anyway, because if their own claim to their own wealth is suspect, the claim of the treasury is absolute zero.

        Noticeable too, that you and uanime make identical spelling mistakes. Could you two perchance be somehow related? I think we should be told…..

        • Bazman
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Simple argument for a simple man though the idea will no doubt go over your elitist apologist head.
          The wealth has often created by the use of this countries education and infrastructure. Tolls need to be paid for this and the stability of this country. Allowing them to comfortably and safely retain most of this wealth. This is a big and legitimate claim. See how far this would go in say Russia. The spelling is probably because myself and uanime use the same browser and spell checker. Can I be excused now Sir or am I in detention? Ram it.

    • Jon
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      MPs can go for an accrual rate of 1/40th instead of the 1/60th for an extra 5% contribution. I’m not sure if the tax free lump sum is accrued separately like other public sector schemes so that may need to be taken into account. Then again this goes back to whether MPs salaries are high enough.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      How do you think they have earned it without using any of the infrastructure or education and how do you think they will keep any of it without the stability and civilization of the state due to taxation paying for the police and the army to name but two? More blind propaganda and thickness.

  8. Single Acts
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    To be honest, Labour plans for the private rented sector are more or less already its death knell. They are talking about increased security of tenure and ‘fair’ rents. It takes about 6-8 months to dislodge a determined tenant who has stopped paying when you allow for statutory periods and court delays. ‘Fair’ rent is code for price control which we know destroys supply. In short it looks like a re-run of the less than wildly successful 1977 Rent Act.

    The wealth tax will just be another nail in the coffin. Of course Labour governments of old, used to build council housing, financially that option won’t be viable so they might be creating the perfect storm of falling asset prices and thus more bust banks, unemployed former letting agents and homeless former private tenants.

    This buy-to-let landlord is already dumping, but it won’t be to support the UK car or holiday industries I am afraid. After paying whatever CGT I am advised is payable, it will be safely offshore out of Mr Balls reach.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      actually i think there is a good business in offering long term rental properties to decent families. the market is distorted by the mass of state subsidised housing around, and its also distorted by the only real commercial model in use being 6 or 12 month short term tenancies (even if both sides expect it to run for years).

      in other european countries there is a ready supply of properties for rent where you do not risk being kicked out for no reason precisely at the worst time for you – birth of child, spouse in hospital, kids doing exams, etc. i dont see those european landlords leaving the market because its perfectly possible to have a viable business without having the power to throw perfectly decent tentants out every six months.

      i would prefer the rental market to be entered by big decent companies rather than so many one man band buy-to-let cowboys with widely varying standards.

      and sure demonstrably and independantly verified bad tenants should be able to be kicked out quickly and simply.

      • zorro
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        I would agree with this too….people can still invest in these type of firms for some income. It may drive up standards overall too.

        zorro

    • stred
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      As they are determined to take anything left to tax, this is hardly surprising. The proposal to tax all assets may be calculated to flush out any long term investors who will not sell buy to let, owing to punitive real CGT rates of 50%+. The real lowering of IHT must also be in persuit of this money. They plan a tax regime where anyone who has invested in a few properties for a pension will be liable for income tax, CGT, IHT, Stamp Duty and then if any money is left VAT and Duties.

      Just to make sure it is not worth dividing up, selling or giving away part of the ‘fortune’, accumulated by saving taxed income buying and improving propert,y the total Wealth tax will make this impossible and the time limit for gifting will be increased. I am going for John’s suggestion of noisy neighbours and the destructive tenant route. This is particularly easy in my area.

      In France the ‘Wealth’ tax starts at 800k euros- £64k approx @0.5% up to 1.30k euros- £1.04 then 0.7% and 1% above £2.2k. It has already become so complicated that specialist advisors are necessary. Assets taxable incude what the children own, and jewellery and are ‘worldwide’. They even include property not owned but to which you have a right to use. This would include a small holiday house, which my ex owns but I maintain and use at no profit and now costing £2k pa in taxes and services. It applies if you spend more that half a year in France. I will not be retiring there as previously planned.

      Meanwhile, the likes of Clegg and Mandleson are paid their euro salaries and pensions tax free.

      • stred
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Sorry, Pursuit and £640k.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. History repeating itself the rent act mark II.

      • zorro
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Let’s hope that sense will prevail and they may include a wider diversity of tenancy agreements to fit the market, having seen the debacle of the rent acts and the dilapidated houses all over London…….ever the optimist.

        zorro

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          The politics of envy will follow the failures of Cameron alas. It won’t work but it will follow.

    • Mark W
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      This buy to let landlord is going to dump his property too before the next election. I’m not going to run the risk of being a socialist target, and the market is above the level I bought in at. I had an interesting chat yesterday with two others thinking the same. There’s always a time to get off the stage and now is that time.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        You might have to pay a tax on your spare houses.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          I said tax when I meant a reduction of benefit. Sorry.

  9. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    This comment is coming from a man with very little capital and a house in a “working class” suburb of a country town.
    If the poor think that they (we?) can get rich by nicking the money off the “rich”, we have got another think coming.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard: I don’t think anyone is or has suggested that, although that is how the right are trying to spin it. It really does sound ridiculous when spun by the (right-wing, in this case) politicos, I mean everything the right does is to pay down the deficit but anything the left might wish to do will just be given out in yet more handouts etc. (oh and I would not class training as a handout, more like an investment).

      • John Wood
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Just to remember – we ‘reduce the deficit’. When (If!) the deficit has been shrunk to zero then we can pay down the debt.

        But we cannot ‘pay down the deficit’. The coalition have embarked, out of virtual necessity, in the greatest Keynesian economic stimulus in our history – and yet are still being lambasted for ‘cuts’.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          @John Wood: Just to remember – it was monetarist economic policies that got us into this mess, no Keynes about it, he hadn’t featured much in 30 years…

          Why are some so quick to dismiss Keynesian economics? Yes it has its faults but people seem to forget that the the first 35 years (post-war WW2) in the UK -both Tory and Labour- were under Keynesian policies and only the last 5 were really problematic, and most of those were due to either political discontent or world events.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Is right for the rich to get richer by nicking the money off the poor and the rest of us could also be asked.

      • outsider
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bazman, the drive for more taxes is not just about rich and poor. Maybe you noticed the combined medical profession demanding higher taxes on “sugary” fizzy drinks. They could have asked for sugar-free Diet Coke and the like to be VAT-free, which would have the same impact on consumer choice but I do not suppose it even occurred to them. They simply want to make sure that people on low incomes cannot afford fizzy drinks. The affluent, such as doctors, would of course be unaffected.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          They also do not drink much fizzy pop either. What does that tell you?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Since when have fizzy drinks been popular among the affluent?

          • Richard1
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Champagne

          • Single Acts
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            since champagne was invented I guess!

          • John Wood
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            I assume this is sarcasm.

          • outsider
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            dear uanime5, please do not think that the affluent are a different breed or not “ordinary people” or spend the day quaffing champagne . The affluent also have children, whose tastes tend to be similar to any other children. By affluent I just imagine an income of more than, say, £50,000 a year or whatever you need to start losing child benefit.
            You may also note that Warren Buffet, who is from time to time rated the world’s richest man, drinks exclusively Cherry Coke. And if you consult Nigel Lawson’s diet book (unlikely) you will find that he relies heavily on Diet Coke. (Other fizzy drinks are available, as they say on the BBC).

          • Jon Burgess
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Since it hit £250 a bottle.

          • D K McGregor
            Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

            Champagne socialists?

          • l
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            unanime–Ever heard of mixers and champagne and prosecco etc? If you do not know what mixers are, or even if you do, they go in G & T and the like. And prosecco is a fizzy (albeit frizzante rather than full blown spumante) wine from Italy. Could go on.

  10. Bazman
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    The same arguments could be applied to the spare room tax, the lowering of benefits via the backdoor by such methods as forcing people on the dole to pay some council tax. The old Doris in the house argument is well worn, how many of them are there and should the majority of the population suffer because of them? No such fears exist when the Doris is living in flat that she has rented for decades from the council.The idea that the rich will somehow devalue their properties is a red herring at best. Londons rich are clamoring to carry out often well over the top ‘improvements/such a basement extensions that have the living like troglodytes and are arguably vandalism of historic property.
    There has got to be some sort of hit on the wealthy as the rest of use are taking a disproportionate hit and the idea of the trickle down effect is false as we would not be talking about taxing the rich further if it was not. It might happen if all the buy to let landlords sold their property though freeing it up too a large cause of the housing shortage and shy high rents. The rich are not all investing and spreading their wealth as many claim, some are just rich and bone idle from no other reason than circumstances. ‘Circumstances’ that seem to apply to everyone else but strangely not to them and their often poor apologists defending their rights on the basis that laughably they might one day become rich. Without irony John talk of flats for 2 million. Living in flat when you have 2 million!? Obviously city crash pads or the Mistresses flat if we want to go into fantasy and most of you on this site do not seem to have problem with that. Might even cause some to fall in value as he says and the idea that parents are just going to hand wealth to their feckless offspring is not how human nature works. They hand it over when they don’t need it and that is when they are dead. Ram it.

    Reply Pensioners living in Council accommodation are rightly being protected to carry on living in property with extra space.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Re “Pensioners living in Council accommodation are rightly being protected to carry on living in property with extra space.” are you sure? I have an aunt (pensioner) being pressured to move out of her 2 bed house, which given her age and medical condition is ridiculous.

      Where is the government policy I can point out that pensioners are “protected”? I am sure it will be news in the area I have in mind.

    • Jon
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      If there wasn’t a trickle down effect from London then why does it subsidise the rest of the UK by between 20 to 40% per annum?

      • Bazman
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Massively over inflated reliance and subsidy ofthe City to the determent of the rest of the country. Do not tell me this is a good thing as you are wrong and will just stay wrong.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      @reply: More like the Tories know that this policy if extended to such pensioners would not only loose the next election but make them become extinct as an electable party, better just to pick on the poor, sick, younger and vulnerable which giving tax cuts to the top 1% – in sort this is a PR disaster for the Tories that will likely run and run to the next election, when will the IDS be ditched as the liability he has become at the DWP, talk about being a recruiting sergeant for the left!…

  11. David Price
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Just as I have figured out a way to deal with the graffitti on my back wall and get the council of my back with perisistent demands to let them destroy said wall with a jet washer the graffitti becomes valuable!

  12. Ben Kelly
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, your coalition can not state that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the heaviest load and then shy away from finding load bearing joists.

    While your coaliton is addicted to profligately spending our money it must find a way to collect sufficient money to do so.

    Instead of finding newer and better ways to tax those on PAYE it is time to target self assessed and wealth.

    A wealth tax could be targetted at increased net worth. That may lead to unloading of assets which prevents hoarding and may reduce commodity inflation. Mansion taxes could easily be levied on the last sale price. This will protect your little old lady, prevent shabby chic (until sale time) and address house price inflation in the south east.

    Once government has addressed taxing asset inflation it can extract more cash from companies operating here, they enjoy tax credits subsidising costs, they enjoy our infrastructure so they should pay fof it. An unrecoverable lower rate of VAT for sales not involving the end user should suffice.

    Alternatively spending could actually be cut.

    Reply The answer is to spend less, as I have regularly argued.

    • stred
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Looking through my free newpaper in Brighton, the latest spending initiatives by the council, led by a young Green councillor called Jason Kitcat, incude-

      Major roadworks to control congestion. The congestion followed putting crossings every 50m, narrowing and bus lanes, costing millions only a few years ago. And in my area, free parking enjoyed by residents is to be removed despite an overwhelming vote against in the consultation.

      Changes to parking charges, which are already more than central London and require the use of clapped out meters, with incomprehensible signing.

      Removal of ‘stretch staffing’ in the Benefits Dept. This means increasing staff numbers.

      10 million on new schools
      27m on housing stock

      6.9m on new transport and street lighting. I thought they were supposed to turn them off if you were green. The bus service is alrady good, but usually mostly empty
      .
      A new historical records centre. Can’t wait.

      Changes to the town centre park, including a hump and a skatepark. The council has a ‘team’ loking for things to do with parks, and producing glossy consultation documents. There is already fencing and so much equipment, that I thought they might be prospecting for oil. There was already a skate ramp.

      Council Tax is only going up by 1.96%. Council tax reduction is to be ‘localised?’ Think this means given to fewer people.

      As Mr Kitcat says, in the Pravda section, “We have maintained our open and transparent approach and engaged far and wide to make sure we stay focussed on what really matters”.

      Happily, the Police are being moved to the Town hall to help ‘customers’ in the new ‘centre’.
      One of their recent initiatives has been the opening of a ‘Henry’ vacuum cleaner theft call line following the arrest of a man who had 16 stolen Henrys. Tel 151 ref 0773/15/1. My new Henry disappeared with the last tenants. Don’t think I’ll bother.

      • stred
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I have not made this up. Re- www. brightonand hove independent.co.uk.

        • zorro
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          Jason Kitcat…..LOL……if he didn’t exist, he’d have to be invented….and that takes the biscuit!

          zorro

        • stred
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          I missed this one. Brightons Green Council now has a scheme to teach car drivers how to drive economically. The lessons take about 50 minutes, driving around over the humps and between council induced hold ups. Techniques include not racing up to the limit and braking fast, keeping an even speed and being in the right gear. Several lessons may be necessary but then students may notice that they save hundreds of £s and lots of CO2. Less the CO2 for the lessons of course.

      • John Wood
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Are you surprised? ‘Greens’ are rightly called watermelons – green on the outside, red on the inside.

        At least the population of Brighton has seen what happens when they get elected.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          @John Wood: Anyone reading the 2010 Green manifesto it was impossible not to realise this, so they hardly hide their real agenda like some political parties do! The electors of Brighton (and Hove) might or might-not have been voting for the wrong policies but they hardly did so blindly.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      The answer is to spend less, as I have regularly argued – indeed but how exactly do the voters ever get a party that will do that?

  13. Alan
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The problem is we have only a limited number of choices; we can raise taxes, we can cut spending, we can print money, or we can make our businesses more productive.

    We all agree that the last of these would be the best, but we don’t know how to do it.

    In practice we cannot raise taxes: for one reason or another we don’t get much more money when we try to do so.

    We can’t cut spending; it is just too painful.

    We can print money and lower the value of our currency. So that is what we will do. It may have adverse consequences in the longer term, but it has been working for years now, and it will probably go on working for a bit longer.

    Eventually we will have to join the euro and sort our economy out, making our businesses more productive, but we can put that off for now.

    • Single Acts
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      “We all agree that the last of these would be the best, but we don’t know how to do it” Really? It’s easy, cut taxes and regulation

      “Eventually we will have to join the euro and sort our economy out, making our businesses more productive, but we can put that off for now”

      Satire I am guessing given how the various south European economies have been sorted out.

      • Alan
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        No, it wasn’t satire. Until we are no longer able to devalue our currency I think we will continue to run a deficit, and quite likely it is the best policy from the point of view of the country as a whole. But I don’t think we can continue doing that for ever. I imagine that at some point the pound will start to collapse at too fast a rate and we will join the euro. Once we have joined the euro we will be forced to make our economy work: that is what is happening in various Eurozone countries. It is very painful and might not even work.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Joining the Euro will be like jumping into a sinking ship.

          It won’t help us and it won’t help those already in the sinking ship.

          The ship will sink, though it will take a long time as saving their precious Euro is more important than feeding their starving. Wrong continent, I suppose for the international charities to intervene.

        • Single Acts
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          You imagine Spain and Greece are being forced to make their economies work? Really?

          Surely the very opposite is manifestly taking place before our eyes.

          Why would joining the euro mean devaluation was no longer possible? Someone else on the continent would be capable of doing it rather than the usual UK suspects.

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      @Alan
      “We can’t cut spending; it is just too painful.”

      Like a heroin addict going Cold Turkey?

      Was it sensible to increase foreign aid by 4 billion pounds per year?

      That’s 4 billion pounds that needs to be raised from somewhere.
      A bedroom tax? Tuition fees? Road Tolls perhaps?
      Or should we just postpone the decision until the economy recovers?

      • Bob
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        I saw a TV advert asking for money to provide clean water to Africans.

        What have they done with all the billions they’ve received for as long as I can remember, if they haven’t even sorted out some basic water provision?

        • Dan H.
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Look, if giving money to Africans was going to do anything, we’d be seeing results by now. At best all international development does is keep the Swiss banks in clover and allow a select few dictators to keep up with the latest fashion in private executive aircraft.

          Let’s just stop pissing away tax money on these countries; if people want to give money, let them give money but please, no more extorted tax funding!

          • bigneil
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            totally agree – -but dont forget the many pairs of £600 “killer” heels and designer clothes for the dictators several wives that we pay for

        • Bazman
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Someone should open a chippy there selling pies, pasties and loads of chips and black pudding Bob. Make a fortune.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          It has created more mouths to feed! And demands for more aid!

          If we have a problem in Britain, trying to support the ever more costly and dysfunctional Welfare State while the number of wealth creating inhabitants decreases, how much much harder it will be for those with a rapidly increasing population sponsored by international aid programmes?

          It is going to end in misery and pain.

      • Alan
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        My point is that people can’t agree on what economies to make: you appear to favour cutting foreign aid (although the amount you suggest is not, I think, anything like enough to make a difference), but others would find that unacceptable. They would suggest economies that I imagine you would consider unacceptable. There doesn’t seem to be anything we can all agree on, so we end up not making cuts on a big enough scale to get us out of deficit.

        • Bob
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          @Alan

          Instead of chucking an extra four billion a year into the foreign aid black hole, we could have abolished tuition fees.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Like a heroin addict going Cold Turkey?

        If you’re a heroin addict going Cold Turkey is likely to result in death. That’s why they give people methadone to wean them off heroin.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          the UK nhs approach of dishing out methadone is pretty much a comphrensive failure. it usually keeps folk on methadone indefinitely. what would be better is a programme where folk can move away from the bad influences around them and have support while they are genuinely weaned off drugs. Russell Brand is a strange bloke but he does make many good points on this issue.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            I think you are right here.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          Likely to result in death? How likely? More so than by carrying on taking heroin? So stopping taking heroin is too much of a risk to your health?
          You need to get out more.

        • bigneil
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          i dont agree that heroin addicts should be given methadone – -they CHOSE to take heroin in the first place – -and everyone has read or seen enough warnings about it – -when they are locked up for the crime they commit – to fund their addiction – they should be given basic food – -no “specialities” – eat it or dont – when they are hungry they’ll eat it- why should decent people have to pay taxes to keep drug addicts/criminals happy? – -what %age of them carry on using after? – -wasted money after wasted money – -but they keep the police in a job as well – -arresting them repeatedly – never mind the cost to the NHS(taxpayer)

          • Bazman
            Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Just say no. Errr..No. Almost as simplistic as your points. You don’t just decide to become a heroin addict one morning, you begin on a journey and often that journey begins before you take any drugs. Criminalising drug addiction as what you want is the reason for the repeated failure to tackle the problem. It is a medical and social problem.

        • Mark W
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          What nonsense. “Cold turkey” is unpleasant but I think you’ll find in any there is no medical evidence that it causes death. However if you have any medical peer reviewed evidence you can point us to that backs up this absurd claim, I’d be interested.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            In itself maybe not, but some of them are so far gone health wise that it might be the final straw that finishes them off. Stopping drinking for chronic alcoholics is very dangerous as high profile Paul Gascoigne recently showed.

  14. Jerry
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Spin, spin and spin again…

    Far from wanting a private sector led recovery, they wish to shrink the private sector further in order to pay for a larger public sector. [..//..] This week-end has seen the news dominated by Labour’s plan for a Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2m, and the Lib Dem’s possible plan for a wealth tax on assets of more than £2m.

    Far from agreeing with either tax it is as wrong to say they want to increase the public sector when actually they only want to do what the Tories keep saying they want to do, reduce the deficit. Also Milliband made it quite clear that any “Mansion Tax” would pay for a turn of the 10p tax band, hardly increasing the size of the public sector, such a tax reduction might even help the private sector!

    As for the suggestion that people might start knocking down parts of their Mansions to reduce the tax threshold, that could easily be stopped if it was ever likely to be anything more than a politicians spun scare story -I mean, reduce the over all value of the property just to save a few quid (relative)- surely these people are far more likely to do what others have to do when faced with not being able to afford to stay in the lifestyle they have become accustomed to, sell-up and move on. Strange how we are all in this together but some are less so, if you are rich you get a tax cut, if you are poor you get your benefits frozen, if you live in a Mansion with one or more extra bedrooms your lifestyle is protected, if you live in socail housing (which you might have lived in for years, just like that person in their two bed London Mansion) you are expected to move into a non-existent one bed property or face having to make up the the rent shortfall yourself etc. and to think some ask why the Tory party is called “The Nasty Party” by those at the bottom of the greasy ladder?

    The government is likely to lose out on Inheritance Tax, as more better off parents decide the give things to their children early so they no longer have to pay a Wealth Tax on them.

    Cough, it was only the other day that most comments on this blog were calling, all but pleading, for the abolition of IHT, if they get their way (which if given a clear Tory mandate they might well do) the government would not be getting any income from IHT so this is another spun red herring.

    As I said, I do not agree with either the Mansion or Jewellery Taxes but claiming that it is being done to increase the public sector when it is being done to pay down the deficit (that the Tory chancellor is still increasing) or to try and boost the (still flat-lining) economy is more that a little bit of a optimistic political posturing.

  15. Alte Fritz
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    As you rightly surmise, this will, for the seriously rich, be a voluntary tax to be countered by tax planning, and going offshore. For the rich from overseas it will be small change. For people in this country, just another sign the left really loathe succcess.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Again mixed up with the middle classes and the overclass of which he thinks in some way are being hard done by.

  16. Robert K
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    There is no limit on the amount that the state will take in tax, once it is in the spend, spend, spend mode. Taxing the “rich” is especially easy because they are in the minority so their votes count for nothing.
    In addition to the taxes you mention above, we can also add inflation, which is a mechanism for the state to deflate the value of its debts but simultaneously de-values citizens’ earnings and wealth.
    The state needs to curb its spending habits, fast.

  17. David Price
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I think Labour and the Libdems should be encouraged to increase their efforts on offering policies that redistribute wealth from the savers and investors, the aspiring and hard working, to all and sundry spenders here and abroad.

  18. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    They are choosing the right time to talk about this. I’m not sure Mr and Mrs Average will realise just what will happen if it is introduced, too many don’t have any depth of knowledge or history. As usual you have covered the issue well but where is the big debate on the Right versus Left in politics? It’s not all just about taxes. Sadly everything is shades of Red in England just now, the Left is on the rise everywhere it would seem. We are sleepwalking to oblivion.

    I fear many people will not care. They will just feel, ‘so what, they can afford it’, which of course is just an unthinking response. As you say the people who have been improving the housing stock everywhere will just stop and let it run down. It won’t just be the ‘wealthy’. It will be everyone, because many who do take an interest will realise that the top limit will start coming down. Who will want to add to their wealth now? How many builders are going to find new orders disappearing, starting now? And will they I wonder apply it to farms and farmhouses?

    It is not so much a method or raising income, it is a clear Socialist political attack on capital and the ‘capital classes’. In other words part of their class war. With a limited rebuttal, they will simply look elsewhere in their extremist quest for the imposition of Socialist State control. As usual the Lib Dems are in on it, they have always been on the extreme edge, and I’m appalled at present Conservative leadership’s tolerance of them, and always chasing the popular vote, dumbing down.

    We will hear more and more attacks, and I’m sure ‘unearned income’ will be one of the next, a term of abuse of course. Intended to create more social division. Another ‘front’ in the class war. We are starting in a sinister direction.

    And with devolution of tax raising powers to Scotland, or complete Independence, will this be applied by the Scots? Will it apply only to England? Will the Scottish MPs in the British parliament vote for it in England, but against it in Scotland with English MPs having no say in Scotland as always? I think I know. I know I bang on about it all the time, but we need a parliament for England.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      We need to keep banging on about it Prang Wizard until eventually those politicians who are supposed to represent us start listening and do just that.

      We have socialism forced on us in England whether we vote for it or not and nothing will change until England has it’s own parliament, the same as the Scots, welsh & NI, so only those elected by us can make decisions for us.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      It won’t just be the ‘wealthy’. It will be everyone, because many who do take an interest will realise that the top limit will start coming down.

      Since when has falling house prices and a reduced cost of living been a bad thing?

      It is not so much a method or raising income, it is a clear Socialist political attack on capital and the ‘capital classes’. In other words part of their class war. With a limited rebuttal, they will simply look elsewhere in their extremist quest for the imposition of Socialist State control.

      Screaming about boogie men just shows you lack a real argument.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      @TPW: “Sadly everything is shades of Red in England just now, the Left is on the rise everywhere it would seem. We are sleepwalking to oblivion.

      One has to ask why then, it’s not as though the right has not had a chance of getting its message across, could it be that people just don’t believe the scare stories any more, or perhaps they see capitalism in a mess of its own making (and greed) and ask “is there another way?”

      Also many might well be saying that they can’t afford the status-quo, if the banks were not under such political pressure many would have been out on the street long ago due to defaulting on that 110% mortgage, thus an affordable and secure socail tenancy might actually look quite attractive.

      Also why do people like you always get so mixed up between socialism and communism, I mean “their extremist quest for the imposition of Socialist State control”!

      As for terms of abuse, the right have already started to call the unemployed under-employed or the sick “Shirkers”, no doubt intended to create more social division. Another ‘front’ in the class war. So yes you might well be correct, we are starting in a sinister direction, so the left suggesting that some might be living off ‘unearned income’ is rather tame in comparison, I guess that those who live in glasshouses and all that…

      @JoolsB: You really think that England will be any different to the other devolved governments, even more so if AV or PR is introduced to.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Another “parked” comment?

        …./2013/02/18/tax-tax-and-tax-again/#comment-166218

        • Jerry
          Posted February 21, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          I guess it has been “parked” into oblivion, oh well.

          …./2013/02/18/tax-tax-and-tax-again/#comment-166218

  19. Chris
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “Vince Cable plays down wacky tax proposals”, so the tax on jewellery a non starter?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/9875741/Vince-Cable-plays-down-wacky-tax-proposals.html
    I also see that Tim Montgomerie is supposedly advocating a mansion tax (The Times today). Hope readers don’t imagine that Conservative Home readers automatically back him on this, as he often seems to be presented as the editor of the “influential website representing grassroots Conservatives”.
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article3691094.ece

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      @Chris: TM seems to have a better idea of what the majority of Tory voters think, not just the “Thatcherite” wing of the party, rather the man and woman on the Clapham omnibus – and it will be these voters who need to be wowed if the Tories are going to have a clear majority, if not a chance of forming the next coalition government. Do not disregard TM and what he says so lightly.

  20. Andyvan
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Britain is now a very socialist country. Almost everyone believes that wealth flows from the state and politicians are only too happy to reinforce that view. I think that real free market capitalists are less than 5% of the population and less than .0001% of politicians. This lack of economic knowledge and willingness to think that we can all live at some else’s expense is almost certainly due to state education and continuous pro state propaganda from the Beeb and other left wing media. I suspect that this illusion will come to an abrupt halt when the absurdity of Britain’s immense debt and massive public sector become so obvious that even the very manipulated money markets will have to react.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Well given how much wages have fallen it’s no surprise that so few people are capitalists (low wages for employees, high wages for employers) and so many more see the benefits of socialism (better wages for employees).

      If anything the capitalists are the ones who lack education on the economy, as they seem to believe that they can continue to cut salaries without reducing the amount they sell to their employees.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Andyvan: “Britain is now a very socialist country

      Pull the other one! As someone who remembers the last socialist government in the UK (1974-79) you simply do not have the first clue if you really think we are living in a socialist state -what is more, complete with a government controlled state broadcaster. We are less socialist now than we were in 1964 after 13 years of the truly blue Tory governments of Churchill, Eden and Douglas-Home.

      I think you might be getting confused between “silly” and socialist, even Tory governments are not beyond silly rules and laws, indeed the recent proclamation that all dogs will have to be micro-chipped is a recent example, even less enforceable than the “Dangerous Dogs Act”, at least if it looks like a Pit-bull it probably is…

  21. Bill
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    As a percentage of GDP, is there a theoretical limit to the amount of public spending that can be sustained? There must be a point at which the tax that supports the spending is insufficient and, once borrowing has all been exhausted, what happens next?

    Or is the condition we are now in? And are we trying to pay back with insufficient tax revenue debts incurred by the previous administration? If this is so, can we compare our position with the country’s position in 1945? The period of the Attlee government saw vast ‘death duties’ and ‘supertax’ to pay for the repair of bomb damage and, with a birth rate boom, for new housing and schooling. I know that ‘supertax’ on ‘unearned income’ (=investments) was nineteen shillings and six pence in the pound – 95p in decimal currency.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      In the UK the most tax that has been raised ic c38% of GDP despite plenty of failed efforts to raise it above that proportion. Most taxpayers either vote with their feet or find a way round the taxes when they get too high. All the talk of a wealth tax is the latest wheeze by failed politicians. It will have about as much success as all their earlier failed wheezes.

  22. Iain Gill
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    the tax system needs radical simplification not ever more complexity adding.

    it needs to be simple and easy for everyone to understand.

    it needs to be fair and proportionate.

    it needs the wide and various mechanisms the richest can use to avoid tax closing.

    and it needs incentives in the system for people to “do the right thing” that is look after themselves and their family if they are able.

    it should stop trying to persecute various folk those who drive, those who have big houses, those who like a glass on wine once in a while, and so on. the state should reign back its social manipulation and let the people decide how they want to organise their lifes themselves.

    as i have said before big wealth that has been passed down through countless generations i would happily tax, as i want to see a meritocracy.

    • Dan H.
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      If you look at the actual income tax figures, you’ll immediately see that the rich are not in fact avoiding tax; they are paying most of it! This is a very nice and equitable thing for them to be doing, and we ought to be rather careful that we do not force the rich of this country to leave, since then the rest of us are going to get stung with yet more taxation!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        come on.

        i know lots of rich people. they would be the first to openly admit the long and varied tax avoidance measures they are engaged in. why pretend otherwise.

        sure the highest earners pay large proportion of income tax, but lets not prentend many of the richest pay themselves dividends from their companies rather than as income, and so on and so on.

        simplification of the system is the best way ahead.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        The rich pay more taxes than the poor because they earn more and the personal allowance is a much lower percentage of their salary, not because they like paying taxes.

  23. Mick Anderson
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I have come to the conclusion that if you took the common sense from all the front-bench politicians and added it together, there wouldn’t be enough to make a single half-wit.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Apart from your good self we don’t seem to hear much from the leaders of the Conservative party other than platitudes which play into the hands of the tax, tax and tax again brigade. Not surprising really as they are addicts of spending someone else’s money just as much as Labour and the Lib Dems. What happened to the Conservative party of economic competence and prudence? The party of the smaller state? Gone, I fear. We now have three versions of the same tax and spend incontinence. In Cameron’s case we perhaps need his wife to declare her opinion, as I read in today’s Telegraph that having persuaded him to support same-sex marriage she is now ‘encouraging’ him to promote women and that there must be more women in the cabinet. On the other hand, as someone suggested in a Telegraph blog, we need her to decide it is time for him to resign.

  25. oldtimer
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    This sounds like an idea scribbled on the back of a fag packet that has not been thought through. As such it is entirely characteristic of so many so-called LibDem policies. I read that they include jewelry in their definition of wealth. Does this mean they intend to employ an army of state snoopers to rip up floorboards looking for hidden jewelry or other high value small items? Will owners be compensated for the damage that is caused? Indeed was Damian Green MP compensated by the anti-terror squad for the damage and mayhem they caused in his home ripping up floorboards and the like? Is debt to be taken into account? If so I can foresee a thriving business for the banks in lending money against the security of any property over £2 million to reduce its net value below the threshold.

    We are but a short step away from the days of the Star chamber and the the evils of Morton`s fork – Henry VIII`s tax collector who relieved you of cash if you looked rich and relieved you of cash if you looked poor (the latter on the grounds that you must be hiding your wealth somewhere).

  26. John B
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, we just read about this lot and see and hear them on the TV, but you rub shoulders with them and must know them better.

    Are they really ignorant of simple mathematics, not to say economics, do they not get the news from abroad, say From France for example where a wealth tax and more recently increased taxation on ‘the rich’ has been counterproductive, resulting in a flight of capital and ‘rich’ abroad?

    If they are not ignorant then are they stupid, not in a pejorative sense, but meaning in a state of stupor, or are they well informed and bright buttons, but just doing as much damage as possible whilst they can out of some sort of spite, and intent on wrecking the Country and everyone’s lives, except of course their own lives, protected with nice, future jobs on boards of companies, or jobs at the EC or UN or some other corrupt organisation, and fat, taxpayer provided pensions?

    It has to be one or the other.

    The problem for us is, Redwood, with a few exceptions, the entire political class is the same, so voting is really like choosing either death by the sword or death by the noose, which is why fewer and fewer people bother to vote.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Have those laws even come into force in France? If not then it’s impossible to know what effect it will have.

      • David Price
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        There is plenty of evidence of capital flight from French wealth taxation. Read around the subject more.

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      John B

      Google “Agenda 21 For Dummies” on YouTube

  27. MickC
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Before commenting, it would be wise to wait and see if Osborne introduces something similar.

    My bet is that he will have to, because the economy is not reviving and he will have to get money from somewhere.

    The citizens personal wealth is all that is left to tax.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      The citizens personal wealth is all that is left to tax. They could just stop spending and wasting instead!

      • Bazman
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Or the corporations could pay their share as a toll for use of the infrastructure and education and not be allowed to dodge it as they do. All other businesses have to pay for it. Is that fair enough for you?

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          So why didn’t Labour do something about it?

          They had years to sort it out, yet as soon as a non-Labour government (in name at least) arrives, we get Labour posturing!

          • Bazman
            Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            You assume I am totally sympathetic to Labour and their own do nothing policies.

  28. JoolsB
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “Income Tax is at least based on ability to pay. An asset tax is not based on that, and forces asset sales by people who are asset rich but income poor.”

    But we have this already John. Pensioners and low income families are struggling to pay exorbitant council tax bills which are not based on ability to pay but based on the value of a property they may have bought years ago. Then there are people like my 67 year old neighbour down the lane who has lived in the same house for over 35 years, did the right thing and saved for his old age but then saw his private pension hammered and to get the best of a bad deal had to take a non-indexed one which means everything else will go up except his pension. He still has to pay over £2,200 in council tax out of his £13,000 pension plus he will now pay even more income tax from any increase in his state pension because Osborne has frozen his personal tax allowance. He and his wife are left with less than a pensioner on benefits to live on who pay neither council tax or income tax. When I wrote to Eric Pickles department on his behalf, I was told in no uncertain terms that the Government had no plans to help pensioners with this punitive tax unless they are on benefits.

    Isn’t council tax devolved so once again will any mansion tax only apply to England? Labour doubled council tax in England whilst at the same it was frozen year after in Scotland.

    However politicians dress it up, tuition fees is a tax. Students in England will spend up to thirty years paying an extra 9p in the pound plus interest on earnings over £21,000. Someone in the higher tax band will be paying 45p + 12p ni + 9p + int, a minimum of 66p income tax and that’s before they think about buying a house, getting married, starting a family etc.

    Future scenario, a student from England working for the same company doing exactly the same job for the same salary as someone who went to university elsewhere in the UK but coming out with much less of his salary each month than his Scottish, Welsh & NI colleagues simply because he is English.

    Elderly in England can now look forward to paying £75K care home feels plus up to another £75K for accommodation and food. Again they will be subsidising those on benefits and pensioners in other places in the UK who will not incur these fees.

    Seeing as it is England’s young and England’s elderly who are being clobbered, you could say there is a tax for being English but then what do we expect from the anti-English Con/Lib/Lab parties?

  29. JimF
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    This will soon start to bleed down to Labour/Libdem voters who will actually see the sense of voting for a new Party which promises to cut spending and cut taxes, as they start getting mansion tax bills for their crusty mansions in Primrose Hill, Highgate, Jericho in Oxford and so on.
    So long as UKIP continues to push the line of cutting spending and taxes, it will erode support slowly but surely from the other 3 parties, regardless of any anti-EU stance.

    • John Maynard
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      It is pretty clear that Miliband is playing the Libdems.
      Labour know them much better than the Tories.
      The Cables and Farrons are due for some more disappointment if Labour win in 2015.
      Even assuming such a tragedy, the bond markets will take a terrible revenge if Red Ed decides to follow his pa’s 19th century nostrums of class war.

      More hopefully, this recent avalanche of threatened “new taxes” may wake up those Tory voters presently flirting with UKIP – the EU may be odious, but the real threats to their living standards and “way of life” are very much home grown, and really rather imminent.

      Cameron and Osborne are so proud of reducing corporate income tax, can it really be, that they don’t understand that piling personal taxes on the officers and staff of the corporations, is unlikely to help with increasing investment in the UK ?

      P.S. I see that Weale (a “senior Bank of England policymaker”) has just talked down Sterling a few more points – just another inept BoE loose mouth following the example of his Governor, or a deliberate ploy in the “currency war” ?

    • Jerry
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      @JimF: The sense these voters will see, and one or both the suggested parties will pick up on, is the need to raise the tax threshold (should these suggested taxes actually become reality), not to vote for a Tory MkII party. If you really think that pro-EU voters are going to vote for a party that only exists -and is named as such- to get the UK out of the EU you must be one sure optimist!

  30. Behindthefrogs
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    We need the number of different taxes, in particular those that mainly overlap to be reduced. The government and business overheads saved would be significant. The laboour idea of a tax on large houses is particularly stupid. This creates yet another bureaucracy to enable its collection and unfairly taxes people with smaller properties in central London and other city centres. A much more sensible movewould to be to create higher council tax bands and raise the same money through them. This could also allow the grants to councils to be removed in many cases removing more overheads.

    Similarly the overlap between national insurance and income tax should be removed with just a single tax being used. If this needs to be balanced by a reduction in the tax on investment income this also can only be good.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Given how regressive council tax is (the larger your property the less you pay per square metre) it will be very difficult to get the same amount of money from larger properties that would be raised through a mansion tax.

  31. CDR
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Taxing the citizens’ wealth….signs of absolute desperation. I’m just thankful that I don’t live in an expensive house and don’t own lots of nice sparkly jewellery. I’m sick and tired, like most of you, of this “you’ve got no rights to own such and such and therefore you ought to be taxed on it”……envy envy envy.
    The danger for all of us is that we don’t know what line might be drawn to designate the point at which tax is payable on our “wealth”; it’ll start at 2 million quid and then drop rapidly.
    People’s hard work and savings to aspire to a comfortable lifestyle—all sneered and spat at by those who hate success and see “fairness” as being achieved only when everyone is in the gutter.

    • zorro
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s stuff in the end isn’t it……I live modestly but have access to the sum knowledge of humanity, and the ability to communicate to anyone in the world interactively. Accumulating too many things just is too much of a target for them. Spend money to travel and live, shrouds have no pockets and the government is getting the least bit possible of my personal effects. They can’t tax my memories or experiences….

      zorro

  32. Trimperley
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have been listening to a recording of The Forgotten Man a history of the Great Depression in the USA by Amity Shlaes. A capital tax on houses was tried by the Americans in that period and caused problems because people were income poor and couldn’t pay. The excessive regulation of business was also a problem. I keep recognising history repeating itself which is demoralising because what is proposed didn’t work then and won’t work now.

    Although the wealth tax has a 2 million limit now it won’t be long before it ratchets downwards like Inheritance Tax has.

  33. Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Having more tax on ‘wealth’ is the last thing we need.

    What we urgently need to target is the growing rift between the richest and the poorest. We need to consider the needs of the long term unemployed.

    The rich are getting ever richer, and the rest of us are getting poorer, because of the distortion caused to markets by excessive taxes, excessive regulation and excessive public spending.

    We have the worse of all worlds. We are wrecking free markets which is wrecking livelihoods (and making a very few very rich) whilst we conspire to keep many people out of a job.

    It is unfair, it is cruel and it is increasingly oppressive.

    My suggestion, for what it’s worth:-
    Because the boundary changes are now unlikely to happen it looks like the Conservatives will lose the next general election (unless Scottish Independence can be speeded up!).

    Thus, for the good of the country, I think the PM should break up the coalition now, agree an accommodation with UKIP and go to the country promising lower taxes, lower spending and eu referendum in late 2013.

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      We need to sell some bridges , plenty of them :)

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      The rich are getting ever richer, and the rest of us are getting poorer, because the rich are cutting employee salaries and boosting their own salaries. This is nothing to do with taxes, regulations, or public spending but the unbridled greed of the wealthy.

      Also offering lower taxes and lower spending will cause people to vote against the Conservatives because the millions of low paid people will lose more in spending cuts than they will gain from tax cuts.

  34. Wilko
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    HM the Queen now pays tax. If Mansion Tax is imposed pro rata to value, Buckingham Palace may be at risk.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, please could you clarify government policy on immigration?

    When Cameron says that there will be no limit on the number of Indians who can come here to study and then stay to work, is he envisaging that there wouldn’t be more than 1 million, or 10 million, or 100 million, or what?

    After all, the population of India is now about 1,210 million and is increasing by about 17 million a year, so even if 10 million came here each year – primary immigration followed by spouses and other relations in “family reunification”, and who could possibly object to that? – that would only halve the growth rate of the population of India.

    And please could you say whether you think that we, the established body of citizens, will EVER get a say on how many new citizens we would like to add to our numbers through immigration?

    Or will we always have to put up with a Labour politician like Blunkett stupidly saying that there was no obvious limit to immigration, followed by a Tory politician like Cameron stupidly saying that there will be no limit to immigration from India?

    And as both those parties, and also the Liberal Democrats, all seem to loath and despise us, please could you explain why on earth we should vote for any of their parliamentary candidates?

    • zorro
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Denis, surely not insinuating that Cameron speaks with forked tongue….. :-)

      He was stating government policy on students for Tier 4 entry which is that there are NO limits on ‘genuine students’ – he qualified this by stating that he meant university students in the case of Indians…..so I guess that the maximum limit of Indian students would be equal to the number of university places available assuming that they had shoved all the other foreign national students from university…..not quite sure what that will mean for any putative UK students, but, hey, why should any self respecting globalist care?……You need to continue with your study of post classical theoretical cast elasticism if you can’t see DC’s ‘logic’ in this move…….

      Oh…..wait one…….I forgot, you do realise that the price for this trinket is that the Indians open up access to their financial and banking markets fully to our venerable banking institutions………..(sing) ‘There ain’t nothing in the world, nothing like debt…..’

      zorro

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        So, it will work like Blair’s agreement where we reduced our EU rebate in return for the EU (and France) reorganising the CAP so it costs less overall?

        Sounds like a fantastic idea!

      • John Maynard
        Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, fair enough, but when Cameron goes overseas, he tends to get carried away (just like Blair).
        Apparently the PR geniuses surrounding him, didn’t explain how this speech would be spun by the ever-lovable UK media as “Cameron guarantees unlimited immigration from India”.
        Labour, UKIP (and the BNP) must be chortling.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        I suppose we could have a crash programme of university expansion to offer as many places as the Indians wanted, with no limit.

        It would mean borrowing more money for more university buildings, and probably some of the new university staff would have to come from India to teach the students from India, but these are not insuperable problems.

        Where there’s a will there’s a way, and if a government is determined to allow and encourage mass immigration there’s a range of ways.

    • John Wood
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      As I wrote elsewhere, it appears that Mr Cameron thinks that immigrants only live 9.00am to 5.00pm, that they don’t need housing, heating, feeding, watering, clothing, educating, treating and their wastes processed.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      You cannot believe a word Cameron says – he just says what he thinks his audience want to hear at the time. Then does the opposite the day after.

  36. Gary
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The politicians made a pact with the usurers for a get rich quick wheeze,and they duly hollowed out the country’s equity and left an IOU so large it can never be repaid. Now they penalise the responsible savers with a massive transfer of wealth to the profligate, irresponsible, live-for-today debtors.

    What have we become ?

  37. Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    That might be fine for a multimillionaire with a big income, but might be impossible for a pensioner living in a two bedroom flat in central London which they bought years ago for a small sum, when they have only a modest income. Income Tax is at least based on ability to pay. An asset tax is not based on that, and forces asset sales by people who are asset rich but income poor.

    1. Aha, you are referring to what Churchill called “The Poor Widow Bogey”. Clearly, there would be a deferment/roll-up option for pensioners.

    2. On the facts, there are only one or two small areas even in central London where you can spend more than £2 million on a two-bed flat.

    3. In the medium and long run, any tax on land relates to ability to pay in the same way as the price of cars relates to “ability to pay”. You choose what you are willing and able to pay and pay for it. I don’t see owners of £2 million homes slashing their prices so that low income people can afford to buy them.

    4. Income tax bad tax, taxes on land values good tax. At least with LVT you are getting something in return for what you pay, not so with income tax.

    Reply Kensington, Chelsea, Belgravia, Mayfair, St Johns Wood, St James etc etc are all very dear

    • zorro
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Looks like some more non doms might have some more tax to pay….?

      zorro

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Got to laugh at the British wealthy complaining about a system used by foreigners to push them out of their London homes. The same system that made them wealthy.

  38. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Democracy in action I guess. It’s not and never has been about the rich paying more, it’s about them paying even more, and then some, from an already very high base. The brilliant Milliband and Clegg have apparently worked out that more people don’t have mansions than do. The idea of having to pay a large sum (higher than the average wage I’d guess?) each year and forever in addition to all the rest just because one owns a big house, for the Government to blow in customary fashion, is beyond all belief. I have a collection of old Hardy flyfishing rods. Would that count? If so, should I be thinking of selling one each year to pay??

  39. Derek Vaughan
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid the welfare ponzi state is bust and the system will find any and every way to rob and loot from the middle classes to keep the show on the road. The ‘hollowing out’ commenced some time back.
    You must realise that the nation state is now dead and a new totally amoral corporate entity has evolved to take it’s place. Perhaps this is what Mr Mandleson meant by the ‘post democratic age.’
    It may take some time for the penny to drop with the mass of people and the welfare recipients won’t care a jot even if it does register. For the rest of us who are not part of or dependent upon this system it’s already too late.

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      It is clear that the elites no longer have any use for the majority of us and lack the humility to tolerate us .

      We keep getting told that life expectancy is increasing but I am starting to question this given the number of people in my age group (mid 40′s) who are in very poor health and not looking like they will make 60 , let alone 70 .

      Fertility is dropping across the western world and I am not sure whether it is just down to people choosing to have fewer children or whether it is down to biological reasons . Assaults on the traditional family seem pretty coordinated too .

      Perhaps measures have already been taken to deal with the perceived overpopulation problem .

      Sadly there will be plenty of people , many well intentioned , lining up to do the elites dirty work for pieces of silver or ideological reasons like protecting the planet from the human parasites .

  40. Man of Kent
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It’s all been said above but it puts me in mind of the window tax.

    That was introduced before the days of income tax and was called ‘daylight robbery’.

    When it was repealed after some 150 years income tax soon followed .

    Now we are promised both !

    • John Wood
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Actually income tax was instigated as a temporary measure so it will be repealed one day.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Was it a “Cast Iron” promise it was temporary or was it more like the IHT, £1M threshold one from Osborne?

  41. Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just had to pay £1.40 a litre to fill up my car with petrol, I’m having to spend a little from my savings each moth for us to survive. None of our spending will in any way boost the economy, it’s all essentials.
    Can’t the government grasp that making the economy grow requires people to buy more goods, which we can’t because we have no spare money. Gone are the days of us buying a new car every three or four years, the present one will have to last until we can no longer drive. But every day almost we hear that the government is spending more money, seemingly to them the odd million pounds here and another million there doesn’t matter. Our government and the civil servants are behaving as if they’d just won the lottery, whilst in fact they are deep in debt. But then it’s not their money, so why worry?
    But politicians aren’t the only ones who want to increase taxes, today doctors are urging the government to tax sweet drinks, and should the government be stupid enough to agree, it will be followed by demands for a tax on other “unhealthy” foods containing too much fat or whatever the medical profession deem to be unhealthy.
    Just leave us alone, if we decide to enjoy our lives and risk dying young whether it is due to eating the wrong food, drinking too much alcohol or engaging in a dangerous sport, it’s our choice, and they will save money on pensions and old age care.
    Governments should do as little as possible for the minimum cost possible and ignore the constant clamour from pressure groups to spend more on their particular interests.

    • Normandee
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I should keep schtum about the savings if I were you. You are suffering from the same delusion as many of us, that is that the money is yours. It’s not, it’s theirs and you can only have it until they want it, so spend it, and pay tax on what you spend, don’t keep what you buy in the house, it may be of value so will be inspected and taxed. You need to take it and run away to somewhere where this level of political miscreance hasn’t been realised yet.
      Don’t think voting Conservative is going to save you either, those days are gone also.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      As a first target they should be reducing the size of the state to its pre Blair numbers.

      Close whole departments down and merge others, and we must leave the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Given that the NHS has to treat people who can’t work because they’ve consumed too much of the wrong types of food or injured themselves it’s more efficient to prevent this from happening in the first place.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Easy for you to say old man and you will not be the one picking up the healthcare costs for these companies to feed crap to the population of young people. Mainly working class uneducated poor in general, but not exclusively, the middle classes are going in the wrong direction too.The idea that the state does not or should not control anything is clearly false. They set laws and taxation regimes and to control or not. My daughter grows ever taller and more muscular, the state cannot do everything and education is the key. She is not stopped from eating sweets and drinking blue pop, if she was one day it would be like a dog off a leash, but nudged in the right direction by the school and ourselves. Not everyone has the inclination or the will to do this and processed food and fast food companies need reigning in because of this.

  42. Antisthenes
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Some wag said “socialism works along as other peoples money does not run out” we are now seeing this in practice. The left is scrabbling around looking for ways to tax that which has not already been done in an effort to keep their redistribution of wealth gravy train on the tracks. They are so dumb that they do not realise that we have reached the point already where taxes are so high that it is destroying wealth and wealth creation. There are a few politicians and ordinary people who realise where this gravy train is headed but they are too few to be able to do anything about it. So we all have to sit back and take whatever the ride offers us. I suspect it will be something of a roller coaster ride that eventually hits the buffers with some considerable force.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Some wag said “capitalism works along as other peoples money does not run out”, during the 2008 recession we saw this in practice.

  43. GiovannaD
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    It makes me glad I have a second passport, and sad that it makes me consider using it.

  44. Barbara
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Well we now know if Labour and Lib Dems get together it will be the death knell for this country. We won’t have a referendum on the EU, in fact we will be pushed further into it without our consent. As for the mansion tax, I’ve never heard such foolish idea in all my life. In fact Conservative MPs should go all out to expose this idea and ridicule it in the house and in the press at all opportunities. People may have large houses and the value may have increased, but that does not mean they are rich people at all. Many have resided for years in the same house. This idea does not take into account this at all.
    I’m angry, Nick Clegg looks as though he is becoming opportunist in his political approach, and will side with anyone that keeps him in government, to the detriment of the nation. Again Conservative MPs should hi-light this and expose him and his party for what they are and have become.
    Mr R, I’m in despair with this coalition, why do the Conservatives continue with this poisoned arrangement. The Lib Dems have failed to keep the agreement, with boundary changes, where the Conservatives have. They continue to lie on tv saying it was a definate agreement where as I understand it was an agreement to ‘look at the question’. Whatever, we now see Labour and the Lib Dems creating ideas that are almost discrimitory against homeowners who have paid twice over to buy their homes, now they wish to add another layer.
    On another note, Mr Cameron’s message to Indians, that they should come here to study and work, again I find disturbing when we see many graduates here unemployed, what’s the point. We need less of them not more; we have enough unemployed to cope with let alone encouraging more to come. He disappoints yet again.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Whats wrong with Indians they have a work ethic, are entrepreneurial and look at how successful their kids are in education achievement tables? Are these people not actually inclined to vote to the right? Perhaps Dave for once has got something right and is trying to restore the balance away from Labour who opened the doors to the unskilled, unqualified and non English speaking from whom they could build a dependent voting bloc? With the indigenous fertility rate in decline if you do not allow for immigration the UK will become ossified like Japan. (words left out-ed)

    • zorro
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but Cameron is representing a constituency whilst he is abroad…….the banking constituency that is.

      zorro

  45. David Saunders
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Under a new popular leader, an election platform of reinstatement of the earlier Inheritance Tax thresholds pledge, tax cuts across the board and an early EU referendum would have strong electoral appeal. The fixed term of the current Parliament would be set aside for an early general election since the Labour Party would not risk electoral suicide by opposing it.

  46. Pleb
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Recently, on the radio, there is an advert for a new government money advice service called MAS. It urges you to go to their web site to find out about mortgages ect. What has this taken?, a web site, plus design and maintenance, more consultants to generate the content and a radio ad. All just a waste of money for information that is easily available elsware. The mad spending continues.

  47. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Its just the total rebirth of socialism that Mrs Thatcher rid us of. Here it is again but with a so called Tory government thats realy left wing.

    It will fail in the end as it always does. With the socialist EU it will be a much harder fall when it comes.

  48. matthu
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I see that the UK’s new climate envoy (what’s that?) Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is pushing for climate change to be framed as a global security concern.

    http://www.rtcc.org/china-and-russia-block-un-security-council-climate-change-action/

    No-one in their right mind really believes climate change is a global security threat. The ONLY reason for pushing this sort of thing is to get climate change classified something akin to health and safety so that our own government no longer has legislative power over changes they want to push through.

    This man (and the whole of his department) are dangerous to our economy and should be removed.

    Fortunately, China and Russia saw sense and blocked his move.

    Not for the first time have China and Russia come to our aid: they also saved us from the potentially ruinous carbon tariff that the EU was trying to impose on all air flights flying over Europe.

    Thank God for China and Russia.

  49. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Socialism is not about wealth creation it is all about spending other peoples money until it runs out. Remember the financial situation at the end of their last three terms.
    Should the Lib / Dems join Labour in pushing through this wealth tax then QED the coalition is dead. Real Conservatives should look upon this as an open door opportunity to rid themselves of these quislings once and for all by calling a general election.
    The Conservative manifesto should offer unequivically:-
    An in out referendum on the future relationship with the EU. This implies junking all those EU laws that are emasculating us.
    Drastic reductions in taxes that are at present holding the people and country to ransom.
    An absolute end to imigration except that which we decide we need and only then on visas convertable to permanency after five years if the need arises.
    Instant repatriation of all illegals, criminals and their family members. Therebye allowing them a right to family life but not in the UK.
    It is my belief that this is the only way back for Conservatives.
    Remember socialism suffocates.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      At the end of Labour’s third term the economy was growing at 2%, it will be interesting to see whether it’s growing at the end of the Conservatives’ first term.

      Also you’ll need to be careful which taxes you cut. If it’s mainly taxes that only effect the wealthy then it won’t be popular.

      Reply Do you remember the largest post war recession during their last Parliament as well?

  50. con
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    When Osborne announced the freezing of IHT thresholds for five years, and this was only a couple of weeks, I thought ‘here we go’ Osborne has both reneged on the spirit of the Tory manifesto, and opened the IHT door for Labour and Libdems.

    What we have seen this weekend may have happened anyway, but I suspect IHT will now become an even bigger, and more immoral cash cow.

    What is depressing, if predictable, is that Tory ministers look set to join the raid, heck they initiated it.

    Depressing. Again. Political parties that don’t defend their core values can expect to lose them altogether. Well done george.

  51. Bert Young
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Boris was on the same tack today in the Telegraph . The Mansion Tax and other forms of wealth taxation are most likely to drive the wealth creators away . I live in a discreet and sought after area of South Oxfordshire and bought my property in 1983 when prices were relatively low ; it would be ludicrous to now assess my property asset on today’s value and cause me to move elsewhere because I would not be able or willing to cough up an extra tax . Our rates in this area are high anyway . Tax reduction and incentives are the way to go together with rigid controls on state expenditure .

  52. muddyman
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Startling NEW idea – live within your inome.

  53. Graham Hamblin
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The tax that I object to is the VAT we pay on Excise Duty. A tax on a tax and that has to be wrong and also unfair?

  54. Tony Houghton
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that the Coalition is still spending too much, John. Where can we find the definitive figures, please? Not from the OBR surely?

    Ministries are said to have reduced their budgets but are still wasting our money.

    Whatever happened to the Conservative policy of the small State?

    Reply : I have often set out the spending figures here. They are readily available on the Treasury website and in the Red Books.

    • Johnny Norfolk
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      “Whatever happened to the Conservative policy of the small State?”

      David Cameron

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Half of tory MPs are clearly big state, fake green, pro EU, anti democratic, socialists as is the leadership. Surely that is now clear to all.

  55. Simonro
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “A Mansion Tax might lead to people knocking down part of their property to reduce its value below the threshold…”

    Property values at the high end are set primarily by the value of land, and only slightly affected by the actual building sitting on top of it. You could sidestep the potential issue you raise by simply making it a land value tax, not a property value tax.

    You could protect the widow[er] in the 2-bed flat in Knightsbridge by setting a 20-year ownership & reached retirement age, cut off for the tax.

  56. Dick Sawdon Smith
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    When will politions ever learn. Imagine valuers being allowed to enter my property to check on the wifes jewellery. Are they raving mad? My house is now worth nearly 20 times what I paid for it in 1976 but I’m not any richer. In fact as the interest on my savings diminish I am a darn sight worse off. Stop QE I say.

    Dick

  57. Charlie the Chump
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The rich already pay the largest proportion of taxes, I will never be in that category but I still firmly believe enough is enough, no increase in taxes on the wealthy should be considered. Tax any more and the overall tax take will reduce.

    Flat taxes with no exemptions must be the goal though, with the state of government spending and its inexorable increase, it will be years before we can attempt universal flat tax.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Given that a flat tax results in a large tax cut for the wealthy and provides little benefits to anyone else don’t expect it to ever be introduced.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      You are a chump, Flat taxes would see the rich and poor paying less whilst the middle paid more.

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      flat tax is a ukip policy

  58. Morvan
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Answer for me is easy: my income is larger than my needs and I donate sufficient to charity (local only – not the useless money wasting Nationals) to bring my income down to only a couple of pounds above the 40% threshold each year. I use my CGT allowance to the full and distribute the proceeds between members of my immediate family. I always fill my car up at Calais and have not bought any diesel in the UK for over five years. Ditto with drinks and most other discretionary expenditure. My Will leaves everything, apart from a few minor bequests to specially selected charities, so IHT is not a problem.

    OK, I am retired so can make these arrangements quite easily, but with a bit of thought anyone can deprive the HMRC of its spoils and do some good without losing too much ones self.

    M.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Governments should only tax in order to finance desirable public expenditure. Lots of public expenditure is unnecessary or undesrirable, as is much regulation. HS2, much of the foreign aid programme (both national and EU), expenditure on the retired elderly, the Pope’s visit, expensive jamborees (2012 was a vintage year) etc. Small wonder that we cannot maintain our roads, let alone widen key highways.

    The clamour for more and more regulation originates from Civil Servants desperate to keep their jobs, aided and abetted by Labour, LibDem and Tory Wet politicians.

    And there is so much malice in it, witness the vendetta being pursued against Barclays Bank, who had the temerity not to seek a State bail out, in spite of Gordon Brown’s staff telephoning them hourly and harassing them to do so. Hats off to John Varley and Bob Diamond to have the courage to say “No” and opt for Arab funding. Would you rather that Barclays was run by Bob Diamond or by its new squeaky clean CEO, who has stopped profitable tax advice almost altogether, has installed a £3 million per annum compliance officer, has seperated the investment and retail banking operations, and is touching his forelock to the EU, HM Government, Andrew Tiresome and the BBC as often as he possibly can.

  60. Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    All politiciand should be forced to read, “Atlas Shrugged” when they take up their posts.
    Socialists and LibDems should have it forced down their gullets.
    Even then I doubt whether they would get its message!

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      They should also be forced to read the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists too in that case as well and so should you.

      • Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Why do you assume thazt I haven’t?

      • Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        It was written a long time ago at the turn of the 20th century and co-incident with the birth of the Labour Party. Unfortunately sections are based on mis-nomers, e.g; The Great Money Trick” assumed that bosses did no work but just sucked the profits from the down-trodden poor.
        Times have changed. 95+% of ALL UK businesses employ less than 20 people and these bosses work all hours available.
        “Atlas Shrugged” is about a world society that is so left wing that wealth generators opt out of it – as you would know since I assume that you have read it, albeit long tracts are repetitively tedious.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Trestle’s book does have a few holes and did even at the time. The story is on the whole about the relationship between the tradesmen and the state and still hold true. The state is good thing for them.
          The world is so right wing that over 80% is owned by a tiny few and guess what? Many have opted out of it. Leaving the money in tax havens and conversations holding billions saying they can’t invest due to the recession and poor infrastructure from profits made during the boom. They should be told that if they want to take part in another boom the rules shave now changed.

          • Posted February 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            This part of the world (France) has swung so far to the left that people are already leaving as Hollande tries to “tax until the pips squeak!” to quote a.n.other.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Which part of France will that be Bernard? The outer suburbs of Paris? Maybe they are not left enough to leave?

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Given that in her latter years Ayn Rand got lung cancer from smoking (she didn’t believe Government claims that it was bad for her health) and claimed thousands of dollars for medical care it’s clear that even the author of “Atlas Shrugged” learned that what she wrote didn’t work in real life.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Religious fatalism to smoking is a common right wing fantasy. Evidence that it is bad is not even worth a mention.

        • Posted February 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          Why do the poor seek solace in smoking then? Cheap gin (Hogarth et al) is now highly taxed!

          • Bazman
            Posted February 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            The poor are often right wing and fatalistic, especially about their health as they have little to look forward to.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            Because they are right wing Bernard.

  61. Normandee
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a wheeze John, it’s another nail in the coffin of conservatism. Is there nothing that will shake your conviction in a party that is along way from home, trying to set up camp in someone else’s area. You now belong to a centre left, social democrat party, or “blue labour” this on top of everything going on with Europe means you are in motion, you should have got off ages ago, but you seem convinced you will get back on course at some point.
    You will not, and why not ? because too many people are afraid of change, afraid that stopping the bus will let the other bus overtake them, for goodness sake GET OFF the bus. Others will join you, there’s another bus coming along, you will get where you want to go on that one. Your bus is going nowhere, you might have to share the red bus eventually.
    Excuse the mixed metaphors.

  62. Nina Andreeva
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes and so are rotting and unpainted window frames that I see all over the place. The areas is also spoiled by the council’s recycling bins (at least three different ones for each home) and the litter scattered everywhere on the street when the binmen attempt to empty them

  63. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    You will never make the poor rich by making the rich poor.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      You will never make the poor rich by making the rich even richer.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Could make the poor more poor by making the rich richer.

  64. Michael Clark
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    The proposed Mansion Tax is indeed a blinkered vision as it will only make everyone downgrade the standard and quality of everything to do with their homes. There will be fewer goods bought and less employment. It should be acknowledged that tax is paid on everything we buy and tax is paid by everyone in employment. It is immoral to keep on taxing and re-taxing the same money. It is also self-defeating in that it promotes the avoidance of tax by as many schemes as possible. Only the ‘black’ economy grows. Inheritance Tax should be raised to £1 million as proposed and we should be encouraged to provide for ourselves and our own families as much as possible.

    • John Maynard
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      John’s comments about people wrecking their houses to reduce the market value is (I presume) tongue in cheek, but the real risk is indeed that we degenerate into a French, then Italian then Greek situation, where tax is considered disreputable and optional.
      Once it becomes mainstream to cheat (we are already getting there), the state will be unable to cope with massive smuggling, off-shoring, and hundreds of other evasions.

  65. Edward
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    These ideas for new taxes should not surprise us. Politicians are bribing us with our own money to get elected and succeeding.

    The penny is dropping that even with the wide range and rates of taxes we now have, they are not bringing in enough revenues and the only alternative is to dream up new taxes.
    With a backgrownd of a £150 billion a year deficit adding to a long term debt of nearly a trillion there only response is for more taxes.

    The thought doesn’t seem to have occured to them that high taxes might be what is causing the lack of growth in the first place.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps if the wealthy actually paid their taxes, rather than avoiding or evading them, the Government wouldn’t have a deficit.

      • Edward
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        The top 2% of earners pay over 25% of all income tax and capital gains taxes and Inheritance taxes so another nonsensical comment.
        The amount of evasion (ie illegal) is said by HRMC to be about £5billion so if all criminal evasion and fraud could be detacted, proscecuted successfully and the all the missing money collected, this is how much you might gain.

        Avoidance is legal and is what every tax payer does when they take advantage of tax breaks and allowances as laid out in the tx code for all use.
        Either HRMC accepts the person’s tax returns and their claims and methods for reductions or they do not.
        If you do not like the tax rules as they are then you need to change the law.
        We’ve added £4 billion to overseas aid recently,but I guess for you this is an essential expenditure.
        The deficit is £150 billion and the long term debt is nearly a trillion which puts your claim of using “missing tax” into perpsective ref wiping out the the deficit.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Rather a sweeping generalisation there, don’t you think? Let’s not forget, anybody who evades paying the tax they owe is liable to pay what they owe plus a fine and possible imprisonment.

        Do you have an ISA, uni? Save into a personal pension, perhaps? Pay less NI as a member of a final salary pension scheme? Are these forms of evasion and avoidance?

        Presumably you pay extra voluntary contributions to HMRC as the morally upright citizen that you are?

        Or are you a bit of a hypocrite?

      • David Price
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        The debt was created and the deficit established by Labour who spent all the money despite being the so-called prudent party. If Labour knew they couldn’t afford the expenditure why did they continue to overspend?

  66. zorro
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    John,
    Tax, tax and tax again……Anyone would think that the elite in power do not want the country to recover but want the industrialised West to wither on the vine…..otherwise why not promote and implement the growth policies which we discuss?

    Perhaps a bit of (Sherlock) Holmesian logic will help…..’Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth’…..

    zorro

    • Bob
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      @zorro

      Google Agenda 21 for dummies

      • zorro
        Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        LOL…….I hope that you are not suggesting that I am a dummy! (I know about Agenda 21)……

        zorro

  67. Toby Ross
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    A wealth tax per se is for the birds and I can’t add anything further to the above demonstration of its absurdity.

    I think that the Mansion Tax though is a different kettle of fish. It is essentially an additional Band of Council Tax; a tax which, if memory serves, John will be intimately acquainted and the progressive nature of which he presumably approves. Given that the huge growth of property prices over the last twenty years has been particularly pronounced at the higher end the principle of a higher band seems reasonable enough to me. At what level this ought to be set and all the other issues intertwined in the “Tax the Rich” zeitgeist are more than a little thorny though.

    I think that “people with wealth pay CGT on any gains” is not true in relation to their primary residence. As housing is by far the biggest store of wealth in the country and as an asset class has seen gains outstripping all comers the anomaly is a very great one. I think that property is under taxed relative to other assets but naturally I would like to see any additional taxes generated from residential property used to lower taxes on enterprise, especially on start-up businesses. Personally I think that another property tax, Business Rates, is a real barrier to growth and discriminates in favour of established entrants.

    Reply: Why would I be in favour? As I repeatedly said when I had to replace the Community Charge with the Council Tax, I did not expect this to be popular and I myself dislike more taxes.

    • Toby Ross
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Clarification – I merely presumed that you are in favour of the progressive aspect of Council Tax. I suppose my argument flowed from that source but I didn’t meant to imply that you ought to agree with it.
      I too dislike taxes but they are necessary and so for me it’s about least worst options.

  68. Dave A
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Would fefer people to Anthony Hiltons excellent article on the subject ….
    back in Sept 2012

    http://www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/anthony-hilton-tax-plan-with-a-wealth-of-problems-8179967.html

  69. uanime5
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    The widow in the £1.999m flat will not want to be given gem jewellery or a good painting, as it could take her into territory where suddently she would have to pay £20,000 a year wealth tax at 1%.

    Since when has property inside the flat contributed to it’s overall value? I can’t ever recall council houses being pushed into a higher tax band because they contained a good painting.

    Buy to let landlords will be dumping their properties, and rushing to spend their surplus on better holidays or more expensive cars that depreciate rapidly.

    Which will reduce housing prices, which is good for first time buyers.

    Assets are likely to be shared out more evenly amongst family members, with informal arrangements on their use that the taxman might find difficult to crack.

    If this doesn’t work for council tax avoidance it won’t work for mansion tax avoidance.

    Reply: The Lib dem proposal is a wealth tax, not a property tax. I am not recommending the share out, but there will be both legal and illegal ways that this will happen, as at present for benefit recipients as you say.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Ah, yes, another threshold created for the benefit of people too stupid to understand tapering (although tapering off of child benefits is expected to be understood by people earning between £50,000 and £60,00 per year).

      I can remember an old Stamp Duty threshold. A clever solicitor repackaged a £20,600 house purchase price (this is 1978 we are talking about) as £20,000 plus £600 for ‘goods and chattels’. That was the most expensive Xpelair fan that I have ever set eyes on.

  70. adams
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Spend, spend, spend and tax, tax, tax . That is all the LibLabCon know how to do . 100% inheritance Tax must be in the pipeline without doubt . This is why I support UKIP ,the Party that offers an end to the smothering straitjacket that our Parliament has become .
    If LibLabCon (EU) are the answer . What the Hell is the question ?

  71. Colin Adkins
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    The wealth / mansion tax is a product of the far left which is rapidly taking over our governing wonks. It is motivated by sheer spite and envy. The clear message to any body with talent combined with a wish to better themselves is LEAVE THE COUNTRY we don’t want you.
    People like me of pensionable age will reap the spite as punishment for working hard and not throwing the earnings away on fags, bling and fancy holidays. What a way to encourage the younger generation to work hard and make provision for themselves and their families into old age. Much better to leave it to the State to look after them.
    You couldn’t make it up!
    While I am at it am I the only person who thinks low incomes should be free of tax, surely it just guarantees that ever more people will vote for socialism as they do not pick up the bills. Yes I am well aware of all the other txes but income tax is the most transparently linked to Govenment spending.
    Oh I forgot Cameron is a left wing politician.

  72. Richard1
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Both are foolish proposals from the lightweights who constitute most – but not all – of the LibDem and Labour parties in Parliament. The leadership of both are very lightweight. It is the old political trick of trying to con 51% of the population that the other 49% will fund an ever increasing state with no consequences. Denis Healey tried it in the UK in the 1970s, France and Sweden went through such phases – France is sinking back in again. It’s always a disaster, and its the poor and the middle class who suffer from this drivel as it crushes entrepreneurial activity. The rich find ways round it or get out. France today is an unfolding disaster. People should watch France before voting LibDem or Labour.

  73. Martin
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I expect the super rich will be busy sub-dividing their mansions into flats for elderly parents and grown up sons & daughters or seperate live in quarters for their butlers.

    The super rich have probably moved much of their cash out of Sterling so their Sterling denominated bills won’t be so bad in Euros/Dollars given the strange fashion for devaluation and inflation in some quarters.

  74. Judith Midwinter
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    “Window taxes led to blocking up windows. ”

    And then a candle tax, to exploit the need for artificial light.

  75. Jon
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    There is a wealth tax already its called inheritance tax but because its been brought down to £325,000 they seem to want to double up with another one. The wealth tax never left it just applies to a lot more people.

    I do commend the government for trying to focusing tax rises that there are on the wealthy instead of Labour who focused on the low to middle income earners. However I think there is an issue with triple taxation, let alone double taxation which IHT is.

    They could look to say if the £20,000 pa plus was paid then that would negate their liability to IHT but why complicate it further. I suppose that would bring in money today instead of in the future.

    The jewellery and paintings tax is just a non starter and daft idea to even come up with. Someone who has paintings get clobbered but the neighbour who goes racing their garage developed car around Europe doesn’t.

    The issue is what we are spending not how we can tax more.

  76. Sidney Falco
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    This is a simple ruse by Labour to court the Lib Dems in the event of another hung parliament.

    It will never happen.

    To make it happen they will need to revalue all properties in England which they will not do as too many people will face increases in their council tax.

    If they don’t do a revaluation they will get legal challenges in the civil courts which will paralyse the system.

    It will never happen!!!

  77. REPay
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    one tax I would support is a tax on unfunded public sector pensions. We will allowed to save up to £1.25m in a pension fund but public sector employees often make little contribution. The Labour and Liberal Party are keen on taxing assets, this should be extended to public sector pensions over 50k – you’d need about 1.25m to get that amount, the amount that we in the private sector will be allowed to save.

  78. Monty
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    There is something we must all bear in mind with respect to this mansion tax.
    It is proposed to start at the £2M property value level. At that level, it is probably going to raise only a modest degree of revenue. It will only become a serious moneyspinner when a combination of threshold reductions, and property price inflation, brings more and more ordinary family homes into the taxable range. This would usually have a negative feedback on property prices, because a house close to the tax threshold would start to become a liability. I can imagine the whole thing spiralling out of control, especially if some subsequent Labour administration reverts to type and keeps dropping the threshold.
    And surely there is a self-defeating aspect to all this. For many of the property owners who find themselves in the firing line for mansion tax, the payments they have to make during their lifetime will serve to reduce the total value of their estate, thus reducing their IHT liability on death.

  79. Alex
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Income Tax is at least based on ability to pay Right so your income is falling in real terms you live in a small house with a big mortgage. Where exactly are you supposed to find the extra income tax?

    As opposed to the person who isn’t earning but is sitting on a two million pound property.

    That person can sell up and move and be very well off in perfectly nice areas elsewhere. The person who is working can’t due to job, kids at school etc.

    Meanwhile the young are taxed to the hilt, loaded up with debt and are unable to get on the property ladder.

  80. Bazman
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ll have to check my house for expensive jewellery and paintings. I checked it for scrap gold and didn’t find any. Crackpot idea. How would this be enforced. A new council tax band for properties over certain values is needed. 2, 4, 8, ten million in graduated levels. Pay or move somewhere cheaper like the rest of us. Abroad? See ya.

  81. iain lumsden
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Please do not get too carried away by the proposals for a mansion tax. I am desperate for a Conservative victory at the next election but talk of taxes on assets of two million pounds are an irrelevance to the electors required for an outright majority. I disagree entirely with the tax but it is people like me , who frankly have bugger all, but believe in people being able to achieve their ambitions, who need wooing not the asset rich who are mainly natural Tories anyway.

  82. wab
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    “Labour’s tax might entail a person with a £2m property having to pay an extra £25,000 a year to live in it.”

    “The widow in the £1.999m flat will not want to be given gem jewellery or a good painting, as it could take her into territory where suddently she would have to pay £20,000 a year wealth tax at 1%.”

    Has anyone suggested that these tax rates would be absolute rather than marginal? The Lib Dems certainly said the mansion tax would be marginal, and this so-called jewellery tax is DOA (and mostly journalistic stirring). Labour has been so vague it’s not clear but it’s hard to believe it would not be marginal (Balls understands the difference even if Miliband does not). If so, Mr. Redwood is just scaremongering.

    (Mr. Redwood unfortunately never links to any evidence of any “fact” he ever quotes in his blog, even though people continually ask him to do so, so it’s hard to know which “facts” he is getting from some gossip and which he is getting from official sources.)

    Absolute taxes are stupid. This is the main problem with Stamp Duty.

    This does not mean that the proposals from Labour / the Lib Dems, are any good. But argue against them for real reasons.

  83. derek Vaughan
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    My second post in this reply thread as I thought this cut and paste from capitalists@work (www.cityunslicker.com) was particularly good :

    ‘Andrew Zalotocky said…
    The bottom line is that the welfare state is going broke. The social democratic Leviathan is rapidly running out of other peoples’ money and the left is getting desperate. If they ever accept that we can’t afford current levels of government spending then they have to admit that the kind of spending they really want is impossible. They would have to admit that their whole vision of government has never been affordable and never will be.

    So they have to tell themselves that the money does exist, but it’s being hidden by evil capitalists. Therefore the “tax avoidance” nonsense will get worse and worse. The Guardian and the BBC will repeat it out of ideological sympathy and Labour will use it for tactical advantage. It will probably peter out when the economy finally starts to improve and renewed public optimism makes the politics of envy ineffective. If not, the British people will once again discover that squeezing the rich too hard makes everybody else’s pips squeak as well.’

  84. They Work for Us
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    What will it take to make the Conservative party a centre right party again?

    A UKIP victory at Eastleigh (unfortunately not likely) would concentrate minds in the Conservative Party. – 1922 C’tee, glass of whisky and revolver solution.

    In a general election I can see many people so fed up with the current lot of politicians, who do and will not represent them, voting for UKIP as:

    a “none of these”, “a plague on all your houses”, “lets unseat the present b*****d” destructive vote to give us some satisfaction if we are going to get a labour govt. or lib lab coalition to finish properly bankrupting the country and then get the IMF in to sort us out.

    It is all very depressing. We need to stop tax,waste and spend, but it won’t happen.

  85. rd
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    My thoughts are this: The Yanks said “no taxation without representation”. Sadly our political class, with notable exceptions such as yourself, refuses to really represent us today. We need a participatory democracy with direct voting – then see who will vote for more tax.

  86. barry
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    COMMENT – If this makes property more affordable and end the upward spiral of property costs there might be some merit.

    Buy to let landlords will be dumping their properties, and rushing to spend their surplus on better holidays or more expensive cars that depreciate rapidly. COMMENT -Sound like growth!

    Maybe new businesses will spring up to take valuables off people, in return for letting them use or enjoy them without owning them. COMMENT – Why is this a problem? Sounds like growth!

    The Parliamentary draftsmen will need to be sharp to make the tax difficult to avoid. COMMENT -Why change a lifetime habit of not being sharp? This is perhaps the only real argument offered here that makes any sound political and economic sense for avoiding the introduction of a mansion tax. Parliament and HMRC are simply not sharp enough to introduce AND MAKE IT WORK. But who is bold enough at Westminster to offer this not vote winning argument?

    Assets are likely to be shared out more evenly amongst family members, with informal arrangements on their use that the taxman might find difficult to crack COMMENT – If you think that this is already not happening, you must have just arrived from Wonderland.

    The government is likely to lose out on Inheritance Tax, as more better off parents decide the give things to their children early so they no longer have to pay a Wealth Tax on them. COMMENT – If you think that this is already not happening, you must have just arrived from Wonderland.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this latest wheeze from the politicians. COMMENT -I think politicians need to be clear if they are trying to raise funds or win votes or both. Your arguments above will not win favour with the vast majority of the voters and you have failed to QUANTIFY why it is a bad idea for raising funds. The wealth and mansion tax will be popular with the vast majority of voters in our current times. Either offer something better for the masses or politically discredit those proposing with notions of their mansions and wealth. Alternatively, avoid Wealth and Mansion tax with an entirely different wheeze that catches the attention of the masses. I would advise against war…our Armed Forces are too small. Perhaps the NHS should be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter for the countless needless deaths over the past decade or two. Make state education the equal (if not better than) private education a matter of REAL urgent necessity. Show leadership by cabinet ministers using the improved state education rather than the private sector. This would catch the attention of the masses and Mansion tax could be punted to touch for the distant future.

  87. David Langley
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Looks like a non starter anyway according to the Times this morning. The new raid on us is now focussing on Pensions. I am according to the Times a middle class person who is being forgotten about by Osborne. No worries I know where to vote and what to do. I am worried now about the burgeoning energy crisis that will see either fantastically expensive energy in a few years time or lights out Britain again.
    That is more important than a few million quid robbery on our pensions. Particularily when we can save more by ditching EU subs and Aid rip offs and give aways.

  88. David Langley
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Sorry off topic but I note that the weekend warriors are deserting the Territorial Army in droves and the Government targets of 30K lads and lasses superbly trained and fighting fit just itching to spill blood in foreign deserts would sooner watch Man United on the tele than turn up for drill nights.
    They like the money and firing off a few shots on the ranges (On dry days) but sweating out fearful years 24/7 of torment to become the best of the best. I dont think so they prefer the excitements of the modern George Best.

  89. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve been very modest in making the best of the tax avoiding schemes available – ISAs, pension contributions, premium bonds. But if there was any chance that I would be affected by a further tax on wealth (that had already been taxed) then I would take up any additional tax avoidance schemes available.

    I expect that the ‘tax take’ from a wealth tax would soon become negligible as people punish the government for overstepping reasonable bounds.

  90. Derek Emery
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The asset rich but income poor will have to move out if their home is worth £2 million or more. I bet not many of the UK public will be be to afford £25000 pa after tax even if they can afford a £2 million home by moving up.

    These homes will be of more interest to the really rich from outside the UK who probably have several homes around the world. The effect must be to move UK citizens from London and replace them with the international rich.

    I’ve read that some private schools in London are now dominated by Chinese children because the middle class are priced out.

    There is no way the £2 million figure will be increased with inflation so gradually more and more of London will become occupied by the international rich.

  91. David Langley
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Regarding being green, I just forked out £50 sobs for the EPC certificate. I only scored about 50 percent on the green scale because I havent put photovoltaic panels on my roof and have a few downlighters. My house is double glazed, walls full of insulation, attic rammed full over the limit insulation, floors done, condensing boiler etc. I am now wondering why the government decided to slash the FIT for solar panels if the savings and benefits add up so much.

  92. bigneil
    Posted February 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    regarding the comment of getting some teenagers in for a wild weekend party – do some damage to drive the value down – -errr – -i am not a teenager and after working 24/7 shifts for 40+ years didnt get to many parties – -PLEASE CAN I APPLY FOR THE PARTY JOB ??? – -not a bring your own booze is it ??

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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