What do we want in the Autumn Statement?

This year’s Autumn Statement will come just before the end of the year, on a wintry December 5th. It should show us that this time the economy is performing better than the official forecasts. Tax revenue will be higher, the deficit lower, and output higher than the OBR thought in the spring. This gives the Chancellor room to accelerate the deficit reduction strategy, with or without tax cuts at the same time.

He could make his job easier still in cutting both the deficit and taxes by taking more action to curb the growth of spending. Cancelling or delaying HS2 for a few years could save £16bn over the next Parliament, and a bit in preparatory costs in this. Cutting the growth out of the Overseas Aid budget would be popular, whilst still leaving plenty for emergencies like Syria and the Philippines tsunami. Tightening the rules on eligibility to benefits for recently arrived migrants could also make a contribution. Helping more people to own a home couild cut the budget for subsidised rental housing.

The economy does need tax cuts. Individuals and families need tax cuts so they have more spending power. I assume there will be a further increase in the Income Tax threshold, as that seems to be the only tax cut that Lib Dems will readily accept. It is also time the Chancellor looked again at the threshold for 40% tax, which cuts in too soon on the income scale.

We also need cuts in capital taxes to stimulate more activity. Capital Gains Tax at 20% would raise more revenue for the next couple of years than keeping it at 28%. Changing Stamp Duty so the higher rates only apply to that part of the purchase price over the threshold would cost some revenue, but would stimulate home buying and ownership which in turn will stimulate housebuilding.

Small business is still feeling squeezed. Some relief on business rates would be a welcome way of helping them.

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  1. Barry
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to know when the state last got smaller. I reckon you would have to go back 60 years or more. No doubt the inexorable rise in the size of the state will continue with the autumn statement. From what I read the state is actually awash with our cash, it’s just that they would rather spend it on outlandish salaries, perks etc for upper and middle management in the public sector than anything which would benefit the country as a whole.

    I met a young person yesterday who told me that he is literally paying everything he earns to keep house and home intact. There is nothing left for even an occasional drink. That to me is modern day slavery. And, effectively, all so some middle ranking bureaucrat can live in luxury or MP’s can get drunk on subsidised booze, bail out their mates in the City etc. What is happening in this country is truly obscene. What is worse is that Osbourne will probably come out with the usual claptrap about “giving us back” some sort of crumb of our own money. Still, people seem to vote for ever more of this so I suppose we have only ourselves to blame.

    • Hope
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I also know of another examples where young people who have done what society expects by working hard find themselves worse off than young women with children who were lazy at school but benfit from the welfare state.

      Today Cameron says it will be ad cease before tax cuts for the middle classes, why did he not say that in 2010 when Osborne pledged a 80/20 split on tax rises against spending cuts? On shore wind farms might be cut but offshore will increase with pavement for electricity three times higher. Davey is pleased that the UK will meet the EU renewable targets by 2020. So another sham by Cameron to reduce our tax and energy bills or get rid of the over expensive green crap that causes people to be in fuel poverty or die through the cold. Ideological madness with terrible consequences. Cameron and Clegg needs to go ASAP. Advice to the young who work hard, leave for an anglosphere country, this one is doomed by the EU fanatics like Miliband, Cameron and Clegg.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Many full time jobs pay after tax about a £1000 month. Now around here a two bedroom house will cost you about £600 a month in rent, £120 in council tax and a £150 for bills. Not much left after that for food, travel to work etc. Now don’t tell us that if they paid less tax this would solve the problem, because it would not and more than likely they would still be paid the same amount. A £1000 a month. For many single mothers they are better off not working and cleaning is not a career as a neo serf.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      As you say:-

      “Still, people seem to vote for ever more of this so I suppose we have only ourselves to blame.”

      But this is clearly inherent in the UK system of “democracy”. The politicians take money off a small part of the population (legalised theft under threat of imprisonment) and then use it to promise a land of milk and honey to the poor in order to buy their votes.

      If you ask the population should we take 95% of the assets off all the millionaires and spend it on everyone else? Then they often tend to say yes and vote that way. In fact of course most of it is wasted on the middle men, parasites, politicians, their friends and the bureaucrats. So the lefty voters do not get much anyway.

      Company directors often abuse shareholders in the same way, due the the lack of proper control mechanisms for shareholders.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      A truly depressing post but likely not far from the mark.

      Salary and pension excess in the public sector and EU is the bane of taxpayers’ lives

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Helping more people to own a home and simulating home buying are my idea of rigging the market, which all of a sudden is OK (bit like tax no longer being theft) when it is the Government doing it. In any event, the timing is late to the extent of being naive. Get rid of Employers’ NI which is ridiculous in concept given how much employers are forced to do free for the Government in promoting its mostly daft ideas–it truly is a Jobs Tax. Stop mucking about on Welfare and the deficit and actually cut them instead of tinkering with them. Absolutely amazing how much we still borrow every day of the week. An “affordable State” is one of the Osborne’s better utterances.

  3. stred
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    How about requiring foreign owners to pay CGT on second homes, as happens to us in other countries. This revenue could be used to bring back inflation allowance for long term assets. At present we have a yearly 28% tax on inflation, which may as well be a wealth tax. In France the wealth tax is leading to middle class families with savings and modest homes having to move abroad, so hopefully the Treasury grabbers will take account of this fact.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Care to explain why the French wealth tax is causing the middle class to move abroad when it doesn’t apply to them.

      • Edward 2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Err…a reducing standard of living, little or no growth, higher regulations and red tape making running a business less pleasurable and profitable,rising unemployment reducing demand for businesses products and services
        Every citizen is being hit by France’s socialist policies not just the top one or two percent Uni
        Those middle class who have portable professions are leaving in their droves.

      • stred
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Wealth tax in France starts after about £650,000. This includes the value of houses, savings, childrens savings, cars and other possessions. This applies to worldwide possessions. A flat in Paris can be worth 600,000. Of course, if you have large borrowings you can stay. I know of a family in Brittany, selling their house at a 30k reduction , as they have to leave to a French overseas territory, where their savings are. The tax starts at about half a percent pa. which, if you are moderately capital rich/cash or income poor, is a disaster.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    He should start by undoing his outrageous betrayal of ratting on the £1M IHT threshold. This even beyond the next election it seems. – They are very unlikely to win anyway so the promise would cost him nothing.

    It is reported he is going to increase capital gains tax for overseas investors, this would be a big mistake and would do damage to one of the few areas of the economy that is actually buoyant.

    The economy certainly does need tax cuts now. It also need a much smaller parasitic sector, both in the state sector and the private sector where absurdly complex and daft rules, laws, regulations and taxes generate pointless work for endless lawyers, accountants, HR & Health and Safety experts and similar in both sectors.

    CGT, Income tax, fuel duties, NI, Stamp duty, council taxes on commercial building are all far too high.

    • Arschloch
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      IHT eh? How many votes is that going to pull in then? Remember what Andrew Carnegie said about a rich man who dies rich dies in disgrace? Anyway having lived outside of the UK for so long how is it a problem for you?

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        It is not a problem for me on my world wide assets though it means I have to keep my UK investment below £325K which is a negative for the UK. It is a problem for the UK as it reduces confidence, investment and growth.

        As to votes it was that IHT promise be Osborne and the subsequent surge in the polls that made Brown very foolishly back off his early election. So quite a few votes in it.

        A shame he did not go for it and win and we would now have the prospect of a real Tory government.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      The Tories want to get elected and as so few pay IHT why would this be a vote winner and not a loser? This is a just tax.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    So they are shifting subsidies away from land based wind farms to those built offshore. Offshore wind farms of course make even less economic sense than onshore, just kill the lot by stopping all subsidies, enough money has been waster already. They are all economic lunacy, otherwise they would need no subsidy at all.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Environmental lunacy too.

      • Hope
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        It is reported that DECC paid the solar industry 10 percent more than it asked for. Who is going to be sacked for this mind boggling nonsense, Davey should be at the front of the queue. People will die from the cold this winter as well as put more people in fuel poverty, he is in charge and should take full responsibility for his failings.

    • stred
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Mr Alexander was keen to support offshore wind again this morning. They must have had a shock when the insane wind scheme in the stormy Atlantic was abandoned. The answer therefore is to ‘grandfather’ some more. But, at least the urgent need to insulate the walls of old houses is being scaled back.

      The BBC had interviewed a woman who had used a government scheme to put external insulation on her house, as an example. This had cost £25k and she had paid half, the other half being funded by the rest of us. She expected to save £400/year. A payback of 1.6%. The Greendeal average is 7% on bills.

      It is possible to insulate the inside walls for around £1000 or less. Lining 1.5″ thick can give a fourfold improvement. But this has been prevented by regulation since 2010 and now 4″ is required, soon to be increased. In addition the government favours external insulation but this method does not allow the rapid warming of a house when the owner gets back from work. The solid wall acts as a very large storage heater, taking a day or two to warm up-or cool down. So the heating has to be left on full all the time. It makes one wonder who has been lobbying for the much more expensive method and whether there are any civil servants who understand economic returns.

      • stred
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        The interview was on R4 pm yesterday.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        The economics of the mad house from Greenest ever Cameron and the quack green coalition.

        Pay double for wind on land and triple for offshore and both are worth far less than on demand electricity as they intermittent too. Bonkers as Boris might say.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      See Roger Helmers latest blog on wind turbines with gas back up. Not an ounce of CO2 saved despite all the hype by the BBC and wind up industry. What’s the betting that the EU rules against nuclear subsidies and says we should use the money to build more windmills. That’s the lobbying power of Siemens and the Danish wind industry.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Care to explain how CO2 isn’t being saved when we’re using less gas because the wind turbines are generating some power.

        • Edward 2
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          Well Uni
          Its because the small amount of co2 saved by wind turbines has been wiped out by the extra co2 produced by a large increase in our our population and the increases in activity as a result.
          And some very cold winters recently havn’t helped either.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          CO2 in construction of the wind farms and transmission lines, plus the co2 used in the back up facilities needed. So no real saving at all – indeed actually far more c02 in the short term.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        George Osborne will give a £10 billion guarantee to Japanese giant Hitachi to kick-start a second nuclear power station. built it at Wylfa, Anglesey, North Wales, so don’t tell us about wind farm subsidies and the lobbying power of Siemens and the Danish wind industry. It will not wash and especially after the massive subsidies given to EDF and the Chinese to he first new nuclear power station in 20 years at Hinkley Point, Somerset. A couple of quid on windmill technology is chicken feed. It’s clear where the idealogical nonsense lies and who will be picking up the tab for it now and forever.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Its a question of what you get for your money Baz.
          Hundreds of millions spent on windmills which produce a small amount of power for each pound invested or nuclear which as well as being very low CO2, produces energy much more cheaply, all day every day.
          You would need thousands of windmills to match just one nuclear plant.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic–John does not believe this–I remember being struck by one of his Replies some time back to the effect that “Of course there needs to be a subsidy”. For my part, a small pump-priming subsidy makes sense but what we get is way beyond that. Government should stick to its historical function of Internal (Police) and External Defence, otherwise get out of the way.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Their may be a case for subsidies for research and development, but to subsidise and role out duff technology that does not even save c02 (not that co2 is a real problem) is just bonkers.

        Still at least Tim Yeo has gone.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Neither would nuclear or oil/gas, but the subsidy is intended to increase investment until the industry matures, you have no problem with unlimited and never ending subsidy for nuclear. Care to tell us why in a non BBC arty farty and scientific way?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Because the best way to keep the lights on is investment in nuclear power generation followed by gas followed by coal.
        Of course wind, wave, solar panel and other “green” methods of power generation are needed in the mix, but the most they can provide is 20% of our total needs.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Depends what you mean by ‘green’. Nuclear is not green or cheap.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

            Is there a lower CO2 energy generation method than nuclear?
            I mean in terms of Kwh produced.
            I know a PV panel or a windmill maybe lower on CO2 but they don’t turn out much power.

  6. petermartin2001
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Governments have less control than they think when it comes to budget deficits. Its not simply a matter of cutting spending and raising taxes.
    Wynne Godley at Cambridge Uni, pioneered the concept of sector balances, which leads to the important equation:
    Government Deficit=Private Surplus + Trade Deficit

    Looking at the trade deficit with the rest of the world seems to have fallen slightly out of fashion, but reducing this will also reduce the Government defict on a 1:1 basis. A surplus is even better of course as any German economist will tell you.

    The private surplus is caused mainly by a tendency of companies to sit on their money rather than invest it productively. It can be seen that this causes the Gvt deficit to increase too. A reduction in corporation tax, or a temporary reduction in employers NI contributions could encourage investment and get the economy moving again which is ultimately what is required to fix the deficit.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      In theory we could reduce the trade deficit by taxing imports and subsidising exports. The EU and various other trade agreements of course prevent this from happenig. However the same effect can be arrived at by getting rid of employers’ NI contributions. This single tax change would have more effect on reducing the deficit than any other.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “My Dear Friends, I have to tell you that the situation is now getting very serious.

    “Yes, I do know there is an election coming on. Yes I do know that the members opposite are against what they call austerity. Yes I do know that the electorate is so greedy and defensive that they will resist any kind of “cut” with the customary gusto that comes from blindness.

    “But we are now well over a trillion pounds in debt. Our annual income from taxation is about half that. The amount we are currently paying out in interest is more than we are spending on defence – to the dismay of our American allies in NATO.
    “And the deficit has not disappeared, has it?

    “It is time to draw in our belts and stop handing out money which we have to borrow to keep afloat.
    “And this is what I propose to do…

    There will be an emergency announcement on the BBC tonight (to the delight of the Newsnight team).

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      They can announce anything they like as they are surely history and will not have to implement it anyway.

      Not that they ever implemented their empty promises last time anyway. We are still waiting on the £1M IHT, the deficit, the most business friendly ever and the EU. Let us see how it goes after May 14. Perhaps they will finally see the cliff ahead.

  8. Andyvan
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    If George really wants to help small business, potential home owners, struggling families or just about everyone that isn’t a non productive public sector drone it is quite simple. Cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation. That’s all. No stupid policies helping people own homes but really ramping up another bubble, no initiatives, no complicated tax breaks, no counter productive schemes designed to appear competent. Just cut everything that government does. Of course he won’t do so because government doesn’t care about actually helping people- or at least only enough to keep the voters from burning Parliament to the ground. What he will do is continue business as usual, protecting privilege, stealing the wealth of the population to squander on the non productive and increasing interference in our lives. See if I’m wrong.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      “Cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation” – that is indeed all that is needed a working compass and a sensible vision but alas we have socialist Cameron.

      • Vanessa
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        “……alas we have socialist Cameron.” More like a Communist leader. Where does meddling in private companies come from ? Where do price controls come from ? Where does trying to control and run everything come from ?

        This government is Communist – and everything governments control becomes a disaster.

        • zorro
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          This is Heathism written large….


      • Kenneth
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure if Mr Cameron is a socialist (I really have no clue what the PM’s political preferences are).

        However this is, without doubt, a socialist government, verging on extremism as it presides over such a large overbearing and largely unproductive public sector.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        If taxes are cut and spending such as on new infrastructure how is this going to help the UK in the long term. How will all this infrastructure be paid for? By tolls and charges by private companies such as toll roads.or do we not need any new infrastructure?
        You constant whining for tax cuts will benefit only a few and see this country in dereliction. No infrastructure education and what about all the poeple put on the dole when the gap does not fill? They are just supposed to take it? many work for companies that provide government services, transport and defence contracts. Living in your secret location has put you in a dream world where IHT is the top priority. Fool.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          I don’t understand how you can say “tax cuts will benefit only a few”
          If you reduced VAT from its absurd 20% level or reduced taxes on energy and fuels, or reduced the cost of a TV license, or reduced insurance premium taxes, or even reduced NI or income tax you would benefit many millions of people.
          Leaving them with more money in their “pay packets” to spend on themselves as they see fit.
          As just one example, prices of food would reduce for everyone if transportation costs fell due to lower fuel taxes.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Cut taxes, cut spending, cut regulation.

      In other words only do things that help big business but harm everyone else. Don’t expect the electorate to support this.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Care to explain why reduced taxes would be unpopular with votes Uni?

        PS You say “cut spending” but spending is going up as Mr Redwood explained only the other day.

  9. Richard1
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    This morning we have news of 2 political decisions which make no economic sense. There will be no tax cuts for the ‘middle class’ until the end of the decade, and there will be more subsidy for offshore wind, the most expensive form of energy of all. Presumably some focus group has found that this is the right thing to do electorally, but it makes no sense economically.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed, just the way to lose the election.

    • Chris
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Well it is not the right thing to do electorally, whatever these focus groups apparently say. Not the correct way to govern, by focus group, as I think you are implying, Richard.

  10. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Scrap the Barnett Formula.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      No chance of that Prang Wizard. The Scots and the Welsh mustn’t lose their free prescriptions and free or heavily subsidised tuition fees or free personal care for the elderly. Better that English taxes provide all these things which the English themselves are denied rather than upset our Celtic neighbours.

  11. lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    “Tax cuts ruled out until the end of the decade – Cameron says delivering on Tory ambitions will have to wait until the deficit is dealt with.”

    So says the front page of the Telegraph today.

    As the Coalition have not even started on the deficit who knows when that might be?

    Clearly Cameron and the Coalition want to continue pissing money down the drain on HS2, green subsidies, yet more parasitic government, the EU, overseas aid, soft loans to the PIGIS and the IMF, trams, trains, bus and bike lanes, the half witted green deal, bio fuel nonsense …………..

    Of course if he cut tax rates we would have more growth and the government could actually raise more revenue in the end. They could take 100%, but 100% of nothing is still nothing.

    I say they could take 100% in tax, but in the year you move house in the South East with say circa £70,000 of stamp duty they often do tax you at well over 100% of your income for the year.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Of course if he cut tax rates we would have more growth and the government could actually raise more revenue in the end.

      The 50% tax rate was cut in April and how much growth has that generated? Make sure you also explain why there was growth in the first quarter of 2013 even though the tax cut occurred in the second quarter.

      • Edward 2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        You link it to growth Uni
        I’m more keen to link it to revenues.
        The lower top rate has led to more tax being paid.
        Something I thought you wanted the rich to be made to do?

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Well it was increased from 40-50% by labour just before the election and that certainly killed growth.

        Osborne should have reduced it to 40% on election.

  12. me
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    An end to the green scam.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Which one the nuclear one?

  13. JM
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The Chancellor proudly tells us that he will cap business rates increases at 2%. Why is it that government expenditure is expected to rise year on year in case terms. A lot of commercial businesses have been working with static budgets for years. Government should do the same.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Rates should be going down by about 30% not up 2%.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink


    Raise the personal tax allowance to the level of the minimum wage (40 hours work) and restore that tax allowance to everyone (keep the system as simple as possible)

    Whilst he should cut government spending, clearly he will not (as past records show) so our debt will continue to grow ever higher for many more years, but then please be honest about it.

    Lost count of the number of sensible options myself and many other contributors have made in the past, so seems little point in revisiting them all again, as our Chancellor thinks he knows best and will do as he pleases.

    I await the statement with interest, but little hope it will hit the right spot.

  15. Iain Gill
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Increasing the tax paid by foreign nationals here on work visas to at least as much as Brits pay would be popular.

    · So no more national insurance, both employers and employees, free periods here.

    · No more claiming amounts tax free, as supposedly expenses that Brits working away from home within the UK would not be able to claim.

    · Give them a tax allowance pro rata with the amount of the tax year they are permitted to work in this country.

    Bet it doesn’t happen though.

    Not many tax increases that would be resoundingly popular, but this is one.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    All very sensible suggestions Dr.JR . Cutting the tax threshold would be very high on my list because the knock-on effect to the economy would have an immediate positive effect ; it would be refused by the Lib-Dems of course who seem to be blinded by their , so called , social blending ideals . Higher achieving individuals are the bed rock to a high value added economy and need to be shown that their efforts are worthwhile ; this approach ought to receive the support of the Labour Party who have highlighted the way our economy should be focussed . This Autumn statement and the next budget are the only two opportunities the Conservatives have to pull their way back .

  17. yulwaymartyn
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Get rid of all business rates and help the wealth creators.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Depends if they are creating wealth for the country or just themselves at the expense of the country like banks do.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree with that Martyn. Business rates are a blight on business and jobs

  18. Jennifer A
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The low 40% tax band causes a double-whammy for middle income families.

    Overtime/promotion taken in order to offset the effects of the higher tax banding can cause a loss of child benefit – an effective tax rate of 75% for anything earned over the £50k threshold. Properties in the places where you can earn that kind of money are so out of reach that such earners can only afford a modest lifestyle.

    In many ways it is better not to go for pay rises or to take promotion and personal responsibility – especially if the state pension is going to be means tested in future and any sacrifices made now are to be neutralised in retirement.

    (PS – The international educational league tables are deeply disturbing for Britain. Boris is being far too optimistic in my view.)

  19. Atlas
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Surely the amounts being wasted on the green agenda overshadow everything else. Get rid of them then the economy would really take off.

  20. JoolsB
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    How about fairness? Less austerity for ENGLAND and more austerity for the UK.

    As Prang Wizard suggests, start by scrapping the Barnett Formula saving billions at a stroke.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Given that Scotland has the second highest GVA scrapping the Barnett Formula may actually be bad for England.

  21. Chris S
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the misguided changes in CGT reversed with the re-introduction of taper relief to encourage longer term investment. It’s certainly true that the 28% rate is holding many businesses and individuals back from disposing of property and reinvesting : that’s my situation.

    I have several investment properties that I would like to move on and would then re-invest the cash in our business. We would then be able to create several new jobs.

    While the current regime remains, I do not intend to pay George Osborne 28% so will be holding on to them. At the very least I would like to see relief of CGT if the profit from a property sale by an individual is re-invested.

  22. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    The target should be NI.

    Employers’ NI contributions are a tax on jobs. They give imports an advantage over home produced goods and services. They are a tax on our exports. They are a brake on cash flow particularly for small companies. They certainly should be implemented rather than any reduction in corporation tax.

    The starting level for employees’ NI contributions should be raised to the same level of income tax rather than any further rise in that for income tax. This would concentrate the relief on those members of the population who have the lowest earnings. It would encourage people into work. If necessary this could be paid for by a rise in the higher rate of NI.

  23. Bill
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    We need tax cuts because we are over-taxed. There is almost no action a free citizen can take without being taxed, nothing substantial you can buy, no service you can pay for (look at the plumber’s bill for servicing your heating system) without giving a cut to the government.

    The sheer weight of burgeoning bureaucracy is indicative of a civilisation in decline. Look again at Czarist Russia before it collapsed. Read, if you like, Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector or look at the Byzantine empire before it was over-run.

    We sometimes use the word ‘Byzantine’ to describe an over-complicated bureaucracy that impedes progress, squashes the individual, costs money, sinks into corruption and can only be cured by being swept away. How far away are we from this?

  24. English Pensioner
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    He could put an upper salary limit on all those whose salaries are paid by the taxpayer – from civil servants, local government staff, NHS, quangos, government “agencies”, police, etc.
    I would suggest that no-one in those categories should be paid more than the Prime Minister. If they don’t like it, let them find employment elsewhere, as in spite of the arguments that many of these obscene salaries are being paid to get the “best”, they are clearly not, particularly in the NHS. There are plenty of graduates from good universities who would be quite capable of doing these jobs who are presently seeking worthwhile employment, I’m sure there would be no problem in finding replacements.
    If those in post can’t have there salaries reduced, a poor second best would be to give them no more increases and have a salary cap on all new employees or promotions.

  25. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Of absolutely fundamental importance is the distortion of our economy by the influx of very large amounts of cheap labour from the EU, and yet I fear Osborne will not mention this, owing to his inability to do anything about this as long as we are members of the EU. He should be honest with the electorate, by flagging up the true extent of the problem, and linking it directly with EU membership, so that everyone is aware of what EU membership actually means, and is given a chance of making an informed choice at any referendum. A brief mention will not do, nor are the proposed attempts to curb some of the benefits anywhere near adequate to address the problem. See latest report on scale of this immigration: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigratio
    “385,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will come to Britain, report warns
    A new model by the American think tank The Democracy Institute estimates 77,000 new migrants from the countries will arrive in Britain each year.
    At least 385,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will come to Britain after restrictions are lifted on January 1 a think tank has warned. The report by the Democracy Institute, a think tank, warns that the British Government is to blame for the “mess” of migration describing the flood of new arrivals as a “self-inflicted economic migrant own goal.”
    Under “transitional” rules introduced when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, migrants from these two countries can only work in the UK in seasonal jobs such as fruit picking, or if they are self-employed.
    The report warns that Britain will be opening its borders to a “not insignificant, uneducated, unskilled group” planning to “avail themselves of the smorgasbord of government-provided benefits.” ….
    Last week the Prime Minister announced plans for new curbs on the entitlement of EU migrants to claim benefits in Britain. He called for a review of EU freedom of movement laws, in an attempt to put an end to “vast migrations” from poorer European countries to the West

    However the report warns that Britain’s high minimum wage will also act as a “peverse” lure would be migrants deciding which country they will settle. The minimum wage in Bulgaria is 73p and hour and in Romania workers receive 79p – in Britain the minimum wage will rise to £6.31 for over 21’s alter this year….”

  26. BobE
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    No public servant can earn more that the PM

    • libertarian
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Would prefer no public servant can earn more than the minimum wage

    • zorro
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      They can, and do so…..


  27. lojolondon
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good ideas there, but for the simplest, fastest, cheapest reduction, how about reducing the ‘temporary’ VAT rate back down to 10%, thus putting 10% back into most people’s pockets, reducing VAT fraud and stimulating spending at the same time??

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      lojo–This whole business with VAT, and smacking of the wretched EU doesn’t help, has got completely out of hand

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      How about a reduction on VAT for fuel? A regressive tax for the poor especially on this.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        I’m all for it Baz
        One reason it was brought in was to deliberately make UK energy even more expensive.
        The idea was to force us to reduce our consumption and so reduce the CO2 output of the UK as we promised when we signed up for Kyoto targets and agreed to huge fines if we failed to meet our promises.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 8, 2013 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          VAT was never put on to save energy. It was put on to raise taxes.

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    This is still a deckchairs approach. Osborne is the heir to Brown with his tinkering and increasing the layers of tax complexity. He has wasted the opportunity of radical change, which was predictable with his pre 2010 ruling out of a flat tax system. Despite the fact that he was given a massive clue with the poll rating success of the £1m IHT pledge he still has not got the message. Nigel Lawson was the best Chancellor in my memory and his philosophy was simple – remove, reduce and simplify. Osborne should make one killer tax change e.g. abolish CGT or Corporation Tax or IHT or Stamp Duty. The Conservative Party is dead in the water electorally so why not give Balls the equivalent of Brown’s 50p tax legacy and you never know it may be a vote winner.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Because the Lib Dums won’t allow it. The tail is wagging the dog and it seems Liberal Cameron and Osborne are perfectly happy with that.

  29. John Eustace
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I think the Prime Minister is in need of an explanation of the Laffer Curve.

    His latest statement that taxes will not reduce until the public accounts are in surplus is the equivalent of saying the beatings will continue until morale improves.

    • zorro
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, his wonky compass is the only thing that is steady about him unfortunately….


    • APL
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      John Eustace: “taxes will not reduce until”

      The alternative is to announce a spending cut of a size that even Thatcher did not dream of. And only a short while before an election.


  30. Edward2
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Please may I see in the Autumn statement:-
    Another increase in the starting point for paying income tax.
    A reduction in the rate of capital gains tax and the reintroduction of capital gains tax relief for long term holding of assets.
    A reworking of stamp duty to smooth out the jumps in tax.
    A reduction in duty on petrol and diesel fuel.
    A sell off of the BBC as a PLC which would then charge like Sky via a monthly fee or continue like ITV free via adverts.
    A cut back in foreign aid.
    A cut back in money paid to charities.
    The introduction of a maximum salary for any Government employee.
    That will do for now.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Another SKY or ITV? Watch these channel do we edward? Britain deserves more than that.

      • Edward 2
        Posted December 5, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Yes I do watch ITV and many other completely free commercial channels.
        I dont bother with Sky.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          “What we are dealing here is a total lack of respect for the law…”
          120 Mbps internet connection on Monday. Woo Hoo! Suzuki Hayabusa of internet speeds as it stands and faster than the nets websites in most cases. HD video Streaming and HD films downloaded in minutes music in seconds. 200Mbps soon and 330Mbps with BT next year its said.
          The BBC and copyright may just become quaint old ideas if they do not evolve in the coming years.

  31. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Fully transferable household tax allowance. No marriage agenda just a recognition that 2 can not live as cheaply as one and that if one of a household chooses to stay at home without claiming benefits then their tax free allowance should be available to the member of that household bringing in a wage.

    I would like to see a budget in surplus through real spending cuts. If the NHS and welfare have to rationalise so be it. Start by targeting overly large pension awards to the management.

  32. uanime5
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    It is also time the Chancellor looked again at the threshold for 40% tax, which cuts in too soon on the income scale.

    Perhaps the chancellor could stop lowering the threshold for the 40% tax rate every time the personal allowance is increased.

    We also need cuts in capital taxes to stimulate more activity. Capital Gains Tax at 20% would raise more revenue for the next couple of years than keeping it at 28%.

    Many people are paid in shares, so reducing capital gains taxes will encourage more people to avoid income tax by being paid in shares.

    Given that repeated cuts to corporation tax didn’t result in more growth I’d have to say that tax cuts for businesses haven’t resulted in more growth.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Funny I was shown round a local infant school the other week. The head teacher was confused by government messages, he had heard the government was going to fund free school meals for the youngest children. He thought that meant cold meals, as the school has no kitchens, or space for them. He had actually already been in the process of setting up meal options for the parents (to be paid for by the parents), but pulled the plug on that as he didn’t think it would be viable if the youngest children were given free meals. He was also concerned whether the government would give enough money for decent meals. So now we learn the government is going to give the youngest children free hot meals and plans to fund new kitchens and dining places in the schools to facilitate this. So while the youngest children get free hot meals, and the fussy eaters presumably wont get their favourite packed lunch from home, the older children are going to be separated at meal time from the younger ones so they can still eat packed lunch? Seems strange to separate children like this who currently sit and share their lunchtime. Seems a confused policy. What’s going to happen to those schools that don’t have the space for the kitchen? I am fairly sure the head would rather have the money about to be spent on kitchens for other stuff. Is it really going to be as cheap as Mr Clegg thinks to add kitchens to every junior school in England?

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 5, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink


      Yes, gone are the days when every School had its own kitchen, and kitchen staff producing a freshly cooked hot meal at reasonable cost every day.

      Had School dinners every day when at school over 50 years ago, cost if I remember about six old pence a day then.
      Most kids stayed for meals, some went home or had a packed lunch, but not many

      All the teachers had their meals sitting with the pupils, and had exactly the same food, sort of made them seem human in a funny sort of way.

      Strange that I do not remember anyone having a food allergy, or even a food choice then !

      • Bazman
        Posted December 8, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        In my school in the early 80’s, Park Zoo as it was known, the children who received free meals were made to sit on a separate table. I was once caught selling the dinner tickets for free meals at below cost to buy cigarettes and chips I received the cane for it and reprimanded from my mother for not giving her the money. This was at a time when the comprehensive system first began, the bys and girls grammar school and nearby mixed scum bag school being merged. We sat together at registration for ten minutes and then all other lessons were separate. It was made clear we were not welcome by many in this mainly financial segregation the grammar school being the school for the children of professional and wealthy children and the other one being mainly the children of labourers and tradesman. so when you dreamers are telling us that everyone has the same chance. This is not true and I have seen why this is so. One girl in my school who was not very clever told all the teachers her father was a rich business man and would find her a rich husband so she did not need to learn, but should be in the grammar classes with her friends. Some teachers were agreed and others outraged. That would be well hidden these days, but just as real. Another boy was well stupid and still went to the grammar his father a rich local businessman. Don’t tell us we all have the same chance its a lie.
        Ram it.

  34. APL
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    JR: “This year’s Autumn Statement ..”

    What the british administration does with it’s EU allowance.

  • About John Redwood

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

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