Tax matters


Ms Harman was disarmingly honest when she recently told a radio interviewer that she thinks people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes. So today I am looking at Labour’s various suggestions of who might pay more tax and how, inviting comment on these potential policies.

There is the Death tax, a levy on people’s estates to pay for care when elderly, which would be a surcharge on top of Inheritance Tax.

There is the homes Tax – or mansion tax – as an additional levy on dearer priced properties.

There is the idea of a higher rate of Corporation Tax on business.

There is the possibility of a Graduate Tax.

A rise in National Insurance  (a tax on jobs).

A resumption of Labour rises in  Fuel Duty.

A new tax on farms.

These taxes all represent ways of hitting those in the middle of the income scale as well as at the top. They are taxes on aspiration and hard work, taxes on achievement and prudence. Taxing business and employment more could get in the way of the jobs recovery we are now experiencing.




  1. Narrow Sboulders
    August 1, 2014

    Labour need only follow your party’s lead when it comes to tax on middle income earnere.

    Only givimg married couples allowance to basic rate payers, the ever decreasing highef rate threhold and the removal through tax of child benefit means my tax and ni bill has shot up 60% since you came to power. Add in VAT and housimg costs due to unrestricted immigration and it is barely worth going to work. In fact if I can wangle my way onto the universal credit I would be beter off once travel costs are factored in.

    At leasr Labour is open about its fleecing of middle income earners

    1. lifelogic
      August 1, 2014

      Indeed and Clegg unlike Cameron is honest on his eu vision. Attacks on private pensions and 299. Tax increases and he ratted on the £1m IHT.

      1. Hope
        August 2, 2014

        Do not forget the bonfire of quangos that never happened but effect our daily lives through EU regulation and directives ie Environment Agency that is so expensive but delivers little, the ASA exactly the same.

  2. Lifelogic
    August 1, 2014

    Indeed and these are on top of Cameron/Osborne’s 299+tax increases too and the silly new compulsory pensions. The government never manages to raise much more than 40% of GDP in taxes, which is about twice what they actually need were they efficient and only did the few things they can do better than individuals.

    Yet still they piss the money away on hs2, air carriers, pointless wars, green crap, loans to pigis, equality drivel, over regulation of everything, augmenting the feckless and the likes. If they really want to protect tax revenue, so they can continue their waste, they need to start defended the city from the attacks of the EU. See the excellent article from Alastsir Heath in the telegraph today.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 1, 2014

      It is over taxing then the endless government waste that is truly “morally repugnant”. As are Osborne’s continued attack on private sector pensions and the virtually random (you owe what we say you owe) General Anti Avoidance Regulation (GAAR). This it is hugely damaging to investment due to its uncertain and random nature. Why invest with this uncertainty when you can do so elsewhere without. You thus need a higher return to make it worth while taking the GAAR risk so many investments are just lost as a result. There is a parallel here with his equally idiotic gender insurance and pensions lunacy which is also hugely damaging.

      Economic lunacy from the Cameron government as usual, what do they teach in Oxford PPE, certainly not much sensible economics it seems. Or perhaps he missed those lectures after hangovers from Bullingdon dinners?

      1. Lifelogic
        August 1, 2014

        Yet Oxford still awarded him a first in PPE, despite this glaring lack of a basic grasp of economics.

        1. Mark
          August 1, 2014

          I thought he dropped the Economics after Honour Mods – as most of our PPE politicians did.

          1. Richard1
            August 1, 2014

            Let’s hope so. Undergraduate economics in UK universities is very low quality. He would have done much better to focus on philosophy or even politics.

          2. Mark
            August 2, 2014

            Not that those who took Economics in PPE finals seem to have much of a better grasp – I believe they include Ed Balls and Ed Miliband.

          3. Hope
            August 2, 2014

            This debate should be about spending cuts as we were promised by Cameron/Osborne, not tax rises. We are all taxed too much. The services we receive are appalling and we do not get any bette treatment than those who parachute in to the World Free Health Service and disappear back to whence they came. Who was sacked of Staffordshire deaths? Any politician held to account? Disgusting.

    2. Richard1
      August 1, 2014

      Allistair Heaths article on EU financial regulation is a superb summary and very concerning. One thing we need to start to understand is whether and how we could get out of this sort of EU rule should we even leave the EU. Does Switzerland avoid all this crap,I’m not sure? It seems in any event to be necessary to take a very hard confrontational line with the big govt regulatory types who now dominate the EU whether we are staying in and renegotiating or getting out.

  3. Simon Stephenson
    August 1, 2014

    “Ms Harman was disarmingly honest when she recently told a radio interviewer that she thinks people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes.”

    Labour/Harman seem to be arguing that what was said was no more than a general defence of progressive taxation, in which the underlying principle is the the better off pay more tax than the less well-off. On the other hand, you and other Conservatives are interpreting her words as indicating, instead, that she supports the raising of tax levels on middle income earners from where they are now.

    So what, in the full context of the discussion, was actually said?

    1. Simon Stephenson
      August 1, 2014

      I’ve now found the transcript of this discussion, and what she said was:-

      “Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes.”

      but this is in the context of defending the value of public provision against a person complaining that he doesn’t get particularly good value from the State for the amount he has to contribute through his taxes. Harman seeks to persuade him that there are actually plenty of ways that middle income earners get value from the State – for example through health and education and the transport system. I think it pretty unmistakeable that her comment about tax levels was a general defence of progressive taxation, not an indication of support for increasing tax from where it is now.

      There’s not really much doubt, in my mind at least, that Harman and the rest of her Party would dearly love to increase tax levels – for middle earners, and for everyone else, for that matter. They are socialists, and they just don’t believe in the primacy of the private ownership of wealth. To them, the State is the boss, the State owns and controls all the wealth of society, and what is allowed to be in public hands is there for administrative purposes only, in the same way as parents dole out small amounts of pocket-money to their children – to allow all the trivial transactions of everyday life to take place without wasting the State’s time in the settlement of consideration.

      But, in my opinion, this isn’t what she intended to say, nor what she actually said.

      1. APL
        August 1, 2014

        Harman: “Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes.”

        I think the fraction of the working middle income working population* should contribute more through their taxes.

        *That excludes those in the public sector, since they don’t pay tax anyway. And it excludes Harriet Harman since she is funded exclusively from taxed income of the private sector.

        Harriet might have said off the record: – and anyway, I am expecting a huge pay rise after the next election – which I’ll deny all knowledge of because it was approved during this Parliament – and it’s irrelevant to the topic that I’ve been sponging off the tax payer since 1982.

        So I haven’t paid income tax in thirty two years.

        Ha Ha! You suckers!

  4. Margaret Brandreth-J
    August 1, 2014

    Can’t they leave the money we earn alone? It is not fair that we should pay for the ineptitude of others.

    Having balanced the books ,gone without holidays,big cars ,smoking , drinking and entertainment and much more ,to be landed with tax bills by those who throw away money like dishwater is unfair.

  5. Mick Anderson
    August 1, 2014

    After all those years of Labour in government, I was actually hoping that the rumours of the tax code being started again with a blank sheet of paper, and possibly even combining income tax and NI had some foundation. That and the “Great Repeal Bill” was what a Conservative government was meant to be about – balancing the more expensive lunacy of Labour.

    It’s all very well our patient host listing possible extra taxes that Labour are discussing, but in the great scheme or things it probably won’t make any difference whether or not these are ever applied. If it’s not this list, it will be another one – that applies to Conservative just as much as Labour. The net tax from the individual take only ever ratchets up, whether it’s something we feel now like NI and VAT, something deferred as with the taxes on pension funds, or an added expense on business that is passed on to the customers.

    We don’t trust the Labour Party with taxation because of what the shadow cabinet says, and history gives verisimilitude to our suspicions. However, Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron are no more deserving of our trust. Four years of coalition government looks exactly like four more years of Mr Brown, with a slightly less scary front-man. I don’t believe that this is down to coalition politics, but that it is what a Conservative majority government would have delivered anyway. There’s so little difference between the three parties that (from out here in the real world) the only obvious change has been the colour of the rosettes.

    PS. Wasn’t it a Conservative government that invented the “fuel duty escalator”?

  6. Richard Jenkins
    August 1, 2014

    Why is National Insurancee only described as a tax on jobs when Labour proposes increasing it? Why do Conservatives not call it a National Jobs Tax and propose reducing it? Including the employers’ contribution?

    1. lifelogic
      August 1, 2014

      Indeed that is exactly what they should have done 4 years ago had they been conservatives.

  7. Roy Grainger
    August 1, 2014

    Oh dear, all these new taxes, they will precipitate a cost of living crisis for hardworking families.

    The homes tax is particularly unfair – it is targeted at London and will particularly hit long-term residents of expensive areas who have seen the price of their property rise – there is no reason why someone who bought a cheap home in Fulham (say) 30 years ago should now be able to afford to pay £10,000 a year extra tax on it. Those people will now be forced to move out of the area or to smaller houses (it is a form of “bedroom tax” actually) and their expensive house will be bought by who exactly ? Foreign buyers, Russians ? So those communities are socially cleansed of long-term residents in order to get a trivial extra amount of tax revenue. Labour/Liberals like it only because it plays to the prevailing “punish the rich” agenda.

  8. Lifelogic
    August 1, 2014

    What is the proposed new tax on farms I missed that one?

  9. Mark B
    August 1, 2014

    Why do we need taxes in the first place ? And why do we need to tax people and business on so many things ? These simple questions are never asked, let a lone answered.

    It is not as if, once they have taken our money, earned with the sweat from our brow, that they go and use it wisely. Instead, it is wasted on pointless projects like the Millennium Dome. The London Eye (Millennium Wheel), which was funded by private enterprise, has become a iconic symbol of the London skyline and is privately run to this very day. ie No Government. And yet, more successful.

    So Ms. Harman MP wishes to indulge in the Lefts favorite game of wealth redistribution. They think, for some unfathomable reason, that others should pay more just because they have the temerity to want to work harder, get a better education and have better paid jobs. And that somehow, those that cannot be bothered to to do the same are somehow to be pitied and ‘helped’.

    Can these people not see, that by taking money, even from people with modest incomes, for that in the end will happen, that they are creating a situation where Government becomes a competitor to private enterprise and destroys wealth and the means of social progression.

    You do not have to look far to see the consequences of the above. With the advent of the EEA and the ‘Four Freedoms’, both people and capital can move to more favourable tax regimes ? Or is this there intention ? To force people to go elsewhere, and import lower wage and lower skilled people from which they, and their decedents, may ‘administer’.

    I think it would be more beneficial to her cause, if she picked up the phone and spoke to her ‘millionaire’ party leader. I am sure that being the man he is, a true Socialist, he would not hesitate in letting her have access too the entire contents of his personal wealth. In other words; “Practice that which you preach.”

    But they never do !

  10. Bazman
    August 1, 2014

    Flat taxes and VAT would hit the middle incomes very hard. Both of which the Tories are very enthusiastic about and for ranting fools, cuts in taxes are not self funding someone has to pay either by higher taxes in other areas or cuts in services. You will not pay tolls so do not talk about this nonsense unless you can prove it will be advantageous to all. Privatisation often just costs less by lowering the wages and conditions of the employees except the ones who receive remuneration instead, but is more expensive for the state.

    1. Edward2
      August 1, 2014

      You have still failed to grasp the simple fact Baz, that recent cuts in tax rates have resulted in increased revenues for the Treasury.
      Keeping capital gains tax at its current too high percentage rate has seen reduced revenues
      So “tax cuts” as you call them, can be more than self funding, they can result in an increase.

      1. Bazman
        August 1, 2014

        That’s not quite true is it Edward? A surge in tax paid which was deferred is the real answer. Where is all this saved tax being spent too, are chaps hiring more butlers instead of putting it away in tax havens? As if.

        1. Edward2
          August 3, 2014

          You still fail to realise Baz that more is being paid by the richest since the rate fell.
          Isnt that what you want?
          Or is it just a high percentage headline rate you need to ease your envy.

      2. Shade
        August 1, 2014

        As perfectly demonstrated by Ed Balls the other morning when talking about the rate cut to 45% which was followed immediately by an 80% increase in bankers bonuses thereby (according to Balls) giving rich bankers a huge tax reduction. The Today interviewer wasn’t bright enough to tell Balls that 45% of 180 brought in vastly more tax than 50% of 100. But that isn’t really the point for socialists is it?

        1. Bazman
          August 2, 2014

          It tells you perfectly about the state of welfare in Britain today and who the scroungers really are.

          1. Edward2
            August 3, 2014

            Odd “scroungers”..who now pay more tax into the Treasury coffers than ever before.
            Try managing without their tax Baz
            You and me would find ourselves paying a lot more.
            A tax on your file downloading perhaps?

  11. Ted Monbiot
    August 1, 2014

    It has always been accepted by economists that increasing taxes will dampen down an economy.
    In previous times Chancellors would make tax cuts in their budget statements to try to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
    Perhaps those who support the Labour party would explain what positive effect these proposed extra taxes are likely to have.

  12. Ian wragg
    August 1, 2014

    Liebor hate the middle class as they are the backbone of society. We don’t claim benefits and we don’t vote Labour. Stalin destroyed the middle class to impose communism and look what happened there. CMD is just as bad. What do you think of Cambridge university study in immigration. Another way of destroying society. Charlatans the lot of you

    1. Bazman
      August 1, 2014

      What about the middle class social security system and its claimants? Does not exist? Oh Really!

    2. APL
      August 3, 2014

      Ian Wragg: “Liebor hate the middle class as they are the backbone of society.”

      Liebor *ARE* the middle class.

      They just happen to be the fraction of the middle class that don’t pay any income tax by virtue of their employment retainment of public sector employment occupation.

      Bazman: “What about the middle class social security system and its claimants? ”

      Quite right Baz, but guess who would scream the loudest if the Tories tried to means-test child benefit – that’s right Labour.

      1. Bazman
        August 3, 2014

        So they should. Why pay more to means test. Chaps exist in the private sector on the whole a sector paid for by taxes.

        1. libertarian
          August 3, 2014

          Calling Bazman

          Please report to socialism 101 class for your reeducation process, you seem to have malfunctioned.

          1. Bazman
            August 4, 2014

            LOL! A private sector paid for by the state is not corporate welfare or socialism for the rich? The numskulls at the Daily Telegraph are still saying any taxes on bankers bonuses will drive them abroad. As if the crash did not even happen? Awarding honours to the man who crashed Northern Rock. That definitely needs re-education!

          2. Bazman
            August 5, 2014

            Where is your comment on the facts of this article. Libtard? I said the facts not the fact of who wrote it and which paper it is in.

          3. libertarian
            August 5, 2014

            Bazman I couldn’t agree more !!

            The Labour government shouldn’t have bailed out NR and other Banks, the Labour government shouldn’t have awarded honours to certain heads of those banks, the Labour government should never have nationalised private debt. I agree the private sector should never be paid for by taxpayers. Still thats socialism for you. Glad to see you’re finally waking up to the stupidity of socialist corpratism.

  13. Margaret Brandreth-J
    August 1, 2014

    What do we work and do without for ? For others to take the mick.

  14. alan jutson,
    August 1, 2014

    Increased taxation is simply the result of mismanagement.

    The sooner politicians learn that lesson the better.

    Most of us work because we want to provide for ourselves and our families, not for someone else’s.
    Yes of course we need taxation to help support those who cannot help themselves, and that is reasonable.
    What is not reasonable is for the government to take a larger percentage of our wealth and earnings than we get ourselves.

    Add up all of the various taxes, and you may find that far too many people are already working for the government, with far too many people also being paid to administer it.

    I really do wish politicians would stop trying to continually bribe the electorate with our own money.

  15. Richard1
    August 1, 2014

    At least Harriet Harman is honest about Labour’s real tax intentions. The reality is not only do Labour policians believe, erroneously, that if tax rates are raised receipts will rise, denying the Laffer effect, they also think high taxes are desirable in principle. This is because they think the higher the tax burden the more ‘equal’ and the ‘fairer’ society will be. Also they mistrust market mechanisms and believe politicians and bureaucrats are better at allocating economic resources then the people would be if the money was left in their pockets.

    On the Centre right we need to go on pointing out how disasterous Labour’s tax borrow and spend policies were in govt, both from 1997-2010 and when they were last in power in the 1970s. We need to go on pointing out that countries like Switzerland, Australia, Singapore etc manage higher growth and better public services with much lower taxes and without the need for deficit financing. And we need to remind the left that supposed socialistic economies such as Sweden are in fact radically different these days from the leftist nirvana imagined, and owe their relative recovery of recent years to measures such as tax cuts, privatizations and economic liberalization.

    In the end the good thing is the facts of life are Conservative, as Mrs Thatcher so wisely pointed out all those years ago.

  16. Alte Fritz
    August 1, 2014

    Labour has conceded that tax is largely voluntary for the seriously rich who are internationally mobile. The “normally” well off, the squeezed middle, and people on average or below average earnings are stuck. Labour knows they are stuck. So they will, given the opportunity, take as much as they like.

    Sadly, this government is giving HMRC powers to make Labour’s ambitions much easier to realise.

  17. lifelogic
    August 1, 2014

    I suppose a less charitable view of Cameron and Osborn is that they know how hugely damaging their tax borrow and waste, green crap, expensive energy, over regulation, over high taxes, pro EU GAAR, pension mugging etc. are but just think it helps them vin votes. But then Cameron could not even beat sitting duck Brown so it does not seem to work very well anyway.

    I wonder which it is? Ignorant of economics or just hugely cynical?

    1. Bazman
      August 3, 2014

      Green crap and expensive energy is regulated nuclear. Little to say we notice on this. Have you any access to information outside your deluded nonsense? No. It seems not…

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    August 1, 2014

    All those listed and no doubt many others could equally be considered and applied by your party. I certainly think that the three main parties in Westminster are fully signed up to tax, spend and waste. What happened to your promise on Inheritance tax? I know, the LibDems wouldn’t let you. Did they also stop Osborne from increasing the threshold? Your position on that tax is now worse than Labour’s was in 2010. You told after the forst budgets that the policy for deficit reduction was higher taxation not less spending, despite all the election promises. What are your leaders going to promise us next year and do you really expect us to believe them?

    Reply I regularly discuss government tax policy and have often explained its true impact and made recommendations for a lower tax rate policy. Today I wish for once to look at the other main offer on the table.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      August 1, 2014

      Reply to reply,
      My point is that your party is just as likely as Labour to implement some of the taxes in this “offer” and invent a few other stealth taxes of their own. The Conservative party cannot be considered a low tax party, but most definitely it is a high spend party which, amongst other reasons, is why so many of us will not vote for it.

  19. Graham
    August 1, 2014

    Doesn’t this just illustrate how poorly served we are by the political process in this country.

    The self serving nature of party before country will always ensure that the taxpayer is screwed and, of course, those who vote for the likes of Harman do so because they won’t have to pay most of these taxes

    Makes one despair.

  20. petermartin2001
    August 1, 2014

    The Conservative led coalition not so long ago raised VAT to 20% . The justification was that VAT receipts had fallen due to the downturn.

    So, what will happen when we have the next downturn? VAT going to 25%?

    Taxes, generally, are too high. If they were lower, people would have more spending power and the economy would expand creating more jobs. Instead of receiving benefits more people would end up paying taxes. So it wouldn’t actually cost anything to lower VAT!

  21. libertarian
    August 1, 2014

    Sadly despite telling us otherwise the Tories have also raised taxes.

    I’m afraid that the politicians solution to everything is to raise more tax. The socialists solution is to raise more tax. Right now inflation is mostly caused by the tax and duty costs levied by the government. The extortionately high house prices in South East are partly due to taxes and duties. The demise of the High Street is partly caused by the high UBR and the tax on parking

    Here’s an idea why not have a review of all the money you collect and STOP wasting most of it on the wrong things, vanity projects and interfering in stuff. How about NOT nationalising banks and their debts, how about not grand standing with vanity projects like HS2, how about stop bailing out European countries. What happened to the bonfire of Quango’s ? Still more than 1100 tax payer funded organisations, how about stop funding charities so that they can lobby government, how about cutting the size of government.

  22. Roger Farmer
    August 1, 2014

    Yes it does matter because as presently constructed it is little more than serfdom. To correct matters I suggest the following.

    Government spending to be cut by at least 50%. Let it concentrate on defence and policing of the home islands but with a rapid reaction force for outside threats. Education which despite Michael Gove’s groundwork, has a long way to go. Any country that fails to develop the intellect and talents of it’s young is insane. The NHS following the success of Hinchinbrooke where privatisation has shown the way. Abandon dogma for the sake of the patient. Create a ministry to curb the excesses of business who in some cases see the population as a milch cow in much the same way as Government do now. Cut all other ministries down to size or close them completely. Too much Government is a drag on enterprise.
    Lastly simplify the tax system. For corporations tax income created in this country wherever company headquarters are. For individuals an exemption to £15,000 and a flat rate of 30% from then on. No more IHT which is grave theft, and no more anything else that gets dreamt up by politicians. If you get out of political Europe at the same time then watch the economy explode and the money come rolling in.

  23. stred
    August 1, 2014

    Our tax gatherers tend to watch what others are doing and vice versa. Where joint taxation applies they invent another name for the tax so that both countries can collect it. Mr Millipede would be wise to look at the effect of a low level weath tax in France, where anyone with a big flat in Paris becomes a target. They have introduced 18 month tenancies for rented properties and a procedure to get them back which requires proof of need to sell. For companies the period is 3 years. As a result private rentals are a no go area. M.Holland is the least popular president ever and this is not because the French disapprove of his adventures on a scooter.

  24. oldtimer
    August 1, 2014

    These additional tax ideas reinforce Labour`s image (and reality) as a party of fiscal incontinence in parallel with its image (and reality) as a party of fiscal incompetence. They are not alone in this; the difference between them and the other parliamentary parties is but one of degree. That is why we are saddled with an inefficient tax system and a growing national debt.

    The reason they are paraded is to attempt to buy votes with other peoples` money. It works because the “haves”, as defined by their apparent ability to pay, are out numbered by the “have nots”.

    These taxes tend not to work as advertised because the people targeted seek and often find ways avoid the worst of the excesses – as you have illustrated in your recent accounts of tax revenue shortfalls. These failures to raise taxes on incomes may well be the reason why more attention is being focussed on the taxation of assets.

    It is counter productive because, as you point out, they are taxes on aspiration, hard work, achievement and prudence; to which might be added savings, investment and wealth creation. Such is the state of the nation.

  25. Alan Wheatley
    August 1, 2014

    This tax tweaking is symptomatic of a bigger national malaise. That is, that the State knows best in all things and should take ever wider and finer control of people’s lives as to what they must do, and to “adjust” the outcome where that does not fit the socialist ideal. A slippery slope to disaster.

  26. Kenneth
    August 1, 2014

    We have a problem where the gap between rich and poor is increasing. Free markets prevent too much capital being accumulated by one person or organisation through competition.

    Nearly every state intervention in markets – including complicated and numerous taxes – adds to the rich and takes from the poor.

    If Harriet Harman gets her way this gap will widen.

  27. Mark
    August 1, 2014

    Read my lips….

  28. lifelogic
    August 1, 2014

    Now we all to have driverless cars who will pay the fine when they put a wheel into a box junction or bus lane. And if there is is some detritus in the road who will get out to move it. Or will the car just stop and block the road for hours. Will they be allowed to have no passengers returning from say a drop off at the station. Sounds like we are not quite there yet to me. Perhaps more distraction politics?

    1. Mark
      August 2, 2014

      They will have an automated email reply to the traffic officers that includes photographic evidence that the ticket was wrongly issued (automated vehicles never make such basic mistakes). Equally they will be able to show that the other driver was in the wrong in the event of any accident. In the event of road blockage they will summon emergency services and advise other traffic to avoid the route. More to the point, the EU are planning to make it compulsory to install equipment that does most of this, including monitoring your location and bad driving habits, even in non-automated cars:

    2. Mark
      August 2, 2014

      They will have an automated email reply to the traffic officers that includes photographic evidence that the ticket was wrongly issued (automated vehicles never make such basic mistakes). Equally they will be able to show that the other driver was in the wrong in the event of any accident. In the event of road blockage they will summon emergency services and advise other traffic to avoid the route. More to the point, the EU are planning to make it compulsory to install equipment that does most of this, including monitoring your location and bad driving habits, even in non-automated cars, as noted by the Bigbrotherwatch website.

  29. Bert Young
    August 1, 2014

    Piling on the taxes has only one result – it reduces revenue and demoralises investment . The Robin Hood mentality is very understandable but wrong in its outcome ; effort and reward is deeply ingrained in human nature and will always be recognised ; the ” something for nothing ” attitude is despised and will always be rejected . A good workman will always be used again and be recommended to others ; wasters fall by the wayside . Those who create the tax system should be more aware of human psychology and have a much better understanding of the bottom line .

  30. Vanessa
    August 1, 2014

    It looks like a recipe to shut down Britain !

  31. Anonymous
    August 1, 2014

    Ms Harman is also being truthful. A rare thing these, days.

    The un-restructured way in which Britain is run – the increasing national debt, the windfarms, the foreign aid, the £55k a year benefit claimants (and those still living better than workers below the £26k a year radar), the free for all (except us) NHS, the 5bn in-work benefits to migrants, the free for all (except us) education system… all of this has to be paid for, somehow, by someone.

    Not by those earning too low to be taxed. Not by those rich enough to pay the best accountants and take themselves beyond viable pursuance. So who else but the squeezed and targetable middle ?

    How can we cut tax ?

    1. Anonymous
      August 1, 2014

      HOW can we cut tax ?

      Those in the middle. Harman is right. There’s no-one else who can do it.

  32. Max Dunbar
    August 1, 2014

    I am sorry to say that Neil Craig, a fellow Glaswegian who contributed to this blog on a regular basis, died recently aged 59.

    1. Margaret Brandreth-J
      August 1, 2014

      Condolences to his family and friends.

    2. alan jutson,
      August 1, 2014


      Sorry to hear that news at such an age, condolences to his family and friends.

    3. Bryan
      August 1, 2014

      Sad news.

      My condolences to his family.

    4. David Price
      August 2, 2014

      Sorry to hear this, I liked his blog particularly the techie and anti-warmist articles. My condolences.

    5. APL
      August 2, 2014

      Max Dunbar: “I am sorry to say that Neil Craig .. ”

      And I am sorry to hear it. His ‘A place to Stand’ was an excellent blog.

    6. Mark B
      August 3, 2014

      Very sad news, and at such an age. My condolences to his family.

  33. sm
    August 1, 2014

    I’ve a much more efficient suggestion: scrap all the taxes, the credits, the benefits and the allowances, then send everyone’s earnings straight to the Treasury, who then – via the DSS or whatever it calls itself this week – every individual gets paid a ‘living wage’ as defined by the Government of the day, which would of course be tremendously ‘fair’…..oh hang on, something is wafting around in the back of my mind about ‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs’….yes, that worked tremendously well, didn’t it Ms Harman?

  34. Tony Watts
    August 1, 2014

    The idea that the productive people of this country should pay taxes is universally excepted. The idea that government can continually add to this burden is however very unacceptable.
    If all of government expenditure has to raised by some form of taxes then it should be a requirement that such costs should be minimised as much as possible to ease tax on the individual. Therefore if we have insufficient revenue then the first thought should be “what can we do without” or “where can we economise” rather than “ I know lets increase taxes”.
    If you include all taxes then tax payers are losing more than half their income to pay for the upkeep of the country, is this fair?

  35. matthu
    August 1, 2014

    One might argue that a death tax at a suitably low level is fairer than freezing the inheritance tax threshold.

    Especially when the government gives every appearance of stoking the value of housing (should that be the cost of housing? the value stays more or less constant) to allow fiscal drag to punish quite moderately responsible savers.

    Unless you are rich enough to be able to afford accountants and tax specialists to allow you to do the tax planning and comply with the 80-page tax forms, all semblance of earned wealth is confiscated long before it passes on to the next generation.

  36. JoeSoap
    August 1, 2014

    They would say that – their clients are net recipients. Your party are supposed to represent the net contributors and they screw us too.
    I know I have paid far more tax in the last 4 years than the previous 4. Your record these past 4 years is nothing to crow about.

  37. They Work for Us
    August 1, 2014

    Modern Politics seems the all about the concept of fairness.
    If a death tax is introduced to pay for care then everyone when they need a care home should receive a voucher set at the care cost negotiated with a range of local providers by the local authority.
    Those with more means could choose to top up the voucher to get different/ better care as a reward for saving rather than spending.
    At the moment you would no doubt be paying more than twice.
    Once for the death tax
    Once for the care home charge that you would be expected to pay all yourself, which would be set at a higher level than the local authority rate to subsidise local authority recipients with no extra means.
    Each new tax seems to be a new swindle.

  38. a-tracy
    August 1, 2014

    Dear John, how can you, the Conservatives have done more to tax the English Middle classes than any other party, our children, and only our children in the Union have £9000 tuition fees which is basically a 9% graduate tax on their earnings for life and if they even attempted to take more the whole thing would just collapse, it’s a joke on their conservative supporting English parents and we’ve had enough.

    1. JoeSoap
      August 1, 2014

      Interesting to see what will happen if interest rates go up.

      Middle earner 51% tax and NI
      9% student loan
      5% NEST

      Mortgage up from 3% of 4 x income i.e. 12% of income to 7% i.e. 28% of income
      So 7% of income left for
      Rates, heating, food, travel……

  39. behindthefrogs
    August 1, 2014

    I amin favour of something approaching a mansion tax. Preferably this should be done by introducing two or three higher bands of council tax. This has a justification that it puts pressure on foreign purchasers of high value houses, which they don’t occupy purely as an investment. I would back this up with changing the discount for single occupancy to a fixed discount for all bands equivalent to the current discount for band C. I would also increase the council tax on unoccupied property and second homes.

    However I would use the money raised to reduce the council tax on bands A to C. This would reduce the cost of home ownership for low earners.

  40. Demetrius
    August 1, 2014

    It is crude politics. They are hoping that those who can avoid or not be liable for much in the way of taxes will greatly out number the others hence delivering Labour a majority. The real question is what would a Labour government actually do when in office. My guess is not optimistic for either the economy or those who do real work.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    August 1, 2014

    We can be sure that Labour will not strive to cut public expenditure, yet they need to be financially responsible, so they will have to raise taxes to over 40% of GDP.

    Labour likes National Insurance – from both employers and employees – because it yields revenue without being high profile. Labour also likes income tax. Expect the 45% to be raised to 50% until it has been proved to be counterproductive. Expect little change in the threshold at which the 40% rate kicks in. And expect a new income tax band – something like a 25% rate on incomes between £20,000 and the 40% threshold.

  42. Atlas
    August 1, 2014

    … Is there something in Labour’s DNA that says when you have failed with a policy then just do more of the same?

    It’s a bit like the EU – no matter what does not work, ‘more of the same’ is still rolled out to solve the problem.

  43. ian
    August 1, 2014

    Who ever win the next election, tax”s will go up and the deficit will not go down below 25 billion pounds a year over the next 5 years.We are still running a deficit of over 120 billion a year if you add in PPI. This is a depression, growth over the last five years is about 7 to 8 percent if you take out inflation of 13 to 15 per cent your 5 to 7 percent down on growth in the last 5 year and that on government figures. Real inflation is a lot higher, that”s why your earning are going down. What you see is asset price inflation on the GDP figures it is not growth. This year if they get 3.5 percent growth take away inflation of 2 percent that only 1.5 percent growth,if you take away real inflation no growth.

    There has been go growth since the year 2000, after the dot com bust they not been able to recover from that, without migrants they would gone under, that”s why we had so many in a short amount of time, that”s why it will never stop it their best tool in the tool box even UKIP

    War in the middle east is about keeping the oil price high if oil falls below 88 dollars for more than 3 months oil tar sands will have to shut down also fracking In 2009 in usa when fracking started big time fuel was 2.20 dollars a gallon now it 4 dollars a gallon. When fracking start here petrol will go up. For fracking you need oil price to be about 115 dollars to make it pay.

    1. Kenneth R Moore
      August 1, 2014

      ‘Growth’ has been engineered by the treasury and bank of England distorting the markets with IOU’s, printed money and large dollops of borrowed money.
      All the professional pundits wondering why the Conservatives aren’t receiving any credit for the ‘recovery’ should pay more attention to what has been going on.

      Professor Redwood with his banking background really should write a full article about this but I doubt he would be willing to admit that the ‘recovery’ isn’t really a recovery atall. It’s just all hot air and fiddled figures designed to cover up the truth (the Uk economy has been trashed by incompetents). It’s too politically sensitive.

      Migrants increase GDP but lower per capita GDP so migration just makes us poorer but helps politicians who are fixated by net GDP.

      1. Mark B
        August 3, 2014

        He is not going to rock the boat this close to a GE.

    2. ian wragg
      August 1, 2014

      Tell me Ian, why has immigration been the best tool in the box. Obviously you are one from your dialect but believe me, flooding the country with cheap labour, depressing wages, overloading schools, hospitals and the transport network has been of NO benefit to me.
      Tax receipts are down on 2007 because lower wages result in lower taxes.
      You are talking rubbish as usual.

  44. benjamin
    August 1, 2014

    I’m afraid Mr Redwood is guilty of dishonesty. In his list, they all penalise work, effort and enterprise except one.

    It’s not the size of the State per se, that that has the biggest effect on GDP, but how and where the State gets it’s revenue. Those with ideological blinkers really don’t want to think about this.

    Economists who have calculated this say that the total deadweight losses from taxation and capitalised land rents stand at 48% GDP. Which means are losing £700bn per in lost economic activity.

    So, without even lowering spending, a shift from “taxing” private income and wealth to collecting the value the State(all of us) creates i.e land rents would expand our economy by this amount.

    By doing so, State spending as a % of GDP falls to <25%.

    And, what's really good, is this also puts a moral cap on State spending. So, only the wealth we create together pays for the services we share together.

    Only fake-Capitalists and Socialists, for their own perverse reasons, don't want to see this happen.

  45. Tad Davison
    August 1, 2014

    I did want to have a shot at Labour’s tax plans, but as this place is becoming a joke, with gamers allowed to freely more or less assume another person’s identity, what’s the point?

    The real Tad Davison


    1. Mark
      August 2, 2014

      I think the other commenter is call Ted, not Tad.

    2. Margaret Brandreth-J
      August 2, 2014

      I worked in charge of a bay at MRI.We were handing over our individual patients to the next shift. I said that my patient in bed 5 was bleeding from his catheter. Another Nurse said you mean my patient in bed 5 is bleeding from his catheter.Another said no it isn’t bed 5 it is my bay and it is bed 6.

      The answer is obvious; 3 different patients in 3 separate bays had similar symptoms.

  46. Iain Gill
    August 1, 2014

    Basically we need a massive simplification of the tax system, which will reduce the cost of administering it. We need the politicians to get out of social engineering using the tax system, and their constant tweaks and wheezes to move the goalposts and to advance their latest politically correct cause. We need simple easily understandable taxes, with flat percentages where ever possible.
    Re Death Tax we are already taxing the prudent by using the equity in their property or savings to pay for old age care that the feckless get for free, completely the wrong incentives that puts in the system.
    Homes or mansion tax? Housing is already the most politically manipulated market in the country. We need to remove all the many and various manipulations of the market by the state, not add more.
    Re “higher rate of Corporation Tax on business.” You could start by making the multi nationals structuring their layers of companies to avoid tax here pay at least as much tax as a straightforward tax paying British business.
    Re “a Graduate Tax” what and encourage more of our best talent to move abroad and avoid it?
    Cut public spending, cut the size of the public sector workforce, give citizens buying power, simplify tax system, surely these are sensible Conservative messages?
    A tax on farms? What while subsidising them at the same time? Wouldn’t it be easier to reduce the subsidy? Or are we in another take with one hand give with another state job creation exercise?

  47. Bazman
    August 1, 2014

    Where are all the supporters of a flat tax that the Tories are so keen on?

    1. Bazman
      August 2, 2014

      We need an answer from The Tories who look on this site. Saying nothing will not help you. As and when for fat fools.

      1. Edward2
        August 3, 2014

        You want less loopholes and get out of paying schemes and this what a flat tax system would bring.
        It wouldn’t start at zero income just as the current system has tax free pay.
        If it brought in more revenue from the wealthier in society than the current system would you still be against it?

        PS Why the descent to abuse, calling for responses then labelling anyone who dares to as “fat fools”
        Do you have issues?

        1. Bazman
          August 3, 2014

          A flat tax system allows those at the bottom to pay less as well as those at the top, the middle make up the difference, Cannot be any other way Its maths.
          It’s useful in countries like Russia where people will go to absurd and often dangerous lengths to avoid paying any taxes. It is not like that here. Carrier bags and bin liners are not a monetary measure, except maybe in drug dealing and money laundering on an industrial scale. You would not buy a house for ‘cash’ Nor could you.
          As only you have challenged this truth and the rest are very quiet about flat taxes what does that tell you.

          1. Edward2
            August 3, 2014

            You are assuming no change of behaviour after the introduction of a flat tax.
            Proponents of a flat tax feel that revenues from the better off would rise, but it is unproven.
            One hint is the change of behaviour of wealthier French people faced with higher tax rates at home who have decided to come to the UK to save money.
            As they are allowed to do under EU law.
            Their changed behaviour has helped tax revenues from the wealthiest rise recently in the UK.
            I’m not sure if you feel this is a good thing or should be aloowed or not Baz?
            Perhaps you could check with Marx and let us all know.

          2. libertarian
            August 3, 2014


            If its only maths as you assert you would need to take account of the whole equation. 1 of the major benefits of flat tax is there are NO loopholes, legal avoidance schemes or other ways of not paying tax that aren’t a criminal offence. So in fact the difference is made up and in fact surpassed because ALL tax is paid rather than some being avoided altogether. Everyone benefits from a flat tax except the politicians. Under a flat tax regime they can’t introduce stealth taxes or give with one hand and take more back with another

          3. Bazman
            August 4, 2014

            To simple in a modern society. It will be expensive for the middle earners so will they pay more or will services be cut. Which one? There is no third unless you increase regressive VAT which in Europe is lower. Regressive taxation is no way to run a country. Which countries have flat taxes by the way? Russia? Says it all. We are to run our tax system on a Russian basis. What else could we run like them and these countries?

      2. libertarian
        August 3, 2014


        I could give you an answer on flat taxes, but you asked to hear only from Tories and as I’m not a Tory I can’t reply to you question. Which is a shame as you would have received some much needed free education.

        Is this personal abuse directed at anyone who disagrees with you official Labour Party Policy ?

        1. Bazman
          August 4, 2014

          You can’t give an answer that will stand up, so this is why you have wrote this.

          1. Ted Monbiot
            August 4, 2014

            Err… see above.

          2. libertarian
            August 4, 2014

            “You can’t give an answer that will stand up, so this is why you have wrote this.”


            You can’t read ? You certainly can’t do grammar WRITTEN not wrote 3/10 Try harder

        2. Bazman
          August 5, 2014

          Still not answered have we and are now correcting grammar and spelling on a political site a sign of no ideas. Maybe you could also call for more ghetto taxes on top of flat taxes just to make it truly regressive and incentive the poor further?

          1. Ted Monbiot
            August 5, 2014

            Just admit you don’t like flat taxes Baz
            Its OK you are entitled to your opinion.
            Just as others are to theirs.
            It all part of democracy.

          2. libertarian
            August 5, 2014


            Maybe you should try actually reading the thread? I did answer.

            Do try and a least pay attention. I know you struggle with difficult concepts like money but give it a go.

            I don’t think you have the remotest idea of what a flat tax is. Why would I call for any other tax of any kind ? (etc ed)

            The lowest earners should pay no tax at all. everyone else should pay at 30%. Thats it . It means the wealthier people pay more and the poorest pay nothing and yes wastage in public spending should be drastically cut. See simple.

            No loopholes, no avoidance, tax revenues go up, every one is happy.

          3. Bazman
            August 6, 2014

            The middle pays 30%? A bit of rise for them isn’t it even using your figures. The rich will pay 30 % too/ As if. what mak4e s you assume they will not avoid like they do now. No loopholes? Might be more..See which countries have a flat tax system and ask yourself why they have it. Russia? You admire this system?

  48. ian
    August 1, 2014

    All politician and political parties are looking at house price inflation at 8 to 10 percent a year so you feel richer and will borrow more money or spend more money. Government interest rates will not rise above 3 percent till 2018 if a tall, that”s if they do not crash in the mean time. If house price do rise more from hear say about another 50% to 60% with the oversea buys and migrants coming in when they crash next time by 80 to 90 percent they will not bounce back because the experiment of QE will have come to an end Fracking is the other tool they will use because it employs a lot of people and pays a lot of tax like NI and income tax. Most wages in fracking will be over 1000 to 2000 a week that”s why you need high oil prices.

  49. AuntyEstab
    August 1, 2014

    Seem to remember something about Mr Redwood returning a lot of the Welsh budget to the treasury unspent when he was secretary for Wales, pity we don’t have cabinet ministers like that now there wouldn’t be any need for so much tax.

  50. The PrangWizard
    August 1, 2014

    Can we have some really trenchant criticism of your own party’s attitudes and policies in government first please, attacking Labour isn’t working at least for me, and many more it seems. But I’m certain that no matter what your party does or doesn’t do on almost any subject, and no matter what is said here you would be urging us all to vote Conservative regardless. I’d love to be ‘a fly on the wall’ when you discuss our contributions.

    I was a Conservative, rather unthinkingly most of the time, because my instinct is to support capitalism and freedom of the individual and to oppose Socialism, but no more, I don’t see much of my views reflected in the Conservative party, which is just as wedded to the big State as Labour. I will thus never vote Tory and Unionist again, and it doesn’t matter how much you try to frighten me over it. And I have rejected my allegiance to your Union and its flag, so a Unionist party can never be a party for me. And of course that naturally means UKIP is off the menu too which is just as much a Unionist party as the Tories and shares its view that England should not have a parliament.

    The Conservative and Unionists and the British Establishment in general have turned me into a kind of grey revolutionary. I want an end to the Union, and an independent England, so we can break up the whole corrupt and complacent club. I won’t see anything like it in my lifetime but I hope it comes about one day, and I don’t much care how.

  51. MikeP
    August 1, 2014

    First and foremost the voting public need greater transparency on what level of tax is required – and proposed in future – to meet the needs of the State, I think they’d be amazed at how this has increased over the years and the breakdown of how it’s spent. It might also be instructive to compare numbers over Labour and Conservative administrations.

    It should be a guiding principle of the Tory manifesto to point out how and where expenditure can and must be reduced, starting with the number of MPs and hangers-on, a radical shake-down of all the Central London ministries who by definition are “back-room” rather than “front office” and other support staff around the country in local government or regional central departments. To balance against this further wave of austerity you should make a commitment to make good the freeze on wages of public sector front line staff but at the same time push for further headcount reductions in their immediate support teams

    Next you must show concrete evidence of having reduced public expenditure in the Coalition, as I understand that it’s barely gone down at all because of (a) interest on our debt, (b) musical chairs in ministries who have been asked to cut their costs but just cut one post and create another in its place, and (c) inflation.

    As regards new taxes you mention
    1 – Death tax, what happened to Andrew Lansley’s idea of having a sort of insurance policy to pay for care, taken out with a lump sum on retirement or paid throughout your working life ?
    2a I don’t instinctly like the idea of a mansion tax as it penalises hard work (the UK dream like the American dream) but since many mansions are bought through inherited wealth or overseas earnings, it does have an appeal in trying to close the huge gap between rich and poor and bring down the ridiculous profits made on these properties where ruses are employed to avoid CGT.
    2b as an adjunct to a mansions tax you should sort our the stamp duty bands. My three children have all had to pay ludicrous amounts for start homes in the Reading area, they couldn’t afford new houses at all in Wokingham, great !
    3 Corporation tax can’t be materially higher than our main competitors or it will drive away big global corporations
    4 Graduate tax – I thought that we already had one in effect through the way that student loans have to be repaid once graduates achieve a certain level of income. I think this is currently fair
    5 NI – it is a tax on jobs so leave it alone and don’t risk the political fallout of merging it with Income Tax as I think NI serves a purpose in being something people are prepared to tolerate as they “think” it gives them their pension and the NHS
    6 Fuel – yes we should continue to increase fuel duty but also introduce motorway tolls (or new toll roads) and have a carnet system for overseas lorries. All of these to stem the increased levels of traffic congestion or if it’s inevitable at least bring in more tax to repair the roads
    7 Farms – can’t see why they should be singled out given the topsy-turvy weather and EU bureaucracy they’re having to cope with

    Further thoughts:
    Having mentioned CGT above, I can’t see why this couldn’t be increased if more revenue is required, as it is more likely to become a tax on the richer end of society and we must be seen to try to close the gap between rich a poor
    We should also close the current and well-used loophole on taxation of dividends where a company pays only notional tax, ie none at all, on these so many self-employed folk go to limited company status so they can reduce their tax bill by paying themselves in dividends. Done it myself, as has my son but I don’t think it’s fair on everyone else.
    Lower the 45% rate threshold so that anyone earning more than £100k pays the highest rate, not those above £150k. But this would then allow you to introduce another band at £200k to have say a 47% rate to show that you’re not protecting “the rich”
    Overall the tax system must be much more progressive than it is at present so that it is clear to everyone, using some well chosen easy and realistic examples that the more you earn the more tax you pay and that you’ve got to be on say £60k+ to be hit with any material increases in taxation and be better off if you’re on less than £25k.

  52. Richard
    August 2, 2014

    “Ms Harman was disarmingly honest when she recently told a radio interviewer that she thinks people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes.”

    Did she mean :

    People on middle incomes should contribute more as they do now or more than than they do now ?

    Anyway, with the UK national debt having increased by 80% from 2010 to 2015 (£0.76 to £1.36 trillion) there will surely need to be more taxes whichever party is in power unless there really will be dramatic cut backs in government spending or massive amounts of money printing.

    The government will not be able to tax further either multinational companies or the very rich and the poor are not being taxed at all.

    So further income from taxes can only come from those on middle incomes and those with savings.

    My guess is that there will have to be an attack on savings, and, if the financial position gets critical, then we can expect the confiscation of savings as already demonstrated in the EU’s trial run in Cyprus.

    The mansion tax is the start of these wealth taxes.

    1. APL
      August 3, 2014

      Richard: ” then we can expect the confiscation of savings as already demonstrated in the EU’s trial run in Cyprus.”


      ISAs first – since the government knows where they are. ISAs were targeted by Labour during its last period in office.

      Then Private pensions – it’s only fair that the public sector should share in the wealth of the country.

      Two of the juiciest plums on the private sector economic tree.

      And while the government refuses to cut spending, confiscation of private assets will stave off the disaster for a year or so, and we’ll be faced with disaster anyway, but everyone will be poorer and less able to manage.

  53. Bazman
    August 2, 2014

    How do, sorry does! Flat taxes and the middle class social security system fit into conservative dead beat ideas. Well!?

    1. Edward2
      August 3, 2014

      Well what?
      Why don’t you write some posts showing us all your fantastic ideas for the perfect nation.
      Maybe your ideas would be so well received they would be supported, taken up by politicians and become vote winners Baz.

    2. libertarian
      August 3, 2014

      Oh dear Bazzy you are losing your already tenuous grasp on reality. The Conservatives DO NOT believe in flat taxes ( thats why the tories keep raising them ) so it doesn’t fit into their ideas.

      You may as well ask how does raising Bankers Bonuses and paying them millions out of tax payers money fit into Labour Party ideas?

  54. a-tracy
    August 5, 2014

    Can I ask a question and look at this another way around. When taxes take more income and people have to cut their cloth accordingly they look at expenditure, they try to do more with less, shop at Aldi instead of Tesco, shop at Primark instead of Next or Vintage (second hand chic) instead of department stores. When the government put all the onus on reporting PAYE onto employers and used modern technology to take the information on a monthly basis what savings in staff costs did this make? What savings in the national statistics office were achieved when forms were no longer required to be sent out to be filled in? There must have been massive reductions in the number of employees annually.

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