A tax cutting agenda

 

Throughout this Parliament I have argued the case of tax cuts for all. I have argued for tax cuts for most people so they pay less tax, as one of the best ways to help rising living standards. I have argued for tax rate cuts for the rich so they stay and pay more tax. So how have I got on?

Big increases in the tax threshold for Income Tax.  Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have made this their central tax cut by mutual agreement. It has allowed many people to keep more of their income.

Reduced fuel duty. The abolition of Labour’s fuel duty escalator has meant cheaper petrol and diesel through a period when the very high taxes added to high oil prices have made this a major strain on budgets. Robert Halfon led this successful campaign which I supported.

Stamp Duty. I successfully argued to get rid of the slab approach, converting it into only paying the higher rate over the threshold. I did not argue for the higher rates also adopted. However, everyone buying a house under £937,000 will be better off.

Capital Gains. I urged resisting the Liberal democrat idea of 40% CGT as this would have stopped many transactions and cost revenue. I did not agree with putting the rate up from 18% to 28%, which also lost revenue to a lesser extent than the Lib Dem proposal.

40% Tax threshold.  I was one of a group who urged that we start to raise the threshold before people have to pay 40% tax on their income. The Chancellor made a start in the latest Autumn Statement, and Conservatives are pledged to raise the threshold to £50,000 over the next Parliament.

The top rate of Income tax. I have urged reduction to the Labour rate of 40%. The government with the reluctant agreement of the  Lib Dems has now cut it from 50% to 45% which will bring in more revenue. The 50% rate lost us tax revenue.

 

 

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97 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Cutting taxation is always seen as a good thing by many. The trouble is, what to cut ? To me, the major problem with taxation, is that it is just too complicated. With so many varying degrees of taxation, types of taxation, including duties, and various tax reliefs.

    Would it therefore not be simpler, to ask questions about taxation, not in terms of how much, but why ? Why do you need to place a tax or duty on something ?

    Why do we have separate employers and employees NIC ? It may not be considered a tax or duty, but it is still a cost.

    Simplification and rationalisation is, in my view, a better approach.

    Further. I do not get a say as to what, and how much, I have to contribute to the level of taxation imposed upon me by Parliament. Parliament has exclusive rights to levy any charge in any way it sees fit, and can impose any sanction against me including the loss of my liberty if I refuse or cannot comply. This is irrespective of which party I vote for or what policies and promises they have made.

    We lost a colony because people were being taxed by a remote and thoughtless Parliament. Today, thanks to the EU and other bodies, we are borrowing large amounts of money, either to give to other nations or, to big business. I do not seem to remember ever being asked about this, yet, the Government, backed by Parliament, just waves such measures through. This needs to change. It is the business of Government to look after the interests of the nation state. And it beholden on Parliament, the legislator, to hold them to account.

    You, our so called Government, has lost your way, and the matter of taxation and spending highlights this.

    • Hope
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Well said. This blog is purely party political broadcast by JR. He has forgotten the 509 tax rises highlighted and named by Guido. He also forgets the tax rises are the only way the Tory party has made a slight dent in the deficit. Had Osborne kept his promise of 80 percent spending cuts and 20 percent tax rises perhaps we all could have helped the economy by spending our money how we wanted rather than it being wasted on overseas aid, expensive energy, expensive water, expensive food and the EU. How about the tax increase to pensions, has Osborne followed Brown’s lead on this? People need to work longer because the Tory party has continued to muck up the economy- big spend, big waste, big taxes and big give aways to undeserving foreign bodies.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Hope–There is something in what you say but the main reason people will have to work longer is I think very obviously the fact that they are increasingly living much much longer.

        • Hope
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          No, I disagree. The main reason is that there is More older people living longer because of the inflated growth in population through mass immogration. It is a play on words, it is not simply people are living longer perse, as the population growth from British people would not cause this economic problem as the indigenous population are having much smaller families than they did in our history.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and yes Osborne has indeed followed on from Brown’s mugging of private sector pensions by reducing the cap further and the contribution limits and tightening the rules. The MP’s pension (on the other hand) remains one of the best ones going anywhere.

        It is spending that matters if the government spend the money they will have to borrow it or extract it from the productive one way or the other is it extracted.

        There is a vast amount of waste that could be cut. Whole departments doing nothing of any real use, HS2/3/4 Mars trips, all the expensive energy green crap subsidies, wars, daft degrees, poor schools, an incompetent NHS, endless pointless drivel and over regulation all over the place.

      • William Gruff
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Hope

        The Conservative and Unionist Party is mired in filth and in thrall to global corporate and other interests. Whatever it does, it will do nothing in our interest. The other parties are no better.

        The Great British Public will continue to vote for them however, and to complain that nothing changes when nothing changes, except that conditions deteriorate further.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Taxation is as old as time, but the old understanding was that you pay taxes in order that the person or people you were paying it to used those taxes to improve your life and environment, not to give it to someone else or to enrich themselves.

      If I’m right, a similar situation occurred around 1200AD (that’s AD, not CE) which led to a little thing called the Magna Carta. Oh sorry, that’s just a piece of paper that – in spite of the fact that it shaped our country’s laws for over 800 years – is no longer relevant now we have computers and utterly arrogant clueless dictatorial MPs.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it should be like a service charge for services delivered by the state sector such as defence, police, law and order, roads. So little of any real value is actually delivered now.

        It has now become essentially just government theft in essence. This because governments like pissing other peoples’ money down the drain, spending on themselves, funding propaganda, pointless wars, pointless grand projects, trying to buy votes and augmenting the feckless in the process.

    • Vanessa
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      MarkB I agree. Our democracy is non-existent and needs to be given back to us, the people. I read over the weekend that this government is wanting to repeal the Magna Carta and also our English Bill of Rights because they are very old and outdated. This is nonsense. I don’t hear of anyone wanting to repeal the Bible ? These rights and freedoms are our birth-right and no government should dare tamper with them.

      We should have enshrined in law referenda on all things important, similar to Switzerland. That would engage people in politics and give us the power back to allow governments to pass laws we agree with and no others.

      • William Gruff
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Vanessa:

        Our democracy is non-existent and needs to be given back to us, the people.

        We don’t live in a ‘democracy’ and never have, and if we want ‘democracy’, however we conceive of it, we must make it, it is not in the gift of the ruling elite. I’d rather speak of freedom and liberty, and those are our natural right, not to be given or taken by anyone.

        We’ll have whatever we think of as ‘democracy’ when sufficient people start to think for themselves and work for it.

        • libertarian
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          William Gruff

          Agree 100% we have never had a real democracy.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I have to agree with this.

      Until I see the Government and local councils spending my tax contribution wisely and getting good value for money, especially giving away BORROWED money to third world countries the EU and not ensuring that foreign aid goes to the actual people that need it. I will use every legal method to minimize the tax that I pay…

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention giving it away to charities!

        Earlier this week, I watched an advert for a charity asking for the public to donate monies. The charity was for a worthy cause however, what struck me was in the small print shown at the bottom of the screen;
        “The UK government will match each Pound donated up to Five Million Pounds.”

        This is wrong at so many levels, firstly, the government does not have its own money, only that which it extorts from the people.
        If people want to give to a charity, they will and they do not want to be forced to give to charities via the tax system over which they have no choice nor control.

        I have said it before, but too many politicians in elevated positions, behave like giddy aunts at a wedding with a giant box of confetti in relation to the nation’s financies.

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          cliff

          Aagree with your points.

    • Chris
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Mark. The whole concept of taxation/its purpose seems to have been distorted in order to feed into and sustain the Brussels machine, corporate bodies, NGOs, and overseas aid. What has happened to looking after the people of our sovereign nation?

    • APL
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Mark B: “The trouble is, what to cut ?”

      You could start off with the *whole* of the government funded ‘third sector’, all the chief executives of which are nothing more than licensed highwaymen. Holding up the public purse for private gain.

      The charitable sector, should revert back to private subscription and or donation.

      The whole sector is a huge organised scam, from the street hawkers who are paid for each standing order they extort out of some hapless passerby, right up to the top and the afore mentioned chief execs.

  2. Mick Anderson
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I see the extortionate tax rates as a symptom, rather than the root of the problem. The clue is in the deficit.

    Politicians believe that spraying money about is popular, and it is almost entirely painless for them to spend almost unlimited amounts of other peoples money. An inconvenient election once every five years is not a good enough feedback system to rein them in, especially when all the other politicians who might be returned to power suffer from exactly the same insanity. It’s TAXPAYERS money, not politicians money; that’s a massive clue….

    Most of the money being spent does no good; much actively harms the Country (cue LifeLogic). You can see from the recent warped auction from Mr Osborne and Mr Balls about NHS commitments how they only thing they want to do is spend yet more. Massive amounts can be saved either by stopping funding what we don’t want or need, and running the things we do need more efficiently. Consider the changes to VED – the sensible thing to do would be to abolish it, making up any difference in revenue with a few pence on a litre of fuel. Instead, they wasted more money with yet another new computer system so we can simply avoid having a small disc of paper in the windscreen.

    We need politicians who are serious about not spending money. Once the money isn’t being spent, the deficit will naturally fall back to surplus and the debt can be paid back. Then taxes can fall.

    I would love taxes to be lower, especially the ones I have to pay. However, what I would like above all else is politicians who represent me properly by (amongst other things) demonstrating my own spending restraint.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed there is also a move to more large fines often for simple trivial errors/mistakes/time pressures – for example for SORN declarations, the new Dartford Bridge Tolling, the congestion zone, box junctions, bus lanes (usually with no buses rather like the aircraft carriers), late tax returns, company house returns (usually with no busses), the new enforced pensions ……..

      A hugely complex system is created then people are fined for trivial failures to comply. They then often need to employ expensive professionals, lawyers, accountants, tax and HR experts to comply. It is all a “tax” and just damages productivity and competitivity. The result is exported jobs, damaged growth and the creation of endless pointless & artificial jobs for parasites. In the end they just end up killing the host that they parasite on.

      • William Gruff
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        You’re describing a state that is out of control. We cannot bring it back under control until we return members of parliament (preferably an English Parliament) who are determined to change things and to put their constituents before a party.

        There are some decent men and women in parliament but not enough, and no independents. That needs to change.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Indeed the state is just like a malignant tumour out of control and killing the productive. The only control mechanisms that could stop it are civil disobedience, the black market or the MPs we vote for one every five years. The MP we get are alas mainly PPE career politician types who are totally unsuitable to the task and many of them are in on the racket. As we saw with Cameron what you vote for is often the total opposite of what you get. He is happily planning to repeat his blatant deception a second time in May.

  3. Richard1
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    We can’t really cut taxes as we need to until we cut spending. one thing that came over loud and clear in the autumn statement is that although Mr Osborne has met his own spending targets, there have been large overall increases in spending. He might have cut military spending and made a small attempt to reduce central govt bureaucracy but huge and increasing sums have gone on welfare, green crap, overseas aid etc. and the govt seems to prefer nonsense vanity projects like hs2 to tax cuts. If the Conservatives get a majority at the election backbenchers will need to be much more assertive to impose sense on expenditure.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is the government spending level that matters and the huge proportion of this that is pointless, wasted or actually positively damaging.

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      A cut in certain tax rates will increase tax revenues. This is certainly true of the top rates of income tax and of the 28% CGT. JR has demonstrated this on several occasions.

      Simplification of the tax code is badly needed to improve the efficiency of the tax raising process. Mr Osborne would not last five minutes as a Finance Director running such an inefficient opration in a competitive commercial environment.

      Cameron and Osborne are also guilty, as you point out, of huge amounts of wasteful spending. Again, a commercial business operation the way the government operates, would have long since gone out of business. Mr Osborne also compounds his offences by making misleading statements about how he has “cut” the deficit. Fraser Nelson of the Spectator has rightly taken him to task about this, delivering the ultimate insult of likening him to Gordon Brown in this respect.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Your last sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      If rebel Tory backbenchers had tried to cut the spending plans of the present coalition government then they might have been successful, or the government might just have turned to the Labour party for its support in getting the votes through. Similarly if the Tories get an overall majority at the next election, which is rather unlikely but for the sake of argument let’s suppose that it happens, and then rebel Tory backbenchers try to cut its spending plans, then they might be successful or the government might just turn to the opposition parties for their support in getting the votes through.

      The simple fact is that there are, and after the next election there still will be, too few Tory backbenchers who are prepared to defy the party whips on any vote that matters and so force the Tory party leaders to make significant changes to their preferred policies.

      On almost all issues which are likely to stir up rebellion within the ranks of Tory MPs the views of the Tory leaders will be much closer to those of the Labour leaders than to those of the Tory rebels, so the government can usually rely on Labour MPs to help them in defeating the Tory backbench rebellion.

      And even if that help from the Labour leaders only amounts to the Labour MPs being whipped to abstain in a particular division, rather than to positively vote with the Tory government, it will do the job.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        I think Tory MPs can and should do a lot before it reaches the point of defying the whips in a vote. The point is to make v clear to ministers in private what will and wont fly. After all, a PM is only PM to the extent he can command a majority in the HoC, and a Tory leader holds his position only if he commands the confidence of his colleagues.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Meanwhile, the reverse situation obtains within the EU, with the EU Parliament not trying to impose sense on expenditure but instead demanding more money from the EU governments:

      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20141208IPR83032/html/Parliament-and-Council-negotiators-agree-to-EU-budget-deal

      “For payments, MEPs secured €4.8 billion more to pay bills for 2014-2015.”

      “”The winding down of a pile of unpaid bills has been Parliament’s quintessential goal. We cannot go on rolling invoices over from year to year due to a lack of resources, just watching as cash-strapped contractors suffer and the EU loses its credibility as a reliable partner”, said Budgets Committee Chair Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), who led the parliamentary delegation. “We know member states’ difficulties, but it was the member states themselves which agreed to enter into contracts that need to be paid. The bills of the EU are also part of their debt”, he added.”

      • Chris
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Crystal clear and frightening. Your last two sentences should be broadcast loud and clear to the electorate so that they are under no illusions about what membership of the EU entails, and about the commitment our politicians have made, and continue to make on our behalf to the EU. However, our politicians are too scared and apparently prefer to deceive us.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    You were on the right side of those arguments John.

    Let us hope your quest to reduce spending and make departments more efficient will eventually produce some rewards as well.

    Let us hope many will also in time, agree with your views on the EU as well and push from trade only or out.

    Shame too few of your fellow Mp’s (in all Part’s) are deluded and think the State and EU can simply spend ever more, and somehow increased taxation will pay for it all.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      …but public sector efficiency savings are always “re-invested”;you make one lot of state employees redundant-at vast expense-and then re-employ them with different job titles.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel

        ..”reinvested…..”

        Certainly that used to be true, and still is to a lesser extent, the sooner it is stopped altogether the better.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    After the last three days, it’s nice to have you back with sensible discussions.

    • formula57
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Humbug! – for the Santa chronicles were both fun, diverting and illuminating.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Well Osborne has ratted on his IHT promise and has increased 299+ taxes and yet raised less revenue in the process. The Tories have done abysmally, the performance has been dreadful and hugely damaging. The more money you take off the productive (and give to the dead hand of the state sector) the worse the economy will get. This is made even worse by huge inefficiency of the state sector and the absurd things government does with the money taken – wars, green crap, the EU, over regulation, HS trains, rockets to Mars, tunnels at Stone Henge, buying votes, endless lies & propaganda, the BBC misinformation departments, electric car subsidies, EU payments, soft “loans” for pointless degrees, loans to the PIGIS, often corrupt overseas aid, big pay offs for incompetent state sector workers, bloated state sector pensions, the incompetent NHS, poor quality education …….

    Stamp duty at up to 12% (even 15% for some) is totally idiotic. Hitting mainly London and the SE. Together with other costs of buying and selling (plus if let even 28% capital gains on not even real gains) it now make little sense to invest in buying an expensive house unless you are intending to stay there for say 15 years plus. On purchase of a small London house you might be perhaps £100K down in stamp duty on purchase. If you fall on hard times, change jobs and have to sell this is just money lost. If you keep the property for say 10 years you might just get your money back but even then you struggle to get it back in real terms. It is a large disincentive to improving the property too.

    You can easily be taxing people at well over 100% of their income that year – people cannot bear such daft taxes without ending up with no money quite quickly.

    Taking a fair percentage of peoples earning and expenditure is one thing. But taking huge chunks of capital off them just to waste it is surely just theft. As of course is Osborne’s IHT at 40%, why bother to save, invest, work hard and build up capital just so the government can steal it off you? Why would anyone rich other than a non dom with special tax rules live in the UK just to be robbed by the state (of to have to employ armies of tax planners).

  7. DaveM
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Generally good stuff, Mr R, but why do I have to read it on your website? I’m sick to the back teeth of turning on the telly (and once my eyes have adjusted to the bombardment of red backgrounds and newsreaders wearing red clothes (without cross-shaped necklaces)), hearing:

    The Chancellor says “[utterly incomprehensible economic mumbo-jumbo designed so no normal person can understand it]”

    followed by “Ed Balls says…” and “the deputy PM says…”

    How about addressing another tax over which we have no control – ie, the Licence Fee?

    I occasionally choose to read the Guardian or the Independent in order to challenge my own thinking, but most people, unaware of the subliminal indoctrination of the BBC, are subjected to left-wing, pro-EU, pro-green crap, anti-English, sometimes slanderous anti-party rhetoric on an almost constant basis.

    I don’t object to the Licence Fee on principle, mainly because I detest adverts and like listening to the radio. But the standard of programming is abysmal. Take the comparison between the once-great Panorama and Channel 4’s Dispatches for a start. In addition we are subjected to non-English commentators for any rugby match the BBC can be bothered to broadcast (don’t even get me started on the Rugby League coverage).

    But it is now at the stage where I can’t stand the BBC, and above all I object to paying for Labour’s propaganda machine. So, should there not be a choice over (a) whether we can pay this tax, or (b) given the power of the BBC – have the opportunity to elect the DG?

    • APL
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      DaveM: “How about addressing another tax over which we have no control ”

      A tax on Politicians would be a good thing. It could act in the same way the 1696 window tax. Resulting in a lot of politicians being bricked up.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Did you urge the Conservative led coalition to increase VAT from 17.5% to 20%? What was your attitude towards the 509 tax increases since 2010 as reported by the Tax Payers’ Alliance?

    Reply No I proposed spending less.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      But Cameron and Osborne just ignored you. They are are pissing money down the drain in just the same was as Labour did. This while Cameron lies that he is “repaying the debts” and Osborne lies that we will be back “In The Black” in 2008.

      Lies lies and more Lies from these serial ratters.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        2018!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Good.
      The pity is that the party, that you so resolutely support, didn’t take any account of your proposal.

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m with you all the way on Stamp Duty, fuel duty, CGT and the 40% tax threshold, and am glad that you have had a good measure of success.

    However, we are not raising enough from income tax. The 50% top rate was only in force for one year. That year and the subsequent year were influenced by the deferment of bankers’ bonuses. So we should ignore those two years and look at the yield from the 40% prior to 2010 and the yield from the 45% rate in recent years. How does that comparison stack up?

    The original idea of increasing the lower tax threshold was to help the working poor. However, the implementation was such that everybody benefited and the Treasury is about £7.5 billion per annum poorer as a result. Still, nobody is going to raise the standard rate of income tax in the run up to an election.

  10. Bert Young
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Governments like all forms of bureaucracy like to surround themselves with over complicated systems – the snowball rolls and gathers more and more snow . Tax and its administration is a huge cost burden that few – like myself , are bewildered by . Each year accountants have to feather their way through pages and pages of detail in order to understand and administer to their clients’ needs . I have argued for the substitution of a “sales tax” before instead of the method we currently have . My motto is ” if you spend you pay tax , if you don’t spend you don’t pay tax “.
    Equally we must not be burdened by the huge contributions we make to the EU . The bureaucracy in Brussels is the most unwieldy I have ever encountered . It is one thing to have to live with the constraints we impose on ourselves ; it is an altogether different constraint to have to look over our shoulders at the EU wondering what they will come up with next.

  11. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Personally I think the whole tax system is wrong. Income tax should be taken out at source of employment and not out of wages. It is ludicrous to say that somebody earns £40.000 PA , when it is considerably less. Perhaps this sounds bizarre , but it would save money in employing people to work out each and every persons’ tax.Why give it to a worker to take it back ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Well they do take NI of the employer too before the pay.

      If you look at the “loop” from a worker making that product and then buying that same product himself. In that case about they get 23% NI, 20% VAT, 20-45% income tax in total. At the 45% income tax level you sell something for £100 and only £34 gets to the employee £66 to the government. Perhaps he/she then uses the £34 for his council tax, road tax or something similar then the government get the full 100%.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      “Why give it to a worker to take it back?”
      It may have escaped your notice that the majority of people are not employed by the state but by private companies or are self-employed, so when the government takes the tax money they are not ‘taking it back’.
      In addition, it is very important that workers see just how much of their earnings are being confiscated by the government in tax.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Well they do take it before they get it in employers NI which they do not even see and under paye (even if they do get a statement showing the level of the government theft).

    • Edward2
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Its good that employees know how much the stoppages from their real wage are and that employers also have to pay a large lump in NI as well as the employee.
      When I was an employer one new member of staff complained that he had not been given anything like the wages we had agreed to pay him.
      I pointed out the deductions for tax and NI.
      He said, whats all that for.
      I gave him examples like the NHS and schools
      He said, I thought the Government paid for all that stuff.

  12. John E
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Fuel duty has increased, as has the total tax take on petrol due to VAT.

    From the HMRC website, fuel duty was 57.19p in April 2010. It went up to 58.19p in October 2010, and then to 58.95p in Jan 2011. It reduced to 57.95p in March 2011.

    From the AA website, unleaded petrol was 121.5p per litre in May 2010, of which 62% was tax. In November 2014 it was 122.9p, of which 63.8% is tax. So the underlying price has fallen, but the tax taken has increased and we are paying more. Three increases followed by a partial reversal do not add up to a net reduction.

    Of course it would have been much worse without the campaign.

    Reply I said the government stopped Labour’s escalator or automatic rises, which they did.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/john-majors-tax-betrayal-22-broken-promises-22-tax-rises-156046015.html

      Fuel duty increased by MORE than inflation under a Conservative budgets in the 90’s under the Major government in which JR served . It’s rather disingenuous of Mr Redwood to pretend that ‘escalating’ fuel duty is purely a Labour phenomenom.

      I do think that the present mindset of the Conservatives was cast in the Major years – they switched then to believing in a high spending nanny state knows best approach and that view still prevails. Dr Redwood may be a moderating influence but his argument in favour of competitive tax rates and affordable government has been lost.

      The Conservatives won in 79, 83, 87, 92 because of Labour mismanagement of the economy that led to the winter of discontent in 79. Sadly this argument on Labour’s record lost it’s resonance as the years went by and the Conservatives adopted more left wing policy.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Worthy proposals, JR, on the whole; but in the bigger picture the European Commission is now saying, indirectly but in effect, that the only way for the UK government to avoid bankruptcy at some point in the coming decades will be to continue indefinitely with the present policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration.

    This report:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/11283803/UK-population-boom-could-make-it-EUs-top-economy.html

    dresses it up as the future growth of the UK population and economy outstripping those of France and Germany so that the UK miraculously assumes a dominant position within the EU and can then change the EU in all kinds of desirable ways; and:

    “For long-term guardians of supposed national destiny, the commission’s projections could be viewed quite positively.”

    except of course that you cannot guard any “national destiny” by adopting policies which effectively destroy the nation.

    And in the same newspaper it is also reported that Cameron is willing to play his part in expanding the population of the UK, not personally by fathering more children, as far as I know, but by pressing for Turkey to be admitted to the EU:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11283924/David-Cameron-I-still-want-Turkey-to-join-EU-despite-migrant-fears.html

    “David Cameron: I still want Turkey to join EU, despite migrant fears”

    The paradox is that the great majority of the existing body of UK citizens are opposed to these government policies, but a substantial majority are still prepared to continue to vote for political parties which are committed to them.

  14. They Work for Us?
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It is clearer now than ever that we should move towards a system where there is much less legislation and a sunset clause on all legislation passed to see if it is really needed or wanted by the public.There is a need to ask the electorate what they want and do it not consult them and do the opposite. Politicians should not base policy on wanting to be thought good chaps by their feckless colleagues abroad. The interests of the population should always come first even we are thought to be hard nosed and bad Europeans. Fair words don’t provide prosperity.
    David Cameron is a secret Ukip vote recruiter. He is apparently still in favour of Turkish accession to the EU and obviously more mass immigration to this country

    • William Gruff
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      They Work for Us?:

      When has an MP ever engaged in a consultation exercise with his constituents (I mean the entire constituency rather than simply a few groups and individuals with vested interests)?

      There is no reason why an MP cannot have an interactive web site through which to take instructions from his constituents though, as far as I am aware, none does. We need thorough political and parliamentary reform in England (I’m not alluding to the travesty of ‘democracy’ that is PR, nor to the insidious process of national destruction that is ‘regionalisation’.) and we need to return independent candidates who are determined to see it pushed through, after consulting us on what we wish to see done.

  15. Dan H.
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    One possible fly in the ointment for the future is the problem of how to reduce road vehicle pollution levels. Diesel vehicles are a particular problem here, as the high combustion temperatures give both soot and nitrogen oxides in the exhaust.

    Soot can be solved with good particulate filters. Nitrogen oxides can be solved with the AdBlue catalytic additive, and the problems inherent in particulate filters could be solved by electrically heating the filter units to prevent these things bunging up quite so easily.

    All these modifications cost money, and quite a few operators of diesel vehicles try to skimp by bypassing the modifications. So, might I suggest that a small subsidy on vehicle conversions to reduce pollution, plus some sort of hard-to-defraud subsidy or tax-break on adblue might be in order, to help speed the pollution reduction?

    And please, don’t try to solve this one by bunging up tax on diesel!

    • William Gruff
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Dan H.

      I think we have many rather more pressing ‘flies in the ointment’ than road vehicle pollution levels.

      • A different Simon
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Diesel pollution affects the metropolitan sorts most ; the kind of people who make life a misery for everyone else .

        Why on earth would any ordinary person want to reduce it ?

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Dan H ,

      Demand for distillate fuel is likely to increase as legislation requiring lower sulphur in marine fuels becomes active .

      The UK’s diesel is almost all imported as a finished product from refineries overseas .

      Plenty of cities over Europe including Eastern Europe use compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses to reduce pollution in cities .

      For cities , wouldn’t the most effective and cost effective option be to convert our public service vehicle fleet over to CNG ?

    • Colin Hart
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      The diesel issue is almost funny.

      For years I have listened to bureaucrats and greenies telling me we did a ‘modal shift’ to public transport. It is now about to dawn on them that public transport is one of the worst polluters.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Indeed filthy & road blocking buses (often with few or no passengers) and taxis were so often the main source of air pollution in London.

  16. ian wragg
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    John, I thought it was William Hague who started the fuel escalator in your never ending war on the motorist.
    I see todays papers are speculating that after the election VAT and NI will both be raised. No mention of any cuts yet and you still intend to spend £12 billion propping up dodge regimes.
    So we have had to ask for assistance to find a rogue Russian submarine in our waters after CMD took an axe to our maritime surveillance . Remind me again why you think its a good idea to vote for you especially when clowns like Shoubrey tell us how good immigration is for us.
    Hopefully she will be out of work after May 7th and can put her many non talents into seeking a job.

    • William Gruff
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      ian wragg

      All we can possibly expect from the next general election is a change of clowns. Those hoping to change the way we are governed should have been cultivating their chosen constituencies years ago. There are few if any plausible candidates anywhere, perhaps none, and those clowns who are replaced next May are likely to be so by other clowns with non talents.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Is that the same foolish (etc ed) Anna Soubry who said (of Nigel Farage) ‘he looks like somebody put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it’ by any chance?

      Someone who joined the SDP (according to wiki) and a lawyer too I understand. So a rather foul mouthed lefty, rather typical the Cameron type of candidate and minister.

      • stred
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Mz Soubury ( re Wiki) also supports legalising cannabis, despite the tendency of the drug to induce psychosis, (words left out ed) and keen on gay marriage. But a very good presenter, female etc . Just the CV for a job in ht MoD in the Cameron book of management.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I agree.
      Nearly every time Ms Shoubery makes a comment she loses the Conservatives votes.
      When she first began appearing on our screens I actually wondered if she was a plant by a rival party.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

  17. English Pensioner
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    What I can’t understand is why there can’t be serious discussions about cutting state expenditure, all we ever get is “ya-bo” politics.
    What happened to the “bonfire of quangos”? Why can’t we have a debate as to whether they are all still needed? Why can’t some government and local council activities be cut back, particularly those which are only carried out for “politically correct” reasons forced on us by pressure groups. We seem to be getting more and more public officials all the time. Cut back to the ministries we had in, say, 1945. Do we need a minister for women, or one for sport? All these cost money and are just for show. We need the government to do just the essentials, not get involved in every latest fad being pushed by some pressure group. In view of the latest news, how long before we have a Minister for Breastfeeding?
    Get rid of all this rubbish and concentrate on the essentials, save money and cut taxes.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Do we need a Minister for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, especially as they have their own devolved Governments ?

      Having all these Ministers means, that the Government can guarantee a minimum number of MP’s will vote for them. Essentially, the PM is buying support. That is why I believe that the Executive and the Legislature should now be separated.

      I an age where good Christian value held sway, the system as it currently stands may have worked. Today, it is simply no longer fir for purpose.

  18. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Great, you have cut some taxes. But you have not cut spending. And tax revenues are down. So, you are borrowing more! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

    Yet, when I add up income tax, national insurance, VAT, council tax, duties on fuel, car tax and other sundry taxes – I am still having to hand over nearly half my income to the state.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Cutting a (very) few taxes – while putting hundreds of other up hugely is not particulary helpful.

  19. Matt
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Sound thinking all around in my view.
    I often find myself making the same case to friends and family who disagree. There are a couple of standard responses I get which I would love to have hard evidence to counter.

    When I present the argument that tax competition can drive down revenue via people leaving the country, the response is either that the wealthy are unlikely to move from one country to another just to get their tax bill down as the upheaval from such a move would make it not worthwhile. I usually point to the evidence of those who have moved from France to the UK for exactly this reason. Then the response is that people might move one country over, but are not going to switch continents, so the solution is a harmonise tax rates across the EU and eliminate the effect. They also struggle to see why the tax code cannot be set up in such a way as to prevent people from using accounting to minimise their tax burden.

    When I present the argument that people are more productive when they are allowed to keep more of the money they earn, or gain from successful investments. i.e. that they associate money and thereby living standards with their work productivity; I’m told that most people are driven to work hard by motives other than money so the effect should be small.

    If I could effectively counter these arguments, with hard evidence, there are a lot of people who could be convinced of the wisdom of this approach. These people would then stop voting for those who have a nasty habit of making a complete pigs breakfast out of the state finances and the economy in general.

  20. Martyn G
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    There are any number of unfair taxes taken mainly from prudent people, the most obvious perhaps being insurance tax? One the one hand the government expects and even encourages us to protect ourselves from disaster by taking out insurance but then taxes us for doing so.
    I do not recall there having been any parliamentary debate of applying insurance tax all those years back, it simply appeared one day and like so many other taxes, the rate can be simply increased without, it appears, debate in parliament. It is an unwarranted and unfair tax on already taxed income that disadvantages the prudent and it, and other similar unfair taxes should be properly debated and mostly, I would hope, cancelled.
    Keep up the good work, John…..

  21. petermartin2001
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    You’ve not mentioned the VAT rise to 20%. The decision to raise consumption tax in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression days must rank as one of the Government’s worst which set back economic recovery by several years.

    Taxation should be seen as a way to moderate inflation and not in terms of revenue raising. Of course, raising VAT would increase the amount of VAT received but decrease the amount of other taxes raised.

    If government takes extra money out of the economy by raising VAT, then it must follow that the extra money is then not available to be gathered as income tax or any of many other imposed taxes. That money which would have provided wages and salaries for workers as it was spent and respent would have still come back to government in taxes. It would have taken a few extra transactions.

    No-one wins out. Not government. Not those workers who end up unemployed and underemployed as a consequence.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I bet that eight hundred years ago it never even crossed King John’s mind to try out that novel “Taxation should be seen as a way to moderate inflation and not in terms of revenue raising” line when he was hiking up taxes; if he had just thought to spin it like that then maybe there would have been no barons’ rebellion, and no legend of Robin Hood, but also no Magna Carta.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Whatever his supposed other faults, King John did at least take the trouble to learn the local language and stay at home to look after the family business!

        Unlike present day rulers, King John did indeed have to acquire money in the form of gold to be able to spend it. What would he have made of our monetary system, and every other in the contemporary world, which operates without any link at all to anything of tangible value like gold or silver?

        He’d be amazed that it was it all possible. But, if he were smart enough, he’d understand that a quite different type of economic thinking was necessary to understand its workings. He’d understand that our contemporary ££ and $$ couldn’t simply be treated as if they were lumps of gold or silver.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 12, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          John lost Normandy, and apart from levying taxes to maintain his lifestyle and extend patronage he wanted money to pay for an army to retrieve that lost possession and recover his power. The pursuit and exercise of power by those who govern has always involved them having money, or more generally resources, at their disposal, and I could list maybe a dozen ways through which that has been attempted at various times, usually backed up by some specious argument although sometimes without even bothering with that nicety. QE is just the latest in a long line of cunning alternatives to the risky but relatively honest and straightforward levying of taxes on the population; and, yes, there is a theoretical argument to be advanced to justify it, but once again a specious argument.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

  22. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    It does seem that yet again the wrong targets are being addressed.

    Instead of raising income tax bands we should be raising those for employees’ NICs.

    Similarly instead of reducing corporation tax we should be raising the bands for employers’ NICs.

    We need by these means to improve the cash flow of particularly small companies, increasing employment, making exports more competitive, increasing the competition for imports, concentrated on the low earners etc..

    In addition to reducing taxation it is imperative that all changes maximise the possible improvement to the economy. Those changes that are slightly less visible and so less vote catching simply need better publicity including the reasons why they are a better choices

  23. nick
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    You are in favour of your party stealing slightly less of people’s money than the other lot? Gosh,thanks!

    • APL
      Posted December 13, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Nick: “You are in favour of your party stealing slightly less of people’s money than the other lot?”

      Not to mention, he is also in favour of encumbering our children and their children with more and more debt, for the price of his party’s re-election this coming May.

  24. nick
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Amazing how easy it is to convince people that stealing from them is ok if the State is doing the stealing.A killer argument for this practice is that taxation has existed for centuries and then some.Well so has cannibalism.At least cannibals wait till their victim is dead before eating him…

    • Handbags
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Well said Nick.

      If all taxes were abolished the amount of money in the economy would be identical. The total amount of transactions would be the same.

      Just imagine, the people who earn it could now spend it on stuff they want – and the people who don’t earn anything would have to get a job.

      It’s never going to happen of course – but it is an ideal worth aiming for – absolutely no taxation whatsoever!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        To absolutely clear, which of these alternatives are you advocating?

        a) There should be no government at all.

        b) There should be a government, but it should be funded entirely by voluntary contributions.

        • APL
          Posted December 13, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Denis Cooper: “which of these alternatives are you advocating?”

          I know your question was directed to ‘Handbags’, but I’d prefer option (b).

          We have (are) already trying out option (c), the citizen’s sole reason for existing is as a source of tax revenue to support the government.

          Frankly, ( looks around the world economies ) I don’t think that is working out too well.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            Surely a government funded by voluntary contributions would inevitably be a plutocracy not a democracy?

          • APL
            Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            Denis Cooper: “would inevitably be a plutocracy not a democracy?”

            If the contribution threshold was set low enough, but not so low that there is no cost to anyone who participates. A reasonable compromise might be established.

            But I suppose to address your point; Yes.

  25. Magnolia
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    The ‘tax rise’ that I loath more than any other is the removal of the tax free personal allowance at incomes over £100,000 that was introduced by this government.
    I loath it because it is so mean and underhand and as politicians keep saying that everyone has benefited from the increase in the tax free threshold which is patently untrue.
    This is a high, comfortable salary to be sure but hardly megabucks.
    It won’t touch the real rich.
    It seems to me to be particularly vindictive for single income earner families whose high income earning power may be dependant on the other parent being able to do literally all of the home stuff.
    A high salary and being a workaholic are hardly unknown concomitants.
    Why pick on this group for punishment?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately the taxman see PAYE slaves earning over £50K as easy pickings and politically a popular target. The masses feel that £50 or £100K is a lot of money without thinking that a household with two £20K earners in it takes home as much as a single earner whose salary is £55K.

      The masses also do not link tbeir own personal inflation to this desire for retribution. As the higher earners get to keep less of what they earn they will need to move into spending areas previously not saturated ( housing, schools, dooctors, discounters) the demand will push prices up and service delivery down which will impact lower earners (Much like mass immigration but that is another topic).

  26. bluedog
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Dr JR. It needs to be inscribed in the institutional memory of the Parliament that if you want more of something, you tax it less. The Lib-Dems do not begin to understand this despite being punished by the electorate for their stupidity.

  27. William Gruff
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Others have made the points I would:

    Simplifying the tax regime and softening the Stalinist attitude of HMRC, developed under (deleted deleted deleted – author) Gordon Brown, is more important at present than cutting taxes, which can only mean increased borrowing and the development of alternative income streams such as draconian fines for trivial offences until spending is considerably reduced.

    Some cuts can be implemented immediately: overseas aid can be reduced to zero at a stroke, as can green energy subsidies that simply put public money into the hands of speculators, with no return for the public – and we are not getting any return, nor is the planet being ‘saved’.

  28. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember it was the Major government (or new Labour light) that ramped up duty on petrol and diesel. Not that this is a bad thing the cost of this precious resource should be high to discourage consumption.

  29. APL
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    JR: “A tax cutting agenda”

    Here is my question.

    If the chancellor cannot rein in the deficit, apparently a goal of the administration you support. Neither does the administration you support t want cuts in public expenditure – you’ve had four and a half years to make some, but have made none – see clause one.

    How can you make provision for tax cuts?

    I’m all for a tax cutting agenda, I just want something more than words just before an election campaign.

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Sadly politicians seem to just want ever more gimmicks, adding complexity to the system, when actually some radical simplification would strip lots of cost (and tax needed) out.

  31. Colin Hart
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I suppose a flat tax would be out of the question?

  32. RichardB
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Your first paragraph did it for me where you talk about tax cuts for all.

    You make a distinction between “most people” and “the rich” where the former will pay less tax and the latter will pay more tax. How’s that, if there are tax cuts for all? Stick with the same measure!

    Then you imply that you are the cause of any movement in the direction of tax cuts for all with your “So how have I got on?”

    I’m afraid that rather smug, yet untrustworthy, look on your face remains the most reliable guide to navigating your offerings.

  33. petermartin2001
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood,

    You still seem to regard cutting the deficit as a matter of raising more revenue from taxes on the one hand and cutting spending on the other.

    Theoretically, I’ve always argued that approach can never work. But, scientifically I do accept that theories must be wrong if it can be shown they don’t explain observed reality.

    So, is my theory wrong? Can you show of any instances, anywhere, when governments have successfully reduced their deficit by cutting spending and raising revenue from taxes without creating conditions of severe recession?

    I can’t think of any. So, I’d argue that not only do have have theory on my side but, more importantly, the practical observations too.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      JR will correct me if I am wrong but his position is that tax rates should be broadly set to yield the greatest tax take – and thereby incentivise economic activity by allowing people to keep a fair share of their earned income . A larger cake gives greater tax revenue at lower tax rates.
      The scientific approach is to take extreme cases to test a theory. An experiment has already been made.
      Gordon Brown doubled state spending between 1997 and 2010 which led to a huge structural deficit and a sharp decline in productivity. He also massively increased the complexity of Uk’s tax code as he was instinctively a high taxer.

      So why didn’t all of Brown’s ‘stimulus’ and ‘investment’ lead to a healthy economy?. Because the followers of MMT have got it completely and massively wrong perhaps ?.
      Manufacturing industries went into decline as they didn’t matter so much in a banking and debt dominated world and a great many people found themselves discouraged from working and trapped on benefit. Why work or up skill when the government is willing to simply borrow money and give you a free ride ?. Your relaxed theory towards monetary policy is not only fundamentally wrong but has massive unforeseen consequences.

      I think we can safely assume that if both Mr Osborne and Mr Brown had held spending down, then we wouldn’t be asking our children’s children to pay off our current debts.

  34. David Price
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    All welcome and significant initiatives in the context of the mess left by Labour. But the private sector and prudent citizens have paid a high price for the excesses and waste of the previous government and the lack of public sector spending reforms by the current coalition. Such initiatives as you describe to reduce and simplify taxes must be increased, broadened and accelerated else your party will lose even more of its core support. The Conservatives must again become the representatives and champions of the entrepreneurial, the aspiriational, the diligent and the prudent for there is no-one else who will.

  35. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see how a chancellor who reduces the income from stamp duty by nearly £1bn can be serious about reducing the deficit. This action alone increases the deficit by 1%.

  36. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood

    I notice you have deleted my comment about this post. Can you advise me quite what it was which was so offensive that caused you to do so, so that I can avoid such grave errors in the future?

  • 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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