They all believed in lower taxes yesterday

Something remarkable happened yesterday in the Commons. All the Ulster parties present joined with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives to advocate lower taxes for Northern Ireland. They told us that a lower tax rate in the province would lead to new investment, more company formation, more private sector jobs and greater prosperity. The Commons duly approved unanimously a measure which will allow Northern Ireland to cut its Corporation Tax rate from 21%, the present UK rate, to 12.5%.

It was remarkable because many of the people who now think a lower tax on business profits is a good thing are usually dreaming up ever more higher and new taxes to hit anyone who does well or makes a profit. Normally we are told that higher and wider taxes are crucial to good public services, without a thought for any damage they might do to jobs, incomes, and investments. I asked them to reflect on what they had been saying and to draw some conclusions on other taxes, and on business taxes elsewhere in the UK.

Taking Corporation tax down below 20% will lead to a loss of revenue – I agree with the Treasury about that. This is not a straightforward tax cut of the kind I often advocate which will increase the revenues.

The new Parliament will need to do a lot of thinking about the new tax settlement which is emerging. Scotland will have its own Income Tax and Stamp Duty land tax. Northern Ireland will have its own Corporation Tax. Wales will have its own business rates. The new Parliament has as a result to settle two difficult matters. The first is the familiar one of who speaks for England? The second is how much grant will devolved governments receive, bearing in mind they will be responsible for raising more of their own revenue. The formula will matter and will not be easy to settle.

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83 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It makes sense for Ulster to have more autonomy as they are the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another country. Especially one that speaks the same language. But the taxes should be within accepted limits. Too low, and the risk of deficits, in which England will have to pick up the difference, becomes a ever greater risk. This for Ulster may be a good idea, but for the rest of the UK, especially England, its bad news.

    You all need to think again.

    • Hope
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      A topic for the TV debates. Why aren’t the TV debates going ahead without Cameron? I thought is what the others said would happen?

      Farage versus the best of the rest. They are all for EU rule and the UK becoming a province of it.. We now know 64.7 percent of laws come from there so Farage is the only one who wants an independent sovereign nation. The rest want to present the EU dictats. Better still Farage versus Junker- who is their boss.

      • Hope
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        The LibLab con cartel need to tell the public what rules the EU place on UK tax ie VAT. Another is that a sixth of overseas aid is spent by the EU without any say from the UK deposited the £2 billon coming from Brotish taxpayers. The UK taxpaye pay for the troops sent to the UKraine by Cameron. Who ordered this? Was it ordered, or influenced in any way by the EU? The British public need to know. The same for Cameron’s interview in the Wall St Journal about Russian sanctions. Is this UK foreign policy or is it influenced by the EU or is it EU foreign policy? We need to know as w pay the bills. Again, Cameron is quoted that the UK is better in the EU? He never tells us why, on the other hand, he never tells us what his alleged negotians are, he never keeps his word.

    • outsider
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Dear MarkB, You are right that Northern Ireland corporation tax is a special case, not least because so little is currently raised there. That is completely different from Scotland not only setting its income tax but also keeping the money rather than sending it to the Exchequer.
      If income tax levied in Scotland is available only for spending on Scottish Government business, then it is both illogical and unfair for income tax raised in England to be used to fund UK-wide spending such as defence, foreign aid and servicing the UK national debt. Even worse for income tax from Wales and N. Ireland, which are poorer than England and Scotland, to be used for purposes for which Scottish income tax is not available.
      I wonder if it would be legal and hope that will be tested.
      The pragmatic Establishment argument will be that tax retained in Scotland will be compensated by lower funding from the Exchequer, but that can only be a rough approximation that becomes ever less real as the years roll on, just like poor old Joel Barnett’s formula.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Indeed it will not be easy to settle and worse still it looks like being settled by some dreadful Miliband/SNP/rainbow coalition all thanks to Cameron’s inability to push a fair deal for the English, his throwing of the last election and his broken compass.

    The are very good arguments from having low, or even zero, corporation tax rates. This as the profit is either distributed to shareholders (which is then taxes as income anyway) or it is invested in expansion and/or new ventures or it is lend to banks and on to others. Thus creating real jobs, growth and future revenues. Furthermore it pulls other companies in from overseas to locate in the low tax area. Ireland broadly has 12.5% for that reason.

    Add to the mix some cheap energy, easy hire and fire employment laws, fewer regulations, simpler planning and some real vision and you are on to a winner.

    But back to reality we have socialist light Cameron about to lose to Socialist heavy & hapless Miliband & the SNP/Rainbow coalition. Still not even a spark of electoral vision from Cameron just steady on the lefty/pro EU/greencrap road over the cliff. Drifting further behind Miliband in the polls when (due to his incompetence in failing to get fair boundaries) he needs to be well ahead.

    Not even any good candidates to take over from Cameron. The joker Boris Johnson, attacker of civil liberties and free speech Theresa May or the IHT ratter George Osborne seem to be the favourites. How depressing it all is for the UK and indeed for the dreadful EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Clearly Cameron could not debate Farage without Cameron looking totally absurd and dishonest (given his ratting & record one would only have to read out Cameron’s past promises and quotes).

      Now it seems he dare not even debate the hapless Miliband.

      • backofanenvelope
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        I watched Farage on BBC breakfast TV yesterday. Ignoring the content of what he said, it was remarkable that he answered or tried to answer all the questions! What a contrast with the rest of them. Other than our host of course……….

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          Indeed never answering the question, stating the blindingly obvious, lying, using 10 words/phrases when one would do, or blaming it on the last government is all Lab and Con do.

          That is why Cameron is scared to debate Farage. Cameron’s pro EU, green crap high tax agenda is indefensible. It is essentially Libdem and look at their pole ratings.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            @LL; “Indeed never answering the question, stating the blindingly obvious, lying, using 10 words/phrases when one would do, or blaming it on the last government is all Lab and Con do.”

            I assume you were not talking about Mr Farage above but how is the above any different from blaming everything and anything on the EU like Farage does?

        • DaveM
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Quite. He actually throws the interviewer sometimes because they’re not actually expecting a politician to answer a straight question with a straight and honest answer!

          • Jerry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            @DaveM; You mean that sometimes he doesn’t blame it on the EU! 🙂

          • Timaction
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

            Jerry,

            Are you Peter Van whatsit in disguise. An EU plant?

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Yes it is a bit sad that the minute any serious public debate with UKIP or even Miliband is alluded to, Cameron has to run back into his hole. I thought these PPE types liked to stand up and shout without listening?

        • Jerry
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          @JoeSoap; “a bit sad that the minute any serious public debate with UKIP or even Miliband is alluded to, Cameron has to run back into his hole.”

          I assume you mean a two leader “head-to-head” debate, Mr Cameron is offering a multi-party debate with all main leaders. So assuming you do mean the “head-to-head” debate, why bother with what will undoubtedly just turn into a studio version of PMQs, look at what many (if not most) people think of PMQs, not a lot! Of course the broadcasters like the formate as it tends to be rich picking for clips and ratings.

          If I was Mr Farage, or the leader of any of the other challenger parties, I would want to steer as far away from such a format as possible for fear of being labelled “Just like all the rest”.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            Cameron is offering to “debate” in the loosest sense of the word, with 6 others over one 90 minute slot. So 7 different slots of about 12 minutes each, of which 2 are totally partisan Scots and Welsh, none are purely Northern Irish and 5 are UK-wide. An object lesson in how to cloud and screw-up any meaningful argument.
            This has made Cameron look foolish and out-of-touch. Even Gordon Brown in full disaster mode managed to agree to debate as PM!!! That Cameron can’t even manage that shouts volumes.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            @JoeSoap; “with 6 others over one 90 minute slot. So 7 different slots of about 12 minutes each”

            Then there needs to be more multi-party debates [1], not 60 to 90 minutes of pointless head-to-head Assertion vs. Contradiction that will likely do nothing more than replay the entire back-catalogue of PMQs from the last five years in the case of Cameron/Miliband.

            [1] and perhaps not just between the party leaders, lets hear from the would be Labour, LibDem and UKIP Chancellor, Home and Foreign Secretaries etc…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Yes, first he didn’t want to face Farage except as part of a gang who could unite in shouting him down, now it seems that he feels the same way about Miliband.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:39 am | Permalink

          Exactly, but quite understandable as Cameron policies essentially Libdem ones are just indefensible however good the debate.

          How you you defend open door immigration of even criminals from the EU with restrictions on highly qualified people from the USA, Canada, Australia, China and India? How can you defend wind power/pv subsidies? How can you defend 299+ tax increases and a dysfunctional and hugely incompetent NHS that kills so many people through incompetence – especially at weekends?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:40 am | Permalink

            His priority at the last election – in three letters (in his typical PR spin over substance style) was the N. H. S.

      • agricola
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Yes pre election TV debate has become something of a dogs breakfast. The members of the Welsh assembly could debate Welsh election issues on Welsh TV, in their own language should they prefer it. Likewise all those parties in the Scottish Parliament could debate on Scottish TV.

        What the English electorate wish to see is Cameron, Milliband, Farage, Clegg, and the Greens on English TV. To make it manageable and balanced I would suggest Farage who is anti EU and uncontrolled immigration, against Cameron and Milliband who are pro EU and have both created and presided over mass uncontrolled immigration. A second debate between Farage, Clegg and the Greens because again Farage is the devils advocate against EU membership, mass immigration and a fantasy world of expensive , and unreliable power generation.

        TV companies should set up the forums, send out the invitations, and make programmes from those who turn up. Politicians should not be allowed to dictate terms, they are there to be interrogated.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          @agricola; “Yes pre election TV debate has become something of a dogs breakfast. The members of the Welsh assembly could debate Welsh election issues on Welsh TV, in their own language should they prefer it. Likewise all those parties in the Scottish Parliament could debate on Scottish TV.”

          No thanks, if Labour might be propped up by say the SNP and/or PC, if the Tory party might get propped up by Unionist MPs, then as someone in England I need to know what their policies are and what their price for cooperation might be, even more so should I be in a marginal as it might affect if I might choose to rock the boat or not.

          • alan jutson
            Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            jerry

            Understand that would like to know SNP policy, but if no one in England can vote for them, what is the point of them taking part in a debate in England.

            What about those in Northern Ireland would you want them to take part in the debates in England as well ?

          • Jerry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            @alan jutson; “but if no one in England can vote for them, what is the point of them taking part in a debate in England.”

            Alan, the LDs, SNP and UKIP etc. will only come into play if there is a weak Tory or Labour, that is most likely to happen due to floating and disillusioned voters switching their vote.

            Say I’m in a marginal constituency, after hearing the policies of the challenger parties and what is or might be their ‘price for support’ I might decide that the risks from having a weak majority party (that is broadly sympathetic to my views) are worse than not voting for my preferred choice of candidate/party. No point voting for a party that give me a “red line” pledge on giving me a public holiday on St George’s Day, rather than a the party that says it is minded to do so, if by doing so it means neither party gets enough seats to get elected outright or form a coalition between the two but a party who has a “red line” pledge to abolish all public holidays does!

            “What about those in Northern Ireland would you want them to take part in the debates in England as well ?”

            Yes, assuming they are going to take their seats, as they might also hold the balance should the result be very close -as indeed the NI parties have done in the past with Votes of Confidence in the Commons.

        • Hope
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Well said.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Gove would be best. Our host should allow his name to go forward as Chancellor of the Exchequor.

  3. Jon
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t like the word formula, surely its a case of counting up the receipts from Irish corporation tax and paying that across?

    • Martin C
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, counting up the receipts from Irish corporation tax and paying it across is all very well but how do we arrive at the value of the big extra chunk of money that has to be paid across to make up the shortfall?

      • Jon
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        That’s what’s worrying, we don’t as far as I’m concerned, if devolution means that then what’s to stop one country scrapping income tax because the rest of the UK will make up the shortfall.

        • JoeSoap
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. Except England can’t do that, so we go broke first. The joke is on us, sadly.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I thought it was only a couple of weeks ago that Northern Ireland wanted the UK government (English taxpayers) to increase its spending budget for Northern Ireland !

    This is all becoming rather farcical.

    With such a difference in rates we may have some English Companies moving to Northern Ireland just for lower tax rates, thus reducing our (the English) tax take at the same time.

    This devolved power is becoming a nonsense, unless all Countries within the UK are treated equally, with exactly the same powers.

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Shocking hypocrisy but unsurprising of the dog-whistle political class who seek to redistribute wealth by targeting the weakest while letting the strongest off the hook through bullying tendencies and cronyism.

    On a related matter, why three children and not two?

    • Lifelogichaynes
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Why on earth are they discussing more child benefit reductions (yet another tax increase) on top of the 299+ increases and just before an election. The Tories really are trying to lose.

  6. Old Albion
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Just one comment.

    quote The first is the familiar one of who speaks for England? endquote

    No one ……………..as usual

  7. acorn
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    New Nothern Ireland rate 12.5%. Existing Southern Ireland (standard) rate 12.5%

    A fiscal “union” in the Eurozone is essential for the Eurosystem to operate; a fiscal “union” in Ireland is essential for … has the penny dropped yet???

  8. Jerry
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Lower CT certainly makes sense if the government wants a strong economy, and what revenue is lost on the slides will be made up on the roundabouts so to speak, Eire is a prime example, and obviously why the NI devolved government wants to lower their CT to that of Eire because otherwise investment will simply flow south of the border.

    But I really don’t like the idea that the devolved governments being able to set their own tax rates because once that happens we are a United Kingdom is name only. As an aside, I also wonder, had the EU sent a directive telling member countries to lower their CT to 12.5%, how many on here would object rather than write the usual reams of approving comments for anything remotely a tax cut?!

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      had the EU sent a directive…?
      I doubt that would happen before pigs flew. When did the EU ever call for lower taxes anywhere?

      • Jerry
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        @JoeSoap; I never said the EU had sent a directive, although they did try and get Erie to raise their CT rate as a part of their EZ bailout. I was merely musing on what might be said by eurosceptics should the EU ever demand that taxes be lowered! Perhaps I should have put on of these 🙂 afterwards to save any confusion or doubt.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I would certainly object to such an order being issued by the EU, because I always object to any orders of any kind being issued by the EU irrespective of my views on the particular matter being dealt with. Do you know why? Because unlike all the MPs we keep foolishly electing, bar a small minority, I actually believe in our national sovereignty and democracy, that’s why.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper; Thanks for proving my assumption…

        But would you really object if the EU were to abolish VAT (for example, to use a EU imposed tax), perhaps your hatred of anything and all things EU is such that you would?!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Now you’re asking me a different question, Jerry, not whether I would object if the EU decided to lower a tax in the UK but whether I would object if the EU butted out of deciding taxes in UK; and of course the answer is that I want the EU to butt out of deciding anything at all in the UK, not just taxes. And if you recall we were promised in the 1975 referendum that our Parliament would always have a veto on EEC/EC/EU proposals, so now I ask you whether you agree that should always be the case or you are content for our government and Parliament to be outvoted and for EU decisions to be imposed upon us by transnational majority voting.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 6, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            @Denis; “Now you’re asking me a different question”

            No I’m not, both were hypothetical questions on the EU and lowering tax rates, the only difference is the % amount!

            “And if you recall we were promised in the 1975 referendum that our Parliament would always have a veto on EEC/EC/EU proposals”

            A bit like in 1945 you mean, when Labour won a landslide and the nation voted to nationalise the Railways (for example), when did that change, if the electorate has changed their minds on nationalisation could then not have also changed their minds regarding the EEC/EC/EU- after all we have not exactly had a referendum on “state ownership” have we, the nation has accepted the will of the electorate based on GE results.

            I’m not actually sure you understand what is called “Democracy”, but then you’re not alone…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 8, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            Well, I certainly don’t need any lessons on “democracy” from a Tory eurofederalist like yourself.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 8, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; Well, I certainly don’t need any lessons on “democracy”

            Not so much “don’t need” as no point, after all for those with a closed mind education would a bit pointless as they do not want to even consider any alternate opinion than that fixed within their mind. 🙁

      • Timaction
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        So do I. Just back from actively campaigning in my area and the peoples party message is out there. So refreshing. Don’t believe the polls as the people can vote for who they want in the privacy of the ballot box!! No ridicule or smears there.

        • JoeSoap
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          I do hope you are right. Anybody being swayed by these Tory sops in the past few weeks has to remember how Cameron treats the electorate. The promises and statements of 2010 all look so hollow now-by his own admission he has failed on immigration, and by anybody’s standards he has failed on taxes, the national debt, pension legislation, the EU (where did matters not rest?), and so many others… do not be swayed in the last few weeks…

        • Jerry
          Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction; “Don’t believe the polls as the people can vote for who they want in the privacy of the ballot box!!”

          Indeed they can and will do, hence why many believe that when the time comes to actually place that cross both UKIP and the SNP will not do as well as the polls are suggesting.

          • Timaction
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

            We shall see Jerry( Peter). Indeed we shall see.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction; That sort of accusation says far more about you than it does me (or anyone else, who are not me).

  9. agricola
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Nice to see that NI is moving towards my oft suggested level of Corporation Tax at 5%. Their new rate of 12.5%, endorsed by all in the H o C could be an indicative experiment.

    As it stands tax take will go down, but if they can double business activity in the province over the next ten years they will end up with in effect 25% on current turnover. The real bonus will be much greater employment.

    I imagine the incumbents of the H o C look upon it as an experiment of such small scale that it will not affect them to any degree. If however it works, could it be a damascene moment for all political parties and change the outlook of the socialists in particular.

    High levels of employment would allow the reduction in income tax to the 20% I have also advocated. Then watch NI fly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Why stop at 5% you might as well go all the way to zero. Taxing the company only when it hand money back to shareholder or employees. But not when it retains or reinvests the profits thus creating jobs and growth paying NI and Income Tax, saving the tax payer the costs of many benefit payments.

  10. JoeSoap
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Well let’s hope we see an enormous shift of companies to Northern Ireland. Not the multinationals, who can transplant to Ireland, Luxembourg etc (how often does IE and LU come up on my credit card statement?), but SMEs like us, who can drain the exchequer of the backbone of our ridiculous annual Corporation Tax bill.

    People don’t seem to understand that Corporation Tax is a brake on growth – profits are split between dividends (which are fully taxed as income), re-invested money (which is relieved eventually from CT anyway) and the increase in working capital which is needed with growth (all taxed at the CT rate, taking away 20+% of potential growth)… CT is actually a pro-bank tax, because it encourages companies to distribute profits away from the company and borrow from banks at usurious rates. Any self-respecting left-winger should be shouting for lower Corporation Tax rates, perversely.

    • Bob
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      A very good point well made Mr Soap. Hear hear!

    • acorn
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Agreed. When you stand back and look at the four basic tax themes, Income; Wealth; Products and Production; corporation tax is an anomaly in being an “income” tax on a thing, not a person. You can’t call it a tax on the “production” process, because its not the same animal as Business Rates and similar charges.

      Mind you, if you did away with it, politicians and the media would have to find something else to throw stones at.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      JoeSoap

      Excellent post.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    If there is to be unity in the Union it must , surely be based on per capita distribution . Unless we subscribe to unlimited money printing , revenue receipts decide what the pot is to be distributed . The distribution decision must then be fair and equal . There is a case for regional assistance essentially based on the need to bolster and incentivise ; if this is monitored effectively and openly reported it should not give rise to “unfair” cries . Scotland has done very well so far and has now reached the point of upsetting the applecart ; it has to be brought into line or face the reality that it will not be allowed to influence what goes on elsewhere in the Union .

  12. James Matthews
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    More business investment in Northern Ireland will undoubtedly mean less in England (and Scotland and Wales, but they can look after themselves). The main reason for choosing the north rather than the south of Ireland is going to be better access to Britain and its system of laws and welfare.

    Yet another sell out of English interests. We expect that of Labour and the LibDems, but from Conservatives it is a real betrayal (though we have also come to expect this from Cameron).

    Independence for England is becoming the only sensible option.

  13. formula57
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Nice. Although the problem with devolutionists is that eventually they run out of England’s money.

  14. formula57
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Nice. Although the problem with devolutionists is that they eventually run out of England’s money.

  15. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Am sure a whole bunch of empty heads in Brussels will draw up opposition policy on that kind of thing. Members managing their own taxes…oh dear.

    Why is the BBC is intensifying programmes about climate. This business of owning a broadcast receiving device and being taxed for one sided political activism and heavy brain washing by all too repetitious advertising is really intolerable. Simply contempt again! Direct into our living space.
    I need a TV to view at a reasonable size and resolution (quality) videos/internet using CDs and memory stick….why do I need a BBC licence/tax for that? A couple of pence for the old Wireless/Teleg Act perhaps…but thats all!

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Well, I’ve long argued that business taxes should be varied across the UK to encourage investment where it is most needed.

    However my suggestion was for a uniform UK-wide system operating on the level of local authority areas, rather than having the same tax rates across all of England and different tax rates across all of Scotland and/or Wales and/or Northern Ireland.

    The fact is that there are areas of England which need to see more private investment just as much as areas outside England, and conversely there are areas outside England which no more need extra private investment than the thriving areas of England.

  17. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Gosh!

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, Labour MPs in Scotland are pressing Miliband to rule out any deal with the SNP after the general election:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-labour-mps-demand-no-snp-pact-1-3709520

    I suspect that any such announcement by Miliband would go down better in England than in Scotland, many people in England being horrified at the prospect of an SNP tail wagging the Labour dog at Westminster; but then it is in England that Labour would have to gain a slew of extra seats to counter its losses in Scotland now that the SNP have successfully painted Scottish Labour as Red Tories.

    • DaveM
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      One would hope that is the case, and I am a generally optimistic person.

      However, as little as I know about Labour and its leader, I have a sneaking suspicion that as far as his personal ambition is concerned, he is similar to CMD. In other words, he will do absolutely anything to get into 10 Downing St; to hell with party loyalty, party pressure, etc. Those two things are just tools used by Cameron and Milliband (and their very close cronies) to cajole their party members into doing what they want.

      We’re not talking about Churchills or Wilsons here, we’re talking about career politicians who give less than a damn about their country, their electorate, and I dare say even their party. Those things are just vehicles to take them where they want to go financially and – in their minds – historically. Unfortunately for both of them, their only mention in history books will probably be entirely negative. I would imagine that if the LibDems were more successful that CMD and Milliband would have joined that party instead.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        @DaveM; “In other words, he will do absolutely anything to get into 10 Downing St; to hell with party loyalty, party pressure, etc. [..//..] Unfortunately for both of them, their only mention in history books will probably be entirely negative. I would imagine that if the LibDems were more successful that CMD and Milliband would have joined that party instead.”

        I find it really sad that some people just can’t accept that others have different political opinions/views, and that those opinions/views are perhaps more popular, they accuse such politicians (and indeed the Plebs who elect them) of being clone-like and wedded to personal ambition or vested interests etc. but then expect them to be clones in their own political image instead, then when they’re not we get comments such as above. 🙁

        It’s a nice sound-bite from the challenger party leaders etc. to claim that they are doing it all for purely altruistic reasons but there must be very few in politics, as in the film/media professions, who are not interesting in personal ambition even though they may deign it ever time they are asked.

  19. graham1946
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    If we are going through with all this devolved this and that, is it not time to reduce the size of Parliament? I would have thought we could do the job with 400 MP’s especially as most legislation emanates from the EUSSR. They’ve had nothing much to do since before Christmas so if we can do that for 6 months, why not permanently? Would keep the remainder busy and less like to come up with their lunatic schemes. Money saved all round.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      @graham1946; “I would have thought we could do the job with 400 MP’s especially as most legislation emanates from the EUSSR.

      Be careful of what you wish for, with larger constituencies your idea could unintentionally gerrymander either a permanent left bias or at least a Europhile one! Oh and of course being the democrat you are you would not wish for any suggestion the other way either…

      “[Parliament has] had nothing much to do since before Christmas so if we can do that for 6 months, why not permanently?”

      Because the UK doesn’t have a general election every year that’s why, and before this nonsense of fix term parliaments there would have been a full Queens Speech etc. for each of the parliamentary terms that would then either fall or be rushed through in the wash-up once the PM does calls the GE as very few parliaments ever went the full 5 year term to the month never mind day, as those that did often spelt the end of the incumbent government.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        I wonder how America manages with 5 times the population and a much smaller number of politicians than we ‘need’ to be democratic? According to your logic it would be more democratic to double the number of MP’s and halve the constituencies. No, not for me, thanks.

        I am actually a democrat as it happens (just because I don’t fall for the EU nonsense does not mean I am not, so don’t make assumptions). I don’t go in for built in majorities based on cloth cap/bowler hats. I’d like the whole lot overhauled. It’s all past it’s time. A new system for the 21st century with new representatives, not just party hacks doing only what the leader wants, however stupid and then running away from it all when that leader is deposed (Labour since 2010 for instance?). As for the EU how big are it’s constituencies? You reckon that lot is democratic?

        When I said about parliament having nothing to do for six moths, maybe I was not clear. Regardless of the fixed term, designed to give Cameron a full term, we still only have parliament in operation for about two thirds of the year, and many part time MP’s so it can be done with less people and full time working. Your point about any government going the whole way and losing is a good one as Cameron is about to find out.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          @graham1946; The logical conclusion to your argument about democracy, constituency numbers and size would see a one party state, not because all the MPs would be from one party but because the PM would; be the only MP, of course s/he would then have surround themselves with party minions. I think they call it an autocratic presidency!..

          Oh and by the way, I think you’ll find that it was the LDs who wanted the fixed term parliament. Also just because MP’s are not on the benches of the Commons doesn’t mean that they are not working full time, even should they not actually be within the Westminster village.

          “As for the EU how big are it’s constituencies? You reckon that lot is democratic?”

          In some ways, yes! How the EU is run is not, but the fact that someone who has been a socialist/capitalist all their lives can, if they need to, seek advice and help from an MEP that is -or close to- being of their political opinion and not have to deal with someone who they might distrust. As for size, yes most MEP constituencies are large but then we do not return a single MEP to represent them – and that is another point, some rural Westminster MPs already have problems being accessible to all their constituents simply because of the size and distances involved. OK, so email etc. can help but what of those who do not have access to a computer and/or the internet, perhaps even a telephone.

  20. Corin Vestey
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    John – am I right in thinking that you see corporation tax cuts as revenue reducers in the short-term but ultimately as revenue generators over the medium and certainly the long-term? Or is there something about the 20% level in particular?

    Reply I suspect 12.5% is below the tax maximising rate

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      So you’d rather raise more tax to pay people to sit on the dole from money which would otherwise be used to invest in productive equipment and to employ more people? Crazy. You are following your leaders into the socialist rabbit-hole. Where else do you think that 7.5% CT saving will go? Cream cakes for the Directors at Board meetings???

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        and before you say CT is relieved for these things, the concommitent working capital tied up in inventory, debtors less creditors, etc is NOT relieved…, and machinery isn’t relieved in the year of purchase, meaning being ripped off by a bank, selling equity or returning distributed profits less the income tax chunk… just to finance the growth denied by CT being filched from us to pay someone else for NOT working. A mad system.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Seems like a sensible move which allows NI to compete on a level playing field with Eire. As an English resident I’m not that bothered about subsidising another part of the UK so they can get higher employment etc. I am a bit surprised the EU/Eurozone allows different countries (ie. Eire) to have different business rates in the first place though.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Business rates are another area where this government has made us world leaders… we pay £2000 per employee for absolutely squat-diddly…

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        and £35000 per employee Corporation Tax, an average £10000 per employee PAYE and NI….
        I could go on

  22. oldtimer
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The UK tax system needs to be efficient (right now it is very inefficient) and globally competitive (right now it is not, though corporation tax is getting there). Whatever the argument for 12.5% in NI, who is looking at the financial issues raised by devolution in the round?

    Tax rates is one, distribution of taxes raised around the nations of the UK for their discretionary use is another, their borrowing powers is the third and the powers and funds retained for UK wide purposes (eg defence) is the fourth. Are you able to enlighten us? Or can we look forward to yet another, politically inspired, dogs breakfast.

    PS I think you mean public spending in line 4 of your second paragraph.

  23. behindthefrogs
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Cutting corporation tax is probably the wrong solution. The money could equally be used to reduce employers’ NICs. This is equally attractive for attracting new business but has the added advantage of improving the employment situation and the import/export situation.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      I would agree with that.

  24. mick
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    it`s obvious that Mr Cameron is scared to death of a four way debate with UKIP, thats why he`s asking for a one off 7 party way debate because he knows full well there will not be enought alotted time in 90 minutes for him to be mauled to death by Mr Farage,so if i was a TV company i would go ahead with or without the tories present and leave a empty chair

  25. ian
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Just tinkering around the edges again as usually.

  26. ian
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    The most likly outcome of the 2015 election is the con party to be the biggest party again, they might chose this time to go it along and have another election in 2016 or stay with the libs for anonther five years. Worst case lab/libs/snp government, a big spending government with most of the borrowed money as a percentage going to scotland by 2020 before scotland vote again on independance to leave england with another 800 billion of debt which would be 2.3 trillion pounds and with england having no choice but to declare it self bankrupt. ukip will support the con party all the way to try and persuade them to come out of the eu but with only about 5 seats. SNP will blackmail the labour party to give scoyland lots of money.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I think that with the downwards trend in support for Labour, converging with that of the Tory party, and the loss of upwards momentum by UKIP:

      http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

      it has now become difficult to predict even the most likely outcome of the 2015 election, except to say that no good will come from it.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      We now have a fixed-term parliament law which means the government can’t really “choose” when to have an election.

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The reason that Northern Ireland wanted a low rate of corporation tax is that the Republic of Ireland has one. Inch by inch, step by step, we are harmonising Northern Ireland with the Republic. What price the Union?

  • 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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