The EU taxes us rotten

We were always promised that the taxes we pay are a matter for UK voters and their elected Parliament at Westminster, not for the EU to impose.  When governments were signing away our power to govern ourselves they knew they had to reassure us that they would not let Brussels tax us.

 

They lied to us.

 

Today the overwhelming majority  of MPs want to abolish the tampon tax. We do not see this as some luxury product that deserves a 20% VAT charge, but as a necessity that should not be taxed at all. Brussels tells us we cannot do that.

 

Most MPs do not want to tax green products. We think people should be able to cut their fuel bills by buying draft excluder, insulation materials and better boiler and temperature controls free of VAT. Under Brussels rules the UK Parliament put a 5% VAT on, as we were told there had to be some  tax on  these helpful products. Last summer the EU took the UK government to the European Court. That Court, sovereign in the UK, has instructed the UK government to raise the VAT rate on these products to the full 20% standard rate.  The government and official opposition have of course delayed doing this until after the referendum.

 

So what does Mr Cameron tell us about our inability to choose our own taxes? He told us that in his “new deal” the EU would legislate to change its VAT laws, so we could abolish the tampon tax. He implied it might also  help with the green products.  After the deal the EU duly came out with proposals to change VAT, so I read them full of hope of a better tax future. I discovered that once again the EU had no intention of helping the UK.

 

Their consultation document on the changes they wish to make to VAT over the next couple of years contains no mention whatsoever of the UK renegotiation. It does not say the UK now has some “special status” as Mr Cameron says allowing us to change our tax rates. Instead the firm legislative proposals in their document are to centralise VAT more and to make cross border collection stronger.

At the end of the document they ask if there should be more flexibility for member states on VAT rates. They conclude that this could damage the single market, and would require the unanimous consent of all member states and the European Parliament. A document with firm proposals to centralise VAT more with promised EU legislation to do so has no firm promise of legislation to give us the flexibility we need.

 

The perverse and undemocratic nature of EU tax policies is underlined by their approach to company taxation. In the UK many people and all political parties think large companies should pay the full corporation tax the UK Parliament wishes to levy. We need the money for public services , and have cut the rate to one of the lowest in the advanced world to make it more likely companies will invest and work here and so pay our taxes. The EU spends much of its time considering legal cases from companies trying to get tax back from the UK, or trying to avoid future tax payments. According to the Treasury the UK lost more than £7000 million from company tax cases in the last Parliament, much of it thanks to the European Court and its decisions. The Treasury forecasts we could lose more over the next five years, as there are plenty of cases in the pipeline.

 

If the Treasury loses a case in UK courts under UK law, Parliament can quickly fix the law to restore the intended positon. Parliament can always legislate to make the tax levied legal.  If the Treasury loses a case in the European Court, as it has been doing, Parliament has to fix the law in favour of the companies  bringing the case. We have to legislate to tax them less.

 

The UK Parliament grew up to stop the King taxing people unfairly, and to make the King deal with people’s needs and grievances before collecting the tax. Today the EU has taken the place of the King, the sovereign. Parliament needs to have the power to stop the EU imposing on people taxes we do not agree with, and needs to have the power to collect taxes from big business we do agree with.

 

No wonder so many large corporations think we should stay in the EU. The EU is cutting the amount of tax they have to pay, at the cost of the rest of us who then have to put up with VAT on fuel, on green products and on tampons.  We need to leave the EU so we can set the taxes we think are fair. We could also afford to abolish VAT on  fuel out of saved EU contributions. That welcome change to families is illegal if we stay in the EU.

 

(This has appeared on the Telegraph site)

 

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23 Comments

  1. Chris S
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    The reports that serious discussions took place only last month between the original six founding members of the EU on greater integration including of military forces (clearly the EU Army is to become a reality but not till after the 24th ), demonstrate that those at the very heart of the EU are totally out of touch with reality.
    Even Tusk has said that there is no appetite for Ever Closer Union among the populations of member countries yet Hollande continues to lead the charge for “More Europe”, as if that will do anything other than drive countries even further apart.
    You can only ignore public opinion for so long until it turns round and bites you back.
    In this case, it might not be Brexit that deals the fatal blow but the voters of France in the rapidly approaching Presidential Election.
    Last time it took an unholy alliance of left and right parties to help Hollande defeat LePenn in the second round. Look how that turned out !
    For the last four years French voters have been forced to realise that their country is no longer in a dominating partnership of equals with German in running the EU.
    Nobody in France can be in any doubt that Merkel is now calling all the shots and Hollande is widely recognised as an embarrassing failure. He can do nothing right, even the unions are striking against his over-modest and long overdue labour reforms.
    No surprise, then, that 61% of French voters are now disillusioned with Brussels.
    It seems increasingly unlikely that the two traditional parties will be able to stitch up another deal to defeat LePenn in the second round of the Presidential election next year. She might even win in the first round.
    Forget Brexit, that will be a sideshow compared with the way LePenn will deal with Junkers and Merkel.

    • Andy
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Actually I hope Le Pen does win the French Presidency. With Brexit and her election the EU would be dead as a dodo.

  2. Chris S
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Even the most ardent Remainers ( Except CMD and his sidekick, obviously ), would struggle to argue against you on this topic !

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      They do not argue with logic they just lie instead. Just like Osborne’s lie about 5,000 undesirables being returned to EU member states.

  3. Caterpillar
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    (I apologise in advance for the flippancy of the following, when the issues are serious …)

    …but if the UK does not pay the tampon tax it ‘logically’ follows that funding for NHS will be cut, pensions won’t increase, mortgage rates will go up, prices of all goods will go up, science will cease to progress, world war 3 will start, the peace process in Ireland will end, car factories will close, jobs will be lost, financial centres will offshore, construction will cease, there will be no future for anyone under 35, Gibraltar will be handed to the Spanish, the Falklands will become the Malvinas, Scotland will leave the rUK, premiership football will stagnate, we will all become racist, we will all become quitters, air quality will go down, global warming will accelerate, the new PM will have the wrong hair colour …

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Well done Caterpillar on summing up the ridiculous claims from Cameron & co. This is how ridiculous it is all becoming. People are beginning to see that Cameron’s message of gloom and doom is doomed!!! Are there NO advantages to leaving the EU? Yes, I can accept that maybe some things might not be advantageous but it can’t all be bad news, surely? With responsibility for tax and many other issues being taken out of the control of Westminster why the hell do we need our politicians? They will end up controlling nothing!

  4. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    OT but this should frighten anybody who has kids at school. The FT tells us today that the “New head of UK schools watchdog ‘has no teaching experience’”. What sort of government is this? In a country where 22% of school leavers are functionally illiterate and employers cannot get skilled workers one of Cameron’s top priorities is to build a “spaceport”.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5f6ea704-2f29-11e6-a18d-a96ab29e3c95.html

    In all fairness to the new chief, from my experience, an “outstanding” rating from OFSTED = bog standard comprehensive

    • Jerry
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      @DRW; Not sure what the issue is here, sometimes people from outside of the sector make better inspectors as they have not been ‘indoctrinated’ by the system they might need to criticise. Hence why Judges and not social workers (or who ever) are put in charge of public enquires looking into care scandals etc, or for example, it used to be common that a retired senior military person (of an engineering backgrounds) would be appointed to investigate railway accidents.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      What experience do ministers have of their briefs? None usually and it shows. The one time a minister was appointed who actually knew what he was talking about was Frank Field and he was sacked in very short order because it doesn’t suit Prime Ministers to appoint people who are more able than they are. Hence, we get what we get. Barrel scraping becomes the norm after a few years of a new government.

  5. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I recall The Rt Hon Mr Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, casually dismissing the whole question of the EU controlling VAT in answer to a question from an MP in Parliament some time after The Rt Hon Mr Cameron PM returned from his so-named “renegotiation” in Brussels with other leaders from EU nation states.
    I trust all Commenters here at least keep a copy of their own comments if not everyone else’s. May come in handy someday. Who knows, there could be the equivalent of a Chilcot enquiry but of the Remain camp at some future date. After all, great amounts of money, billions, and whole lives are being directed and manipulated one way or another. And, as we know, the pus coming out of the Remain Camp; its “experts”, are not quite as expert as they seem to be. A mystery in itself begging a future exploration activity.

  6. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I see Rt Hon Mr. Cameron will be on the BBC Marr show later this morning. I shall watch it and make notes. He could confirm something crucial or deny something or other. Yes, yes, yes, I know the shows can be viewed later for a period of time online but who knows what happens to them then? The BBC loses stuff.Oh I’m serious.:-

    For example: Years ago I loved science and remembered the words of the first moon landing…it was like poetry to me, something to be repeated time and again in my mind.
    “One small step for Man: a giant leap for Mankind.” Imagine my disbelief when years later I heard ( with accompanying radio interference sizzling )
    “One small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind.”
    I then saw four other slight variations in national newspapers to those famous words. I rang a local radio station with my words.
    A few days later, it appeared someone had asked the BBC to clarify. guess what: they could not find the original recording of those famous once-in-a-lifetime words.
    Words change,sentence constructions change, meanings change and even the world famous BBC can forget and mislay.

    • Dennis
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      “One small step for Man: a giant leap for Mankind.”

      Yes that is what he said but it is of course a tautology – pity such a mistake occurred on such an occasion.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        I would have enjoyed it more had he bent down an picked up some moom dust and said “My God! It really is green cheese!”

        • Mockbeggar
          Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          Apologies; that should have read ” ..bent down and picked…” – or at least “…bent down an’ picked…”.

  7. APL
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “They lied to us.”

    Just curious, who is ‘They’?

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Power to Farage’s elbow this morning on Andrew Marr. He gave an excellent interview – measured, professional and informative. Marr continually tried to aggravate him into saying something controversial but it didn’t work. Compare that with Cameron and the Remainiacs. Threatening and forecasting doom and gloom. Farage was talking common sense showing there will be a way forward if our politicians get behind the nation and take it forward in the correct way. Farage seems to have matured during this debate and today was certainly an asset to the Leave side. As I type this I can hear Cameron in the back ground spouting the same old threats. Sickening!

  9. acorn
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    VAT is the primary EU tax, it will be the first EU uniform tax to go into the EU Treasury, when it is formed. The EU does not want any variations on VAT rates or items, across member States. VAT can be manipulated as a form of State Aid, which again, the EU wants a single uniform application EU wide.

    As far as I understand it from the Lawyers, lost tax cases at the ECJ, are because UK law falls foul of EU controlled foreign company taxation rules and group loss tax relief rules.

    Also, after Brexit the UK will be outside the EU Customs Union and the “EU Customs Duty Regulations”, will not apply. “EU Regulations” are EU laws; “EU Directives” are turned into UK laws, Regulations don’t; they evaporate on Brexit. Get ready importers 😉 😉 😉

  10. Dioclese
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Simple question : What’s in it for Cameron and Osborne?

    Could it be a nice job in the EU when he steps down and a PM’s job for Osborne? Why else are they lying to us?

    I put up a simple YouTube video on my blog this morning showing Cameron telling the CBI in November 2015 that the UK would thrive outside the EU. Watch it and weep…

    Lies, lies and more lies. Enough is enough.

  11. agricola
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Tax Harmonisation is Plan A for the EU and that includes VAT, be in no doubt. With the greatest respect to Tampon purchasers they are a portion of half the population of the UK. However everyone buys food or has it bought for them. Vat ,called IVA in my part of Europe varies from 4% to 21%, most of it is at 10% on food. Have no doubt you in the UK will be paying something similar on your food bills if we remain. This somewhat contradicts the remain mantra of more expensive food bills if we leave.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      We already have food bills more expensive than need be in the EU due to CAP and the fortress Europe mentality which keeps out world priced food from other areas.

      Why the Leave side don’t hammer this one, I don’t know. Its the most basic thing we buy. Telling the public food bills will fall if we leave would be a good positive point. Far better than arguing over whether we can do trade deals or not and it would keep the Remainers on the back foot. They need to be answering our points, not us theirs.

  12. Bert Young
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    When you are “lied” to or misled by your representatives there is only one solution – get rid of them . Leadership has to be trusted and always relied on to do what the voters want , this is the very essence of democracy . The trouble with leadership is the interference of ego getting in the way of responsibility and purpose ; those who abuse their office will always get found out and suffer the consequences . This is the position Cameron and Co are in today .

    We all know very well that the “negotiated” settlements that Cameron triumphed to the country were hogwash ; it was quickly stated that the EC could disregard them and they would never be allowed to materialise . Enough of this hypocrisy ! change the leadership and rid ourselves of the ridiculous over-ruling EU system .

  13. Ian Wragg
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Watching Cameron on Marr,s show he’s a disgrace. Now we have project threat.
    He’s going to destroy my pension if I don’t vote for Remain.
    No sign of cutting foreign aid.
    I think he has just lost some more wavering voters

  14. graham1946
    Posted June 12, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Tax harmonisation may well take place in the future , but this does not excuse what governments have done up to then. When we leave it will not matter. The Tampon tax is a minor issue (except for the principle) when they cost less than a pound a pack, but what is not a minor issue is the 5 percent hike done by Osborne to standard rate VAT and his refusal to lower it. He has clobbered everyone with this. He is quite free to lower the standard rate down to 5 percent if he wanted to. If he did lower it, at least somewhat, he would have another hole in his budgets, but if he learned to properly control government spending, more money would be in the economy in the hands of the people who make it and would spend it, thereby over time boosting the economy and increasing the tax take from prosperity, not from pauperising the populace.

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    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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