Change in the High Street

I am a man who likes going to the shops. It is good to see the merchandise, look at how the stores present and price their products, and be able to talk to the staff about the rival claims and characteristics of items on display. When buying fresh  vegetables and fruit it is good to choose the items in person. When buying clothes it helps to try them on before purchase. I am well aware I need to buy some things from my local convenience store on a regular basis if I want it to be there in future when I need an item in a hurry.   I am also busy, so I find the internet is a great way to buy things I already know about. I can buy them  quickly at any time of the day or evening, any day of the week, often at good prices.

Collectively we consumers are voting for more and more of our buying by internet. The market share of mail order never got much above 10%. Internet purchases are now fast approaching a quarter of all things bought from retailers, which is taking a large chunk out of the turnover of traditional High Street stores that rely on sales through their shops. As a result some High Street chains and individual shops are struggling to compete and survive. The big brand retailers that have developed a good internet offer alongside their stores, and have learned how to use internet and shop together to meet customer demands, work well and are still profitable.

The recent decision of Mr Ashley to re brand House of Fraser as the Harrods of the High Street, seeking to trade from most of the old House of Fraser units, will be a bold challenge. Can he find the right merchandise at the right prices for these stores? Can he train and maintain  the right expertise and customer friendliness in the staff so people come back to the stores? Will he be able to add an on line offer and approach that is complementary to the shops?

The Treasury  has done it bit to hasten the decline of the weaker shop groups by combining high business rates on retail premises with demands for  National Insurance on higher wages ( wage rises which are needed), and new  pensions and training levies that raise the staff costs more for the traditional retailer than for the internet competitor. I hear the Chancellor sounding off about imposing an extra tax on the internet competitors on the principle that if it is working and going well let’s tax it. I don’t understand why he thinks we need to tax business more when you can never  have enough successful business. He would be better employed working out how to get the tax burden down on the High Street, than on thinking up plans to tax the successful newer businesses in ways which may discourage their investment in the UK.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

155 Comments

  1. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    We need Change in the Cabinet sooner rather than later. The next Prime Minister will need to appoint several new faces who can deliver better policies.

    • Hope
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      JR, I read your manifesto again yesterday it defies belief how much of it is the exact opposite of what May and your govt is actually doing. It could ont even be described as an ambition or direction to head in. Look at your tax section where it states about low taxes. We have the highest taxation in fifty years! Look at the section on the business/industrial strategy! Look at the garbage about entrepreneurs and manufactured goods. It is utter rot and made redundant by May’s two capitualtion papers. Look at immigration currently highest on record, look at Brexit it is utter rubbish, criminal justice etc. Even on your website it states British courts having supremacy again, utter rubbish. Courts and laws have to act under ECJ jurisprudence that means within the case law of the ECJ. Transport? Again, your manifesto, written not that long ago, is not worth the paper it s written on.

      Your manifesto states it will act for the majority of mainstream people, not where Brexit is concerned, not in taxation, not in immigration, not in business not in criminal justice. It is pitiful. It also states Britain will be the world lead at meritocracy! Look at May’s honour list!

      • Oxiana321
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes, quite so. What a terrible indictment of the Conservative party today. I do see this as being the product of the competition to occupy the centre ground since the Blairite days and this is reflected in the make up of the parliamentary party and their ‘wet’ politics. The current backlash, erroneously (and very deliberately) called populism, is merely a reversion to long-held Conservative beliefs. I am sad to say it, but I see too little in the present organisation of the vision, zeal and sense of purpose of the party that rescued the country from oblivion at the start of the 1980s.

      • Bob
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        “your manifesto, written not that long ago, is not worth the paper it s written on”

        An utter disgrace. This is as bad as any mis-selling scandal I’ve seen.
        Someone needs locking up.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Indeed what is needed is the complete opposite of the insane May/Hammond tax and regulate to death socialism – just as JR rightly points out.

      • Chris
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Well, well, Mrs May adds another “trophy” to add to her collection: a “moronic” Brexit leaflet specially produced in Lib Dem colours for local Conservative Associations to deliver through letterboxes. I think heads need examining. This really is quite staggering. The Cons Party has a terminal condition.
        https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1002811/Brexit-news-Theresa-May-Tory-leaflet-latest
        Brexiteers FURIOUS as May releases ‘moronic’ Tory leaflet promoting her Brexit plan
        Eurosceptic Tory MPs were in revolt today over an “utterly moronic” party leaflet promoting Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
        (Not my capitals).

        • Timaction
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Like the £9 million for the Cameron’s propaganda leaflet to keep us in the EU! Absolutely useless and dishonest. Corruption reigns in Westminster. We need to clear the swamp and start again with a proper voting system to destroy fptp where the often its the best of the worst options. I simply will not vote as JRM has no say on policy and is just lobby fodder, unfortunately like many Brexiteers. No guessing why!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      The policies needed are virtually the exact opposite of the ones currently being pushed by the socialist, remainer, tax ’til the pip squeak and piss down the drain dopes T May and P Hammond.

      Lower taxes, more freedom, smaller government, cancel HS2 and Hinckley, a clean Brexit, a bonfire of red tape, free trade and cheap reliable energy is what is needed. Real Conservative Policies for a change in fact.

      Are these fools really going to send Boris to a re-education camp? That should make a good article in the Telegraph. Will the 70%+ of people who support his right to free speech have to go to an indoctrination camp to?

      • Peter Wood
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        LL,
        You last para., May really has opened a can of worms on this one, her naivete shows through, and her advisers are incompetent.
        I see from one paper that many MP’s are planning on being ‘busy elsewhere’ during the party conference; perhaps Mrs May is the one MP that should NOT be there!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          Well she was given her P45 last time! The conference with be a sick joke with May & Hammond.

          I am still optimistic the we can change to a sensible leader, obtain a real and clean Brexit, win the next election and avoid Corbyn/SNP. But May and Hammond are certainly are doing all they can to kill this optimism (and indeed kill the economy).

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx

      Nothing has changed in all these years. Nothing sums up the political Establishment better.

      Online retailing. A free market technology solution that works for consumers, producers and suppliers. (Nobody is forced to use Amazon)

      Smart meters: A government technology solution that doesn’t work and consumers don’t want it. (Everyone will be forced to use smart Meters)

      Electric cars: A government technology solution that doesn’t work and will require extremely expensive and unreliable infrastructure changes.(Everyone will be forced to use electric cars)

      Renewable Energy: A government technology solution that doesn’t work and requires huge subsidies. (Everyone will be forced to pay extra for Renewable Energy)

  2. Cheshire Girl
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    It would help if there was adequate public transport, to enable people to travel to the local shops.

    My Husband recently passed away, I dont drive, and the internet has been my saviour. I have had occasion where I really needed to get into local town, and have had to rely on neighbours and expensive taxis. There are places all over the country where communities are cut off because of he lack of a reliable bus service. We dont all live in London or the cities!

    • DUNCAN
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Cheshire Girl

      Sincere condolences. Keep strong

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        seconded

        • Chris
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. It is incredibly hard for people in your position.

    • Al
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      I agree completely. Transport is a major issue. Both poor public transport and a lack of car parking near shops is dropping footfall and making using stores less convenient.

    • getahead
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      And for those who do drive less expensive parking would help.

      • David L
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Reading’s doubling of parking charges has put me off going there at all…do their Council really want to lose customers for their Town?

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I am sure Mr Hammond and Mrs May never use Amazon. Most of the things we buy from Amazon are from third parties suppliers, mainly small businesses based in the UK.

      A tax on Amazon would be a tax on both us buyers and these small UK suppliers. There are many things that can be bought on Amazon that can’t be bought on even the most thriving High Street.

      Recently we have bought batteries for our obsolete Blackberries, a battery for our obsolete TomTom SatNav, a small cross for a grave, some silk flowers for a grave.

      Why should we all spend half the day traipsing around a town centre, looking for something that might not even be available, just because the Soviet Era Hammond/May PR department says we should.

      Cinemas did not kill the Theatre, Television did not kill the Cinema, Video did not kill the Radio star and the internet will not kill the High Street. It will just adapt and change naturally for whatever is not suitable on the internet.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree Stephen.
        In addition most companies have both high street and internet sales options.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Not suitable on the internet:- Coffee bars, restaurants, pubs, hair dressing, nail bars, personal services like osteopathy, tanning salons ….

  3. Ian wragg
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The Chancellor would be better off in another job.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Being a rather damp weekend I read the draft withdrawal agreement following a link from another poster.
      The whole document besides being written in complicated legalise speak, is entirely for the benefit of the EU.
      There is not a single clause that doesn’t refer to the ECJ and the appropriate TEU for guidance.
      Two things stand out the first is that anyone who sets foot on these shores until the end of the transition period, they and their heirs and successor can stay here and be afforded the whole panoply of benefits and social housing.
      Second the £39 billion will be paid at their behest irrespective of the rest of the agreement being accepted. The third was to do with the common rule book all manufacturers will comply with EU legislation even if the goods are not going to be exported.
      Obviously our negotiators are employed by the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Something in the private sector where he has to deal with all the insane rules, regulations and moronic tax complexity and absurdly high taxes that he and Osborne have lumbered us with. This to educate him in all the many ways he and government damage the UK’s ability to compete and produce efficiently. The highest for over 40 years and yet still so little by way of value is ever returned to the public by way of decent public services.

    • Adam
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The nation would be better off if he were in a different job; preferably something harmless.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Preferably outside Government.

    • acorn
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      The next guy that gets put into the job after Hammond, will do exactly the same as Hammond and Osborne before him. The Conservative ideology has to be applied regardless.

      The “Conservative Party” (and its ideology), HAS TO SURVIVE REGARDLESS of the socio-economic status of our nation and its people. You should think of political parties in identical terms to the Borg Collective in Star Trek.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        acorn

        This is totally true , they will continue to implement Blair type socialism lite

    • L Jones
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      I wonder what other job he might be able to do – efficiently and effectively, that is? Perhaps at his age, it’s too late to change.
      But then, he doesn’t need the money, does he?

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Indeed plus of course all the motorist mugging that goes on by councils, to fund their gold plated pensions and salaries. Reduce rates, stop motorist mugging, relax planning and convert some shops back to residential or other use.

    This idiotic government seems determined to waste billions on HS2, just so we can save a few minutes getting to Birmingham should we want to. Yet keep people waiting over two and half hours at Heathrow (and other airports) just through gross incompetence. They know after all in advance how many are arriving, when and how long each person takes to process. It cost just they same if you do it after a long wait or directly. Perhaps even more as you need the waiting space for them and they are more agitated.

    Boris is right again today in the Telegraph. Reduce stamp duty now it is a hugely damaging up to 15% tax (as turnover taxes nearly always are). Hammond (perhaps because he is an Oxford PPE man) is clearly an economically illiterate to his finger tips.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      This added to all the delays already caused by lack of runway slots at Heathrow and Gatwick – due to governments delays and incompetence.

  5. sm
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    What you recommend John, as usual, is simply a large dose of common sense.

    Unfortunately – to put it mildly – common sense appears to have fled from 95% of the political class on all sides and at every level, regardless of the issue. The behaviour of the Government and Conservative Party, let alone the Opposition Parties, has moved from farce to hysteria and tragedy.

    Like so many others, I worked damned hard for many years to support the Conservative Party – unpaid, at considerable financial and indeed physical cost – because I believed that having a Conservative Govt was probably the best way of helping the country to be run properly. I gritted my teeth in the Major years, and as a senior London officer during the years in opposition saw good and bad (in all Parties) at high levels from ‘behind the curtain’.

    On a personal level, it was an enduring privilege to meet and work with some dedicated, honest and principled individuals (like yourself) – on a practical level, I currently feel that I wasted 25 years of my life.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Alas so few Tory MPs are “dedicated, honest and principled individuals” who believe in Conservative principles. Perhaps only about 100. The rest are Career Politicians and many including the the current PM and Chancellor are essentially just daft, misguided socialists.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      sm

      You hit the nail on the head. This is why I keep harping on about having a strong leader with a true Conservative Brexit pedigree.

      I have done my bit too over the years although I was never a party official, but it makes me feel angry and betrayed that I supported what I thought were like-minded people, only to find out subsequently that they were no such thing and I’d been had.

      You say you had to grit your teeth in the Major years – you shouldn’t have needed to! He was one of the worst leaders the party has ever had. Unfortunately, the present-day Tory party has another one in his image, and Cameron wasn’t a great deal better. They are alive with wishy-washy remainer types, and they should never have been allowed in.

      We take them at their word, only to be disappointed. Maybe the Conservative Party ought to be called ‘The Lemming Party’ because every so often, they seem to be hell-bent on committing electoral suicide. Yet there are still good people whom the public can warm to. Just watch the expressions on people’s faces when Jacob Rees-Mogg engages with them. They like his eloquence and honesty, where Mrs May is treated with disdain and contempt and irretrievably so.

      Tad

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Tad. Agree. 3 cheers for JRM who speak his mind and talks sense. Boris too.

      • Timaction
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        You’re right. I was a life long Tory voter until 2010, when I saw the light following Cameron’s appointment. He and Theresa May could easily sit in a Lib Dem seat or New Labour, as could Grieve, Souberry, Morgan and most of the remainers. As more powers were ceded by stealth Westminster had less and less to do so it seems a bit of a doddle to chip up to vote as you are told in a part time unqualified job. It matters not what party their in as the current Tory’s are more socialist than Nu Labour.

  6. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Hammond’s solution to everything is more tax. If he taxes Amazon more guess who will be paying for it ?!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Plus more tax complexity, more borrowing, more red tax and more endless government waste. The complete reverse to what is needed.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Most shop staff now know very little at all about the stuff they sell I find.

    • Gary C
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Yes it’s sad but like restaurant staff they are most often treated as temporary and therefore disposable.
      Giving them proper training and paying them accordingly would result in a better experience for customers and employers alike.

    • Bernard from Bucks.
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Went into Halfords the other day.
      “Can I help you Sir?”
      “Yes, I’m looking for some Whitworth spanners.”
      “Sorry Sir. We only sell our own make.”

      • Geoff not Hoon
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Brilliant.

      • Ian wragg
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        I have some which I use in my bike restoration. Unfortunately you only see them on the internet or at car bike faires.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Bernard

        “We only sell our own make”

        Love it, but of course I am a time served engineer, so appreciate the ignorance of knowledge.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Better off at a car boot sale for such things.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Or eBay which is excellent for such things.

      • F Dixon
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        At least you were asked ‘Can I help you?’. All too often it’s ‘Are you alright?’ Which has no relevance to shopping unless it’s a rhetorical question. Shop assistants do need training and not just in how to operate the cash machine. Just today I went into a House of Fraser shop which is due to close next year and just about every shop assistant there wished me good day and offered assistance. Shame it was not like that before HoF got into so much financial difficulty, they might just have improved their footfall as it was the shop was like the Marie Celeste.

        • L Jones
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          You actually got the word ”are” at the beginning, then? Usually, what passes for ”can I help you?” is ”yorl rite?” – but, even worse, is ”THERE YOU GO” instead of ”thank you”. Or, even, nothing at all.

      • Martyn G
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        I have a boat with a 1979 Ford 1600cc crossflow engine. Needed a socket set and spanners to suit. Went into Halfords and asked if they had any imperial, AF, BSF or Whitworth sockets and spanner sets. Friendly staff had not a clue as to what I was on about.
        Subsequently found and purchased everything that I needed off the internet, to my great satisfaction (and the engine)….

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        I thought it was only millennials that needed constant hand holding. Your spanners would have been on the shelf.

        However the staff at Maplins would have been able to help you and would have discussed your need at the same time. Genuine enthusiasts. Unfortunately most shoppers took their advice and then made their purchases on the Internet sending a service orientated company into administration. No quid pro quo from the shoppers so you get that for which you are prepared to pay.

    • Bob
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Some would stuggle to tie their shoelaces.

  8. DUNCAN
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    A low calibre politician and deeply untrustworthy. Birds of feather

  9. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    It makes sense to me to tax online retailers fairly compared with real estate retailers. A company that off-shores its operation for tax reasons shouldn’t enjoy an advantage over companies that pay business rates.
    I’m all for reducing tax burdens, so please shrink the bloated state.

    Reply We welcome foreign investing companies into the UK, and they do pay UK taxes on their UK business.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Dave

      I guess you’ve singled out one company ( Amazon) as an example to the 100,000 other small businesses that would levy the tax on , any logical reason for that? . You seem oblivious to two facts. 1) Its the customers who will pay the tax 2) Amazon pay huge amounts of business rates on their warehouses, storage and distribution hubs.

  10. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Staff in stores need to be trained better so they are able to inform the customer about the goods they wish to purchase. I find with the internet that a bigger choice is available. Some major retailers don’t have large stores so their stock is limited. Perhaps a way of showing items that are more suitable to the customer but available to order online might be a way of progressing. If a customer knows what they want (shoes, dress etc) and knows what colour, style etc they are after then maybe having one item as an example might help and then make it easy for the customer to order online from the store. At least then they would get an idea of what the item will look and feel like when it comes. I often order clothes and then find I hate the material when it arrives. If I had already had the chance to feel it in the store then this problem would not arise. I know that is difficult with all stores but the major ones could do this and some of the medium sized stores too.

    Of course Hammond wants to tax success. It’s what he’s all about. I noticed that on the ED Balls programme last night about Trump the rich were being taxed less but also the poor were getting a bonus. It was feeding down and that is what needs to happen here. I just wish Balls could interview some ‘normal’ Americans instead of the out of the ordinary people!!

  11. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Agreed John, but:

    Once again we have a Chancellor who’s mind is all about screwing more tax from us in any way he can.

    No matter who or how he taxes, the final account is always settled/paid by the end user/purchaser.

    I understand he is now looking at ways of trying to simplify/revise Inheritance tax.

    Remember the pledge made by the then Conservative Chancellor of more than 10 years ago, of £1,000,000 in order to get votes.
    Then at £325,000, we are still waiting.
    We then get the new vastly increased probate cost/tax of up to £20,000 just for the signing off of paperwork, which takes exactly the same amount of time, no matter what the size of your estate.

  12. Jumeirah
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “I don’t understand why he thinks we need to tax business more………..” Hang on a minute : as I understand it many of these huge,powerful Internet Competitors and others have been allowed to get away with an apparent loophole in the Tax Laws whereby they pay minimum UK tax and squirrel away the remaining huge profits to various Countries within the EU who offer very attractive tax incentives to do so. (That’ s not their fault – both parties take the opportunity and seize it and why not?). However the cost of all this is being met by our High Street Retailers who simply CANNOT continue to meet it. Tighten the Tax Laws – close down the loopholes and do it now. HMRC know where these loopholes are so give them the power/legal authority to do so.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Jumeirah

      Oh my word, some actual reality for you

      1) The are 100,000’s of small internet retailers in the UK , not just Amazon

      2) Amazon pays NI & workplace pensions on 27,000 uk employees

      3) Amazon pays business rates and vast amounts of VAT

      4) High St retailers aren’t meeting the costs of anything to do with the internet, thats a nonsense statement

      5) When delivery charges are added a lot of items purchased on the internet are slightly more expensive

      6) I run an internet company, I have an office , i pay business rates on it, please explain why I should pay MORE because its not a shop?

      7) This is the big one

      Internet retailing is NOT about price its about AVAILABILITY . No bricks and mortar store can stock the range of products that an internet retailer can. Its called a LONGTAIL . Its convenience. No amount of taxing CUSTOMERS to pay more will save High Street retailers. You may as well tax trains to save the horse and cart freight market

      ps I guess you also dont know that the two worst culprits of transfer pricing ( offsetting CT to other EU countries) are both….. wait for it Bricks and mortar retailers , neither of them doing business on the internet

      pps HMRC dont need any laws, when we leave the EU single market they can’t do it any more. If we dont leave I’m afraid you’re stuck with it as its a fundamental principle of the single market

  13. quinton richards
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    With the brouhaha about the Chancellor’s seemingly unreflective reaction to the …….. scandal of the internet organisation paying lower taxes than the High St to make it a level playing field has two significant deficiencies: one is it does not address the asymmetry of buying prefences already exhibited by the british public i.e. it is not a given that the buying decisions are binary: either buy high st v internet. Second, the tax affect is to lower purchasing as a whole over the discretionary spend of the consumer. Neither of these factors underlying are directly going to help the high st.

    If there is a way of making the tax levy equalised without specifying which type of business is preferable as the government as a general rule should be keeping out of those decisions one could look at the Texan revenue process for inspiration where a franchise tax is levied on companies selling into Texas where revenue is above $1.1m in the following manner:

    The Texas franchise tax rate for most businesses is .75% of the taxable margin. However, for qualifying wholesalers and retailers (meaning, generally, businesses primarily engaged in wholesale or retail trade), the rate is 0.375%. Also, for businesses with $20 million or less in total revenue that elect to use the so-called E-Z Computation, the rate is 0.331%. (E-Z Computation is not covered here.)

    The taxable margin, on which the franchise tax is based, is equal to the least of the following four amounts:

    70% of total revenue
    100% of total revenue minus cost of goods sold (COGS)
    100% of total revenue minus compensation; or
    total revenue minus $1 million.

    N.B. there is a sales tax of 8.25% that is collected and remitted to the state comptroller by companies operating but not necessarily located in Texas. source: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/franchise/

  14. Know-Dice
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Certainly more tax is not the answer.

    A couple of years back when we refitted our kitchen, I researched all we needed on the Internet then went to a local company in Woodley and they matched the Internet prices – so it can be done….

    I do avoid Reading at all costs mainly because of the cost of parking – yes I know there is Park & Ride, but I’m not sure that the potential savings are really worth the hassle for me 🙁

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It looks as if Boris fancies a go at being Chancellor.

    • rose
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      The PM is First Lord of the Treasury.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Anything (other than John Mc Donnall) would be an improvement on Hammond. Boris would be infinitely preferable to him.

      The first things that any new chancellor should do would be a loosen the OTT bank lending restrictions, cut stamp duty, cut CGT, abolish 45% income tax and keep the £1M each IHT promise (made about 8(?) years back by the appalling Osborne). Then give tax relief for private health care and voucher you can top up for education.

      • Chris
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        The first thing should be a lesson from President Trump and his economic advisers. They are doing rather a lot of things right.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          That would be the President Trump whose tax policies are projected to increase the US federal deficit to over $1 trillion/year by 2020. For comparison, in Obama’s last year in the White House it was $587 million.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Peter
            In previous posts you told me running a big government deficit is a good thing.

          • Jagman84
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

            Projected by whom? The MSM? Democrats? The source is everything for such forecasts.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

            @Edward, when I made a reference to a big government deficit has been in relation to Kansas and the failure of Laffer’s ideas in the real world. At no point did I claim that was a good thing.

            @Jagman, the US Federal Reserve is the the source, and the US deficit is currently running at around double what the Fed predicted.

  16. agricola
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Don’t expect any form of original thinking from our chancellor or the civil service who fill the treasury. None of them have run an ice cream van, nor could they. I despair of the quality of intellect that currently runs the UK. They are just another burden on enterprise. Tell me what works in the UK apart from the security services and an under funded military. Everything the government has a hand in is a failure, and they do their damnedest to ensure that private enterprise is throttled too, while queuing up for their Ks.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Nearly half of GDP wasted by government while producing virtually nothing of real value at all.

  17. JoolsB
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    That’s what happens when you have a socialist PM and socialist Chancellor in charge. Boris has come up with a sensible suggestion this morning to abolish stamp duty but this tax and spend pair will have none of it. Who’d have thought a Conservative Government would be trying to find ever more ways to tax us instead of putting taxes down?

    John, how many more times, please get those signatures and get rid of these two now because if you don’t, they will take the whole Tory party down with them come the next election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      That is indeed what will happen. May and Hammond are huge electoral liabilities they must go. Might as well have socialist who admit to being socialists the public will say rather than ones pretending to be Tories.

  18. stred
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    My smart word alterer was stolen from my car when I pressed the wrong button on the key, so I went into the supermarket to buy another one. They advertised the price and details but the assistant could not find an unlocked model and only had a locked phone at £10 more. We agreed that this was odd, as it usually costs money to have a phone unlocked. He told me that ‘click and collect’ had been cancelled but, as I hate having to stay in for 3 days awaiting delivery, I was surprised to find that it hadn’t and now it should be coming to my local store in 2 days. This morning they emailed a new clubcard number, which I don’t want and I have to go online and create something in order to use it. It took about 10 minutes to find a way to put the expiry date of my bank card in and I had to find a little line at the side to drag in the end. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the management just had the product in the shop and customers didn’t have to waste so much time.

    By the way 50 Conservative MPs describing themselves as ‘moderate’ have formed a group to oppose those extremists who want to be difficult, actually leave the EU and keep the promises that these moderates voted for previously. Can you publish a list with mugshots please so that we can identify these in time for the next election or if we pass them in the street.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/08/12/tory-battlelines-drawn-chequers-backing-bloc-forms-challenge/

  19. JoolsB
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Imagine the difference if we had a proper Tory Government – Boris as PM with JRM as Foreign Secretary and our host as Chancellor. A definite vote winner. Instead under May and Hammond, the party masquerading as Tories are heading for a massive fall.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Look on the internet for the amount of foreign aid that has been dished out and to whom.
      Since 2011 over £100 billion to some of the biggest despots in the world. And it’s all borrowed money.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I could go for that Jools. A true Conservative party again. I might actually vote for it too.

      • Gary C
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • L Jones
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Great scenario, JoolsB. And, as you say, a vote winner.
      If only….

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Certainly an overhaul of the tax system is necessary though the Chancellor’s ideas seem somewhat misplaced. If he does blindly go ahead and introduce an additional internet sales tax / internet rates will the tax revenue be used to reduce business rates. I think two other things should be asked (i) apart from business rates and web based competition what else is contributing to the downfall of some high streets (e.g. People no longer to on to some smaller towns as they no longer have bank branches, so they go to the town that does, reducing footfall within the smaller town, parking is a high additional cost to purchase, public transport is poor / not available / unpleasant …) (ii) assuming e-businesses do dominate and the current high street model retreats, how do we want our towns to look to maintain (reestablish) social cohesion and tolerance – losing convenient shopping and even pubs impacts local, frequent short interactions.

  21. BOF
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree on cutting taxes, I also think that some kind of turnover tax to replace business rates needs to be considered to level the playing field and prevent Amazon & others from paying cheap out of town rates on turnover of billions!

    And for goodness sake, we really need banks in towns around the country. What is the reason for no small challenger banks filling the void John?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      BOF

      Blimey there are some ignorant people about. Have you any idea on the difference in turnover and its effect? How much turnover does a jet engine maker make and why should they pay a vast amount of tax compared to say a florist with a tiny turnover .

      Why you think out of town warehouse business rates are less than in town Ive no idea

      Please explain how your tax ideas, will “level” the playing field , then you might also let us know why you think competitive advantage is a bad idea

  22. a-tracy
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Village is humming with life, shopping bags and kerching’ing tills. Whilst the nearby state of the art M&S is like a dead zone, our local town is dead on its feet other than the Supermarket who took all their trade.

    As a loyal M&S shopper for most of my life it makes me sad to see the clothing choices, the colours this season, mustard and an awful green – really! Dull as dishwater. The only thing I buy there now is food, I sometimes buy shoes but I couldn’t find a pair of black work shoes in amongst the hundreds of shoe lines in the store that I would wear.

    Sometimes the wrong thing is being blamed for a stores demise, Next is the same boring, dull, old-fashioned. If my Mum, my daughter and I shop together there is nothing that appeals to any of us. The ‘Home’ sections are virtually empty of people, yet IKEA is booming, give people what they want. Homes are getting smaller, chunky furniture is out, kids don’t like dusting so they want minimal signature pieces not loads of china and nic nacs. If Mike Ashley gets an Ikea like concession in House of Fraser boom because walking around Ikea’s over-busy store is a nightmare when you just want a side table or lamp. Start asking people what they are looking for, my mother has been trying to buy a bedside cabinet but it has to be narrow 30cm three draws so all the space is usable she doesn’t like the internet because she wants to see it first, 18 months later can’t find one. W

    All Mike Ashley needs to do in my opinion is take a walk around the outlet, look what is selling like hot cakes, look at the lovely sitting areas, the pleasure of walking around without bumping into stands and shoulder high rails poking out, the light and freshness that encourages you to linger.

    You’ve only got to see the greed settling in with more stores coming in at the cost of the car park, big mistake, the new narrow sections, where the tall hoardings are, rush people through, there must be something psychological about enclosed spaces that speed people up and stop them from going into those stores as they now rush past old stores need to move with the times and the people with the money and their desires now.

    Taxing the internet just makes everything more expensive, if things go up online they’ll go up in store too, you’ve only to look at new build flats in London, your parties schemes to get youngsters onto the ladder just put an extra £100,000 into the builders hands rather than benefitting the buyers – its ridiculous you let the big builders get away with this and they keep their hands on half the flats because they’ve stopped people being able to afford the full cost – it just stinks.

  23. Christine
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with your article. Any additional tax on internet shopping will be passed on to the customer. Local authorities and the Government should be looking at ways to reduce business taxes to help the high street compete. Also, they should make it easier and cheaper for shoppers to park near town centres. Many small internet sellers work on tiny margins and have high postage costs. The chancellor seems to jump on any excuse to raise taxes without looking at the consequences. He would be better off fixing what’s already there by closing the loopholes and stopping the large multi-national moving profits off-shore to lower tax countries like Ireland.

  24. Chris
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Put and end to the exorbitant parking charges in so may towns, and bring back short term free parking on the street (e.g. 20 mins).

    • Martyn G
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      In most Oxfordshire towns (not city) and villages, parking is free for 1 hour, providing you get a ticket to display from the newly upgraded parking machines. It definitely does work and encourages people to do their shopping their. Why cannot all Councils do the same, I wonder? Greed, perhaps?

  25. Colin
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Surely taxing companies like Amazon more is good.

    We currently have a very unlevel playing field where established High Street traders pay their tax dues but internet-only multinationals get away with paying a pittance.

    I’ve even come across camera companies with premises in the UK doing nearly all their sales via the web without charging VAT hence undercutting our loyal big stores by that amount. However most of their customers go the the High Street stores first to make their selection with the hands-on and advice experience they provide.

    Little wonder the High Street is getting boarded up and thousands are rejoining the dole queue.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ve even come across camera companies with premises in the UK doing nearly all their sales via the web without charging VAT hence undercutting our loyal big stores by that amount.

      Have you reported them to HMRC? How can they get away without charging VAT?

      And, what is ‘loyal’ about a big store? I have never had any sense of loyalty from a big store.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Colin

      Your post is total cobblers

      It is ILLEGAL to not charge VAT on UK sales if your company has a turnover of more than £85k

  26. percy openshaw
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Is Hammond remotely Conservative?

  27. getahead
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence John. Everyone else knows it so why does not the Chancellor?

  28. Tad Davison
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hammond has the instincts of a tax-and-spend leftie and as such, has no place in the Conservative Party. But I could level that charge against any number of his type.

    Local authorities play their part too however. In Cambridge, it can cost £28 per day just to park a car. That tends to put people off coming and spending their money, so puts local businesses at an immediate disadvantage.

    The control of Cambridge City Council alternates between Labour and the Lib Dems, thanks to the transient student population. Whichever is in control at any one time, they just can’t wait to spend whatever money they squeeze out of people on frivolous projects like road traffic schemes that do not work, and will find ever more inventive ways to pay for them. Subsidised local public transport for instance is barely used.

    Because business rates are so high, Cambridge is a rip-off. It is far more economical to travel elsewhere to shop. Ely for instance has no parking fees except in certain places and even then, they are very modest compared to Cambridge. St. Neots is far smaller in terms of size and population, but has a bigger diversity of retail outlets. It is also possible to drive 100 miles from Cambridge to see relatives, do a shop there, and actually save the cost of the fuel.

    Spendthrift local authorities are choking the life out of some places, and High Streets are becoming full to the brim with charity shops. They need to make retail shopping a socially enjoyable experience, not put everyone off by caning local businesses who then pass on the costs with exorbitant prices.

    If we want to save our High Streets, government has to act. Labour and the Lib Dems have poor form on tax and spend, but the Tories who are supposed to be good housekeepers have no excuses whatsoever and it just goes to prove they have the wrong type of people in the party hierarchy!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  29. libertarian
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    For many years now Conservative governments have been attacking micro and small business. Rafts of costs , regulations and clampdowns.

    The internet and digital has been responsible for the huge increase in businesses and jobs in the UK. We are leading global player in these markets ( the EU 27 apart from Holland are not) .

    The fact that not enough old style businesses innovate is their fault not the consumers.

    The EU is anti new innovation and in fact Hammonds insane new tax proposal is an EU directive .

    More than 1,000 US websites and 100 US newspapers have now blocked access from Europe to their sites.

    Companies like Amazon and 1,000’s of other online based organisations have created huge amounts of new jobs far more than currently work in High Street shops

    We no longer have any political parties that support small business owners, the self employed or indeed customers . There are over 5 million SME’s in the UK its a shame no one supports us.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      You’re seen,by the Establishment,as kulaks;that’s why.

  30. NigelE
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve always thought you were a politician who stood out from the crowd (in a positive way), Mr Redwood. But a man who likes going to the shops! Good grief, that unique!

  31. acorn
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Tax Bads Not Goods says By L. Randall Wray; Google it, worth a read.

    Non-residential property is paying gross, circa 3.5% a year Business Rates on a market value of circa £900 bn. Residential property is paying gross, circa 0.5% a year Council Tax on a market value of circa £7,000 bn. Discount schemes for both bring the net yield down.

    You could get rid of Council Tax and set an ad valorem rate of 0.8% of market value for all property, including Chelsea Mansions. Quickly move to a Land Value Tax for ALL land including land held by planning permission speculators.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Council tax is one of the most punitive and unfair taxes of all taking no account of income or ability to pay. There are many pensioners who are house rich and cash poor paying more than a household with multiple workers in it. I wrote to my (Conservative) MP years ago saying as much and the reply I got back was that a local income tax would be too difficult to administer. As we have had the expenses scandal since, what he really meant was he could put his council tax onto his expenses which he wouldn’t have been able to do with income tax.

      Council tax doubled in England under Labour. One good and rare move by Osborne was to freeze it in England as it has been in Scotland for years until dopey May allowed it to go up by a whopping 5% last year. Yet another area where this woman is absolutely clueless.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        JoolB

        Business rates went up by 5% you say …If only, mine went up by 45% and then another 1.5% for the totally stupid last “level the playing field for the High St” government “initiative” Business Improvement Districts

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      LVT the tax loved by tyrants
      0.5% becoming 20% within a generation.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        LVT the tax advocated by Adam Smith and Milton Freidman amongst others. As described, the “least bad tax”.

        LVT could replace Council Tax, Business Rates and other taxes and charges on a revenue-neutral basis.

  32. Brit
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Long ago, it seems, some of us would show off our possessions as being expensive.
    Now, we are another proud, and boast “You’ll never guess how little I paid for this!”

    Also the “cheap rubbish” has much improved in real quality through the years. They work, and continue to work on the whole.
    We find expensive stuff has deteriorated in real quality in some cases. Manufacturers now have technological advancements in creating veneers aimed at the well-off, who are often experts in their own field but lambs to the slaughter in anything outside their immediate domain.

    Specific taxes sometimes work in the short-term achieving balance. However they only slow down the inevitable…perhaps allowing such as retail workers to move on but not all at once.
    For old and errand running young people, “Oh I’ve forgotten to buy the salt!” means half a mile or more on foot getting some.

  33. margaret
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The high st has lost it’s purchase, however where shopping centres in the city centres , have restaurants , good car parking facilities and entertainment, the shops have survived.

    Retail parks have proved a success and that probably is the best way to go for the House of Fraser. Debenham’s is doing well in our small town and next to M&S and other minor stores is a success.

    Online shopping is sufficient for some needs yet , goods do seem to be different when you see them and sometimes only half the product is delivered.

    I hope the new House of Fraser is a success.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, the Times has called in “trade experts” to condemn the Robbins Customs Plan as “fanciful”:

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/brexit-trade-tariffs-plan-is-fanciful-experts-warn-theresa-may-63kb6f5hp

    “Brexit tariffs plan is fanciful, experts warn Theresa May”

    That’s as may be, but my reaction is still that it is a daft eurocentric Therolly attempt to stay closer to the EU than we should try to be as an independent sovereign European state, while the insulting reaction from the EU’s chief negotiator has been to say that he would not trust us to operate any such scheme properly without continued supervision by the EU Commission and the EU’s Court of Justice:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/07/27/spending-the-39-bn-cutting-taxes-on-transactions/#comment-950570

    “The EU cannot – and will not – delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member, who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures.”

    If we had a government with any national pride and with any backbone their response would have been that we have faithfully performed those and other tasks required by the treaties for forty five years now, and it is an insult to suggest we will suddenly become untrustworthy because we have decided to use one of the treaty provisions to withdraw from the EU, but of course we have a government dominated by creeps whose primary allegiance is to the EU rather than to our own country.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Denis see my post earlier. It’s worth reading the draft withdrawal agreement if you have the patience. It’s an eye opener.

    • acorn
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      OLAF (the EU Fraud Office) recommended the recovery of over EUR 3 billion to the EU budget. This exceptionally high figure stems from major undervaluation fraud cases concluded by OLAF during the year.

      Joint customs operation OCTOPUS was conducted by the French customs authorities (services of the National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations and the Directorate of Dunkirk) with the assistance of OLAF.

      “The operation targeted criminal networks for importing textile and footwear from China via the United Kingdom. OCTOPUS determined that significant value frauds were committed during customs clearance in the United Kingdom (undervaluation) and were prolonged by non-payment of VAT in the countries of destination.”

      “The operation revealed that these large-scale frauds were the result of very organised circuits, extremely reactive and having an excellent knowledge of the faults of controls, logistic circuits, false invoice systems and clandestine financial flows.” You would be surprised how often the UK turns up in EU customs fraud investigations.

      ” … delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member …”. The UK is the last country Mr Barnier would think of doing so.

  35. Iain Gill
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Private sector second hand book shops have been killed by the favourable tax, especially council tax, treatment given to so called charity shops.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we had a wonderful, eccentric secondhand bookshop locally, that was forced to close because two charity bookshops-cum-clothes stores opened almost next door, and two more not far away.
      Must be happening everywhere. Business rates + high rents + exemption for ‘charities’ (many of them rather dubious enterprises, as we’ve seen) = Death for small local businesses.

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The real problem with internet sales is those companies using tax havens, both to trade in, to locate their warehousing, and so on. Nobody paying full UK tax can compete with someone paying far less tax playing the tax haven jurisdiction game.

    • Peter
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. I tried to make the same point but it was deleted.

      Maybe you escaped because you did not name the large global company that benefits most, or mention that tax avoidance/haven game is not confined to retailers.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        The tax haven game is played by a lot of companies, not just web retailers.

        And not just those named and shamed by the lefty campaigners either.

        Using pyramid company structures, and passing profits to those parts of the pyramid in havens is common. Charging sub companies for use of brand etc, so the local company accounts show no profits.

        One group of companies doing this on a large scale are the outsourcers bringing lots of cheap workers into the UK, and using those workers to undercut locals.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        As was mine. Only I did not mention anybody.

        Most people here have made the same points as I have made, so the message has got through. Which is OK.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Iain Peter Mark etc

      Please explain how implementing a new transaction tax paid by the consumer of course will solve the problem of ALL multinational companies ( the worst culprits aren’t internet companies at all , but High St retailers in the coffee shop business) using the present Corporation Tax system legally to their advantage. Rather than cause price rises and inflation, how about the government review, simplify and fix the current tax system?

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Off-topic again, Ruth Lea has quite a decent article today, entitled:

    “The WTO option is now the best choice for Brexit”

    But she misses what seems to me to be the crucial point, namely that it is a choice we can make unilaterally, without having to kowtow to the EU or any of its member states, for the simple reason that the WTO treaties already exist and are already in force.

    Likewise we can unilaterally decide to pass and enforce a domestic export control law to ensure that goods intended for export to the EU will continue to meet EU requirements, and the EU can either take it and continue to trust us and save itself any additional trouble of inspecting incoming goods at the border, or it can perversely choose to believe that we and our law have suddenly become untrustworthy after all these years.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Just look at the stupid mess our Prime Minister and her favourite euromaniac civil servant Olly Robbins have got us into by gratuitously accepting responsibility for ensuring that the EU does not harden its side of the Irish land border:

      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/08/13/leo-varadkar-wont-sign-death-warrant-no-matter-much-theresa/

      “The only issue holding up a Brexit Withdrawal Agreement this year is how to prevent a hard border in Ireland.”

      Now all they have to do is say: “Jump, Theresa, or we will reintroduce checks on our side of the Irish border” and then all she can say is “How high?”

      • forthurst
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Our suppliers should not be obligated to the Brussels regime with regard to processes of production; that is none of their business. All our suppliers have to conform to all specifications of what constitutes a merchantable product in their domains.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Well, at present while we are in the EU all suppliers are so obligated by the UK law implementing EU law, basically at the behest of the more powerful and vocal of the mere 6% of UK businesses which export to the EU; and it must be far better for UK law to keep just the exporters to the EU under that kind of regime as far as their exports to the EU are concerned than have all UK companies involved with goods in any way being compelled to follow all the related EU rules for all their activities, as the government proposes to provide a bad solution to the largely fabricated problem of the Irish land border. Of course it would still be open to the EU to react stupidly and insist on intercepting and checking goods entering the Irish Republic despite the UK’s legal guarantee that such checks were no more necessary after we had left the EU than they were before, but then we would be in a strong position to explain to the world at large that it was the EU behaving stupidly not us.

          • forthurst
            Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            If a British business sells to an EU-based business, goods which do not conform to Single market rules, then presumably the purchasing business would reject them; I cannot see that EU customs officials, who may themselves have arrived in the EU recently by inflatable vessel, would be equipped in any sense to assess the merchantability of any item of goods whatsoever at the border; that would require far too much training and equipment, surely?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            Well, I long ago suggested that the Irish and EU authorities should be asked to explain precisely what they would check for if they felt compelled to reintroduce checks on incoming goods at the Irish land border, and why they felt intercepting and checking goods at the actual border would be the best or the only way of proceeding.

            Because at present while we are still in the EU it is UK law to control imports into Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK which is the practically effective law to prevent goods which the EU regards as illicit, such as the often mentioned dreaded US-style “chlorinated chicken”, crossing the border into the Republic, but it could equally well be a new UK law to control from the UK exports across the border.

            Once it had become clear that the new Irish government backed up by the EU was adopting an absurd, extreme and intransigent position, “ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”:

            http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/12/05/no-agreement-to-talk/#comment-905307

            the UK government should have stolen a march by saying that in that case it would make no changes at all on our side of the border, and it would pass and enforce a new UK law to ensure that goods actually taken across the border into the EU Single Market would still comply with EU requirements.

            Instead Theresa May wants all goods in the UK to continue to comply with all EU requirements.

  38. Andy
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Retailers – particularly small ones – pay too much tax.

    But online retailers, like Amazon, do not pay enough.

    They do not contribute their fair share to our NHS, schools, transport, police and defence.

    They are not alone – Google, Apple, Facebook all rip off taxpayers.

    But these companies are mobile. They just move their profits from one tax regime to another if a national government tries to act alone.

    It’s almost as if we need some sort of multi-national body – perhaps of around 28 wealthy European states – to work together to really tackle the problem. (Oh dear.)

    Reply So why has the EU not imposed such a tax?

    • Peter
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Andy,

      I am surprised you got away with naming names. My post mentioning ( X CO ed) was deleted. Presumably since it did not echo the tax cutting message of the host.

      Maybe your EU mention at the end set up a nice reply for him?

      Either way the tax haven avoidance issue is a very real one. How to address it is the difficulty.

      If you genuinely believe in taking back control and the nation state global corporations should not be allowed to take liberties by gaming the international tax laws so blatantly.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      The whole point of the EU single market is so companies can freely trade and move capital across borders. They have facilitated (companies ed) tax optimisation. To claim that they are the solution to it is puzzling.

    • Andy
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      I am sure the EU would very much like to impose a tax on ( internet companies ed) and the others – but the EU faces problem.

      They are damned if they do – and they are damned if they don’t.

      If the EU imposes an ( internet tax ed) tax Brexiteers – and their equivalents in the other member states – yell and accuse them encroaching on sovereignty. If the EU does not impose a tax the exact same critics demand to know why. They can not win.

      You may remember, a few years back, there were proposals for the EU Commission President to be directly elected by voters. The exact same people who objected to those plans are the ones who still accuse the EU of being undemocratic.

      The truth is that – while the EU is very far from perfect – there are a group of people for whom it can never do any right. It is unarguable that the EU has massively transformed, for the better, product standards, energy efficiency requirements, consumer rights, workers rights, clean air standards, water quality standards and much more besides. Yet even with clear evidence of all of this there are still some flat-Earthers.

      The truth of Brexit has always been that the Conservatives want to scrap all the things the EU does to support the little man – because they want to focus on making their rich friends richer. The Brexiteer elite – mainly privately school educated multi-millionaires – may have fooled some of the people. It will not take long for the deception to be fully exposed.

      Reply So no answer as to why your lovely EU cannot fix this

      • Richard1
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        With its promotion of diesel fuel which has massively damaged air quality and irrational unscientific objections to such developments as GM crops and shale gas fracking, it is certainly debatable as to how much the EU has done for consumers. The objections to an elected EU govt are that there has never been support in the UK for supra national govt by the EU. There is support for free trade, easy travel etc. That doesn’t need a govt imposing laws and regs where it likes – elected or not. If we became the 51st state of the US doubtless we could vote for the President – but we don’t want to. We just want friendly relations and free trade with the US, not a merger.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        The problem is the Single Market allows multi national companies to designate a nation as its HQ for accounting purposes.
        Most choose Luxembourg or Lichtenstein or Ireland where corporation tax rates are low.

        On your last point, it is quite the opposite of what you claim.
        The rich elite and big business love the EU.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          Yes,look at the fortunes spent on lobbying.

      • Andy
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        The EU is fixing it. It has taken on several big tech companies already – and is slowly winning the war against tax avoidance and immoral practices. In contrast I notice, here in the UK, 8 years into government the Tories have done precisely nothing to fix it.

        And you’re right. Compared with the deeply unpleasant state of British politics right now the EU really does look rather lovely. Still, I am more than easy with the direction of Brexit – and you are not.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          The tax you want them to pay is corporation tax.
          It is payable on profits not sales.
          Just because a company sales are billions doesn’t automatically mean it makes huge profits.
          They already pay billions in taxes here in the UK via other taxes.
          They create hundreds of thousands of jobs and pay hundreds of millions in rents and, business rates.
          You and your EU just want ever more tax and waste.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Andy

          More than 1,000 US websites and 100 US newspapers have now blocked access to European customers.

          Thats whats happens when a backward looking , control freak oligarchy try to control something , the EU is fighting a war to keep Europe locked in the mid 20th century

          The UK government can’t fix it doofus, we are in the EU and they make the rules.. Blimey you’ve been banging on about it enough. Single Market you scream , we must be in the SM…. Frankly Andy one begins to suspect you haven’t got a clue what you voted for.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      @Andy,

      All your comments are negative. I voted Remain (reluctantly) but trying to be as pragmatic and objective as possible. Check out this from the FT:

      ‘Engineers defy concerns about Brexit and trade’

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        And,

        FT, ‘London’s economy shrugs off effects of Brexit vote’

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Please explain which tax these companies aren’t paying enough of.

      They all pay employers national insurance, business rates and VAT

      Ah you mean using EU single market rules to transfer price and minimise corporation tax so that its paid to Brussels instead of London

      Gotcha, easy fix for that mate. Vote Leave .

  39. Prigger
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    @ Andy
    Amazon does not have goods to sell to you and me. Of course Trump thinks and works for it to pay more tax. Now you know that, we can be sure you will not quite be so avid in its condemnation. In fact you won’t write about it again except as one-off to “prove” me wrong.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      @To clarify “more”, the other firms do have goods for sale though not necessarily ones you can touch. Cunning!

  40. DUNCAN
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Today’s new revelations about Corbyn’s past is now being exposed to the world and reveals what (kind of a ed) person he really is. We need Boris at the helm to smash Labour into next week

    • mancunius
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      It seems May welcomes Corbyn’s extremism and in no way wishes to destabilise it – for it allows her to move further left of centre and still claim to be at least a bit less leftwing than Labour.
      Under FPTP, and given the high levels of election spending, no other new party stands a chance.

  41. Nick CT
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Ref: Change in the High Street

    Hear,hear!

  42. Prigger
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Chancellor Hammond looked disingenuous when he was interviewed on TV recently regarding Amazon and other online retailers. He more or less said “I’ll look into it” like a doctor might say to the vulnerable when they claimed they had been infected by a virus from Mars.
    He is as changeless as the desert Sphinx, minus tourists taking his photo.

  43. mancunius
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t necessarily take Mike Ashley’s declaration about the future of the House of Fraser at face value. A ‘Harrods for the High Street’ is not the obvious business model for a chain in 2018, and analysts think MA is now very over-extended.
    If he does try to replicate the Harrods model, then ‘friendly service’ will be non-existent. Have you visited that store recently?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      mancunius
      You’re right his model is nonsense. He will be flogging low price cheap tat in shopping centres , not the high st.

  44. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I hear the Chancellor sounding off about imposing an extra tax on the internet competitors on the principle that if it is working and going well let’s tax it.

    Interesting use of language. It sounds as though Mr. Redwood has pretty open contempt for the Chancellor. Not the language of a loyal MP surely?

    Of course, you are right. I wonder how an extra tax on ‘internet competitors’ would work given that many High Street shops also sell on the internet. Another load of ill thought through guff.

    If having busy High Streets is (apparently) such a good idea … SLASH business rates on small shops – of, say, less than 1000 sq ft. Or, even better, remove business rates on shops altogether. Stand back and watch the economy boom. Lots of people want to run little shops and cafes – but are terrified by the long ‘sign your life away’ leases, high rents and high business rates.

    Personally, I think you’d have to be mad to take on a high street shop lease.

  45. Den
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Alas the Treasury is part of the old Establishment and they are too set in their ways to change. Unless a proper Chancellor is appointed to take real charge of this drag on our country we shall continue to suffer from their outdated, tried and failed pro EU policies.

  46. margaret
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but would like a point of view.
    For the last couple of decades some individuals drive along the road with their windows down , they continually pick on one innocent motorist by spitting out of the window at them , they use their cigarettes in what seems to be and abusive gesture either putting them up in some triumphant mode or flicking the ash at others. These people have such inflated ego’s that the calm unsuspecting motorist is supposed to know what they mean. A few follow in an anger which shows an unprecedented attack and entirely random.

    Has anyone got any idea what these ( could be mentally ill) people are trying to suggest . I would normally ignore them as morons , yet they seem to think we all understand what this behaviourism means in what appears to be ,some abnormal train of thought ?

    • Steve
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      @Margaret

      It’ll be something like the car you are driving, but certainly their perception of someone else unjustifiably having more than they have.

      Your best bet is to try and get them on dash cam doing it, then go to the police as spitting at someone is (rightly) classed as an assault.

  47. DUNCAN
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    John

    Can we have an article about the open partiality and pro-Labour bias of the BBC?

    We see today BJ being totally crucified for his comments about the burka and how that garment is used to subjugate females. Not one single word on their site about Corbyn’s attendance and laying of a wreath at the grave of an Islamic terrorist who murdered Jewish athletes at Munich

    How can this appalling bias be allowed?

    How can we have a leader of the opposition be an open supporter of Palestinian (activists ed)

    The Tories must attack the BBC and their bias.

    The Tories need a new leader and then they must confront the appalling, shameless, arrogant liberal left bias. They don’t even try to conceal their bias any more

    Disestablish the BBC. Decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee. Then privatise the entire corporation

    • Gary C
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Good post.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Any politician who said “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” did worse that Boris’s comparatively mild ‘letterbox’ comment.

  48. mancunius
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to put in a word for the system operating in many towns and villages in France where parking is free during the midday hours, allowing people enough time to shop and eat at a local restaurant etc, without penalty. Local businesses gain, so the community also gains. It works well.

    Our city councils would never agree to that – what, lose parking charge money, and (particularly) parking fines? What on earth, they would say, would be the point of that?

  49. Steve
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Bang on comments as usual.

    BBC – fully agree, and yes the pro left pro EU bias is no longer subtle. Abolishing the license fee or decriminalising non payment would do the trick.

    On topic; I find theses days shopping is not necessarily a pleasant experience. More often than not nobody stocks what I want often because they act like a bunch of terrified sissies and sell what the EU tells them they can sell. Floor staff are poorly educated, sometimes very rude, and the majority refuse to accept that they are in the job to ‘serve’ customers.

    However, when these high street business have to go to administration they always whinge and blame online retailing.

    The cause is not online retailing, it is sheer bloody uselessness, they can’t get it through their thick heads that if they don’t give what the customer wants, the customer will go somewhere else.

    It’s their own fault, no sympathy from me and it serves them right for being so damn useless.

  50. Solution at Last!
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    PS I hear a statue of Fidel Castro is going to be erected on the Westminster Estate within the year. Hahaha. I’m only joking. No , perhaps next year.

  51. Solution at Last!
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    PPPPPS I was a leftie-liberal at the time. Now???? It is hard to know who the enemy is.
    Probably my politics ( in reality ) are JR-ish and Rees-Mogg-ish .

    • hefner
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      What about there is no enemy, only know-it-all wind bags on all sides?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        heffy

        Dont be so hard on yourself. You try and you occasionally make a good point

  52. B Potter
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I personally do not see why the on-line businesses should not make at least some contribution towards the costs of retail shops which in many cases are acting as a showroom where customers can see and handle the goods before they buy them more cheaply on-line.

  53. libertarian
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Unemployment figures out today

    Unemployment fallen again now just 4%

    Hammond , Ruth Davidson and other tory MP’s trying desperately to stop the growth of jobs, stop the growth of businesses and increase inflation.

    The Tory party is run by monumentally ignorant and incompetent people

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      The official prediction of May 23rd 2016 is here:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/britain-to-enter-recession-with-500000-uk-jobs-lost-if-it-left-eu-new-treasury-analysis-shows

      “Britain’s economy would be tipped into a year-long recession, with at least 500,000 jobs lost and GDP around 3.6% lower, following a vote to leave the EU, new Treasury analysis launched today by the Prime Minister and Chancellor shows.

      Speaking at B&Q in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the Prime Minister and Chancellor set out the Treasury’s analysis of the impact on the nation’s economy over the immediate period of two years following a vote to leave.

      This analysis shows that such a decision would cause an immediate and profound economic shock across the country, creating instability and uncertainty which would be made worse by the complex negotiations that would follow to agree the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU and its new relationship with the rest of Europe.

      Echoing the recent warnings from the independent Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund, the central conclusion of the Treasury’s new analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.”

      But in the “severe shock” scenario it wouldn’t be just 3.6%:

      “After two years GDP would be 6% lower and 800,000 UK jobs would be lost, compared to a vote to remain.”

      As GDP was actually 3.6% higher that forecast was out by nearly 10%.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page