Give free enterprise a chance

The Prime Minister usually includes in her big speeches praise for free enterprise. She appreciates that the Conservatives need to make the case for economic freedoms, for the role of profit and reward in driving investment and beneficial change, for a tax system which allows those who work hard and venture their own effort and money to keep sufficient of it , and for competitive markets which can serve customers well. She also knows that government does need to intervene to prevent monopoly and abuse of commercial power ,and to ensure those who cannot easily compete are looked after or given better chances in life to do well.

In order to see these grand aims through, she needs to look at the balance of what government Ministers and officials are doing and saying. Government is coming across as keener to put taxes up and to find new taxes than to cut them, thanks to the Treasury. The government is ready to ban or regulate things they do not like, often in a good cause, but less forthcoming about how they can encourage or get out of the way of new ideas and better services and goods for the market that do not pose particular problems.

I have often commented on the damage done to the housing and car markets by higher taxes. There has also been the additional business rate burden imposed on some shops from the Business rate revaluation, at a time when traditional shops need all the help they can get to compete with internet suppliers. The Treasury seems to want to tax new technology businesses more when the UK is good at them and is attracting many of the great world names here to grow and expand. Would a unilateral declaration of tax war on this sector be a good idea when many other countries would like those jobs and investments?

The decision to make larger shops charge 5p for a plastic bag has certainly changed behaviour and greatly reduced demand for plastic bags. The new sugar tax is designed to cut the output and sales of certain soft drinks, to be followed by a possible ban on selling energy drinks to young people to reduce sales and output of others. The sale of most old ivory in our successful auction houses has been banned, diverting that business abroad.

Rich Non Doms have been persuaded to leave by new tax rules, taking their money with them. Russia remains sanctioned with the Uk leading the charge to toughen the regime against her more.

Many of these measures individually have a good cause or a good case behind them. The government, however, needs to be aware that if it appears that it bans and taxes parts of free enterprise where it thinks it does harm, and does not do the opposite for the many areas where it does good, it undermines the PM’s support for the system itself. Much of what people like about their modern lives comes from the amazing dynamism of free enterprise, from the digital revolution it is pioneering and from entrepreneurial businesses whose owners and creators become very rich. People like today’s smart phones, computer pads, streamed videos and film, the wide variety of entertainment on offer, modern cars and better appointed homes. Competitive markets give us these. The countries that do best are the ones that are most positive and helpful to the system that delivers so much progress.

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

92 Comments

  1. Iain Gill
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The main political parties are full of lefty social justice warriors who actively discourage practical pragmatic people from joining. Far too many MP’s are just lobby fodder, the number of conservative MP’s endlessly tweeting in support of any old nonsense the government does, even now at the height of government stupidity, plastic bag tax going up, trigger finger operations being stopped, and all the rest of it, scandalous low quality in our political class.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      Absolutely spot on

      • Hope
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Why does the consumer pay for plastic bags? Instead the supermarkets should be forced to change their packaging and bags.

        Strivers, entrepreneurs and inventors proposed to be hamstrung by May’s white paper where the UK has no say on gooods or Agri products. Business unable to make trade deals worth has CNN as explained by the former US ambassador to the WTO in conhome last week.

        Putney volunteered to be a vassal state to the EU by the useless PM and pay billions for the privilege!, Prisons in a mess, criminal justice sentencing a joke, economy deliberately made worse by chancellor and PM, public services in a terrible mess because of mass immigration, uilding on every part of the country for mass immigration, giving away tens of billions of taxes each year to other countries for infrastructure and vanity projects when money is desperately need at home. May openly and dishonestly claiming nothing has changed about social care when her Party broke its promises three times in a few years!

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill, I don’t think the Conservative party is going to last much longer. It treats its own members, activists, and voters with the greatest contempt, as you say. The Labour party can completely destroy the Conservative party just by voting for Theresa May’s Chequers (Robbins) White Paper proposals. As soon as Labour twig this (yes, I know they’re slow witted), Mrs May will get her revolving-door Remain through Parliament by about 500:100. The subsequent Conservative civil war will wipe them out.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 3, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Nickc

        The Conservative Party are dead anyway, they’ve been dying for 25 years. The people who control the party are totally detached from real people. They dont know what they stand far, but for sure they dont have a guiding principle such as free markets, low tax, small government any longer so you might as well vote LibDem

        There are 5.7 million small business owners in this country, one of the biggest single blocks of people yet not one political party supports them . Odd

  2. oldtimer
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Nothing is better calculated to stifle any dynamism in the UK’s free enterprise economy than the Chequers Agreement. The proposal that the UK submit to EU rules for goods will offer carter blanche to the Commission and EU big business interests to write the rules in ways that will stifle UK innovation. It is difficult to imagine a more stupid idea. Its authors either have no clue about how competitive free enterprise works or they are intentionally seeking to damage UK business. The sooner this monstrosity is killed off the better. Yet Mrs May seems to think it is a wonderful idea. Why do you tolerate such nonsense?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      ‘ve now very reluctantly come to the view that we should leave the EU without any withdrawal agreement within the meaning of Article 50 TEU:

      http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html

      “In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

      After the referendum my position was that as we had agreed to Article 50 as one of the amendments introduced by the Lisbon Treaty we should start off by trying to make use of it, but without prejudice to our sovereign right to simply abrogate the treaties if the EU messed us about.*

      Well, the EU has been messing us about, and even more so our own Prime Minister and her favourite euromaniac civil service adviser have been messing us about and can no longer be trusted an inch, and nor I am afraid can Dominic Raab or any of the other ministers who are prepared to connive with her betrayal.

      But we are now so close to the end of the two year period laid down in paragraph 3 that we might as well just wait for it to expire and perhaps use the time to try to get some practical and legal agreements outside the Article 50 framework.

      Any damage caused by a disorderly withdrawal – and I’m sure there will be some – should be on the heads of those who have not been acting in good faith.

      * My suggested letter to Donald Tusk, July 13th 2016:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/07/13/how-to-write-a-letter-using-article-50/#comment-823958

      “Dear Donald

      As you know the British people voted to leave the European Union in the referendum held on June 23rd. In accordance with the promise made by the government before the vote I must now inform you that the United Kingdom intends to leave the Union.

      This letter may be taken as the formal notification required by Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, without prejudice to the general right of withdrawal under the 1968 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties … “

    • Chris
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      …and Dominic Raab thinks we are nearly there. No hint that Chequers is going to be dropped. Also Theresa May has just written for the Telegraph indicating that Chequers is not going to change other than necessary adjustments for reasons of pragmatism (the last being the sting in the tail of one of her statements). How in all honesty could the PM could have written such an article about how Chequers fits the bill and honours the referendum result? The comments section reveals exactly what readers thought of her comments. I believe she has to go and quickly, with Chequers being “chucked”.

      • Chris
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        More re my above comment by David Davis:
        https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1011904/David-Davis-May-Brexit-concessions-Chequers-EU-Brussels
        “David Davis claims May’s pledge OPENS THE DOOR to Brussels for MORE Brexit concessions

        FORMER Brexit Secretary David Davis has accused Theresa May of opening the door to the European Union for yet more Brexit concessions in her latest pledge on Brexit this morning….”

      • NickC
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Chris, The reason Theresa May is so sanguine is that she knows Labour will support Chequers (Robbins). So it will be her, the here-for-the-beer Tory soft Remains, and Labour, against about 100 Tory Leave MPs. A bit of theatre with the EU (who she has already got onside before the Robbins WP went to Cabinet) first. Then the Leave MPs (and us) get royally stitched up. So, no free enterprise, just Corbyn’s Venezuela wet dream.

      • Hope
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        For 6 percent of businesses that trade with the EU and effect 12’percent of GDP, May wants to sibjudicate the country as a vassal state to the EU. You really need to wonder whether she needs to be medically assessed?

        Would she get elect d on her article? nO

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      ” The proposal that the UK submit to EU rules for goods will offer carter (sic) blanche to the Commission and EU big business interests to write the rules in ways that will stifle UK innovation”
      ==

      Nothing could be further from the truth. These rules are designed to ensure the best quality for ALL member states. Saying they are stifling UK innovation smacks of a defeatist inferiority complex.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Big businesses and their lobbyists encourage the rules and regulations they want.
        Small companies find entry to the market difficult and expensive.
        Innovation and competition can be stiffled.
        Having run an SME I know just how this works.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Ask Dyson!!!

      • oldtimer
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        You obviously do not know how the system works. Ask Dyson, a man who does not suffer from an inferiority complex.

      • NickC
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, Only if you blindly think that the EU’s rules are the best, and the most suited to the UK. Why do you suppose being governed from Brussels is more effective, efficient, appropriate, and democratic than from Westminster? And if it isn’t, how do propose to change it without leaving?

        • margaret howard
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          How do you explain the fact that we begged to be allowed to join the EU all those years ago?

          We were called the ‘Sick man of Europe’ and were on the verge of collapse before we joined the EU.

          Industry was collapsing, interest rates were spiralling and inflation was rampant. We had food, fuel and power shortages and a steadily growing balance of payments deficit.

          The common market had to pump in 25% of its regional development funds to stabilise Britain, the highest ever figure.

          Membership turned us into the world’s 5th biggest economy, now alas already reduced to 7th place after the Brexit vote.

          • NickC
            Posted September 4, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, What motivates you to believe we should be merely a region of the EU and governed from Brussels? Nations and peoples yearn for independence, but you don’t.

            Nothing you claim in justification for your switch in allegiance to the EU is true. Membership did not “turn us into the world’s 5th biggest economy”, the UK was already the fifth biggest economy in 1972.

            We were still 5th in 2017 (IMF, World Bank), so clearly the vote did not affect our position. And we haven’t left yet.

            We were known as “the sick man of Europe” but the figures indicate otherwise. Most of the problems were of management and unions. Such difficulties were, if not cured by Margaret Thatcher, at least alleviated. It was nothing to do with the EEC which was much weaker than the EU now is anyway.

          • libertarian
            Posted September 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            The UK was the worlds 3rd largest economy before we joined the EEC

            The 3 day week and power shortages began in December 1973 , industrial collapse , spiralling interest rates and rampant inflation happened in 1974 and 1975

            Margaret

            the UK joined the EEC in January 1973 BEFORE ALL THE THINGS YOU CITE HAPPENED

            We were called the sick man of Europe because all those things happened AFTER WE JOINED !!!

      • Jagman84
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        We will not be a member state after March 2019 but would still be tied to all of the EU insanity! UK innovation would certainly be destroyed. That is the motivation for keeping us shackled to the EU rulebook.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 3, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        margaret howard

        Totally wrong, only someone with no business experience could come up with that excuse.

        Innovation and creativity by the very nature of it occurs OUTSIDE the normal framework. Thats why its an innovation .

        One look at the insane VATMOSS, GDPR, Article 13 rules etc shows how the EU are stifling digital technology

      • getahead
        Posted September 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        “smacks of a defeatist inferiority complex.”
        Remainer insults again Margaret.

  3. Nig l
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    At a time when you have cut thousands of bobbies from the beat, knife crime in London seems rampant and is sending completely the wrong message to potential tourists abroad and burglaries etc are reported purely to get a crime number, your prime minister has put plastic bag costs at the top of her agenda.

    Says it all.

    Please don’t say policing is the responsibility of elected commissioners. It is about funding and you are responsible for the lack of it. Once again 12 billion abroad etc, uk people not feeling safe.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Foreign Aid trumps everything. Just wish we had a Trump ourselves to look after the safety of the English people!

      • Chris
        Posted September 3, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear, Timaction.

  4. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Her behaviours are of saying one thing and doing or allowing the opposite in government. She is a deceiver. In my view she is more a socialist than a free enterpriser.

    She has said that state is a force for good, she may even have said the force for good. If she was true to her words about freedoms what is happening would not be happening. She is allowing it.She likes it.

  5. Student
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    It is surprising that this kind of point needs to be stated on the back of the past 100 years of evidence, but even more so that the point needs to be made to a conservative government.

    Hopefully in a few months it won’t be May and Hammond that the point needs to be made to.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Heartily agree. The nation needs a real conservative government that takes less tax and spends less and gets out of the way wherever possible. Were still at over 40% government spending to GDP, it should be less than 35%.
      Get rid of May and Hammond ASAP, or there will be no conservative party left after the next election.

  6. Staid put
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Mrs May and Mr Hammond despite the rhetorical charge of being Socialist are in essence Socialists for real.

    Political terms and labels are especially now requiring update.

    The Left in all its red flag flying is an unsavoury, raw 19th Century Right. Coming up with whole spectres of theoretical and perverse right-wingism they accuse the true right wing of being falsely guilty.

    May and Hammond are collectivists at least, statists for sure. Their economics are dependent on Corbynist-esque infrastructure…which remains virtually static inert. Their attitude to risk, and sometimes necessary risk-taking as in Free Enterprise is as vibrant as nationalised parrot… and advertised by the fact it doesn’t eat much into Treasury resources.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 3, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Correct!Labour and the Tories present you with a choice -a slightly nicer version of Stalin or a considerably dimmer version of Trotsky!

  7. agricola
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The title suggests that “Free Enterprise” is something new. It isn’t as you well know. It has been the basis of the success of the UK over the past three hundred years. In fact our success was at it’s greatest before the phrase was invented. It is only since the arrival of big government that enterprise has been dampened, first by excessive taxation, and second by turning a blind eye to large corporate monopolistic power. After all we don’t want to upset those who will give us a nice little earner when Parliament has no further time for us.
    Banks and the utilities companies are perhaps the worst examples of corporate monopoly, after the profligate government spending of money they have taken out of the system. Consider what effect on our power supply the spending of all HS2’s cost, £100 Billion at least, would have on fracking for gas and oil. We would not be in hock to the tune of zillions with the Chinese and French. Government sucks money out of the system to the detriment of “Free Enterprise”
    The enterprising have in their hands the final sanction, to take their talent where it is most appreciated.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I did leave and have no regrets. Though I still retain substantial businesses and investments in the UK.

      Are we saying that the only way to control government waste and tax levels is not through the ballet box but by emigration or perhaps just refusing to work much? Clearly voting Tory with May and Hammond will not get get taxes, red tape, energy cost and government waste down. Corbyn/SNP would be even worse still.

      The Tories always pretend to be ” low tax at heart Conservative” and in favour of lower taxes at elections (even the appalling, ‘tax to death grim reaper’ Philip Hammond). Yet we now have the highest taxes for well over forty years with appalling and declining public service too. The state sector is over remunerated by about 50% (with pensions included) relative to the 89% who work in the private sector and yet they deliver so little of any value at all from the 45% of GDP they spend (largely waste).

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, One of the many failures of the EU is the way rules are made to suit the big corporates because only they can afford to have lobbyists in Brussels. That stifles innovation and free-enterprise, and is bad for smaller companies.

      • getahead
        Posted September 3, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        And it is the big corporates who finance the Tory party , which is why the Tories are in the pockets of big-business and why, with Theresa at the helm, we won’t be leaving the EU.

  8. Innertube
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    “People like today’s smart phones, computer pads, streamed videos and film”
    Labour is in favour of taxing , largely American owned high tech and American everything. They have an ideological thing about the USA, covering defence procurement, defence itself, social media, online American sale-facilitators, right down to your cup of coffee and up to the American President who they loathed before he even reached office, for alleged bad golf playing.

    Worse, Mrs May and Mr Hammond in cooperation are effectively anti-American.They both wish to stay with the EU which automatically chucks us into economic opposition to America.
    Hammond has signed jointly with EU nation state Chancellors in complaining to America for lowering America’s taxes( cheek!!)
    They are working for EU aspirations which are purely protectionist and sit well with the protectionist nature of Corbyn. There is no such thing as a three-seated tandem which May, Hammond and Corbyn are trying to pedal. It could be any one of them off his bike.

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Innertube, When we have the second referendum (yes I know Theresa May has promised not to have one, but her promises are worthless), we should have an option to join the USA instead of the EU. As the 51st State we will at least be able to vote for our President, unlike in the undemocratic EU.

  9. Louds of it!
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “Rich Non Doms”
    This eternal focus on rich people is nauseating. I guess it is the traditional way for politicians to “show the masses” how they hate what they think “the masses” hate.
    In truth, the individuals in “the masses” would much prefer to be a multi-millionaire than have a glum chum as Chancellor.

    • Peter
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Many people have legitimate concerns about rich individuals with ill-gotten gains using London as a safe haven. We now have vendettas between Russian oligarchs.

      London is now a money laundering capital. Ownership of property can be hidden in an overseas company.

      It is all very well to say the money will disappear, or some other country will benefit, but I am uneasy with loot plundered from the people of Russia or billions from the arms trade with the pariah state of Saudi Arabia.

      I suppose it is a sign of how low we have sunk.

      Lawyers seeking business from foreigners in libel actions which occur outside the UK is another.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 4, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        London -the City-has been reliant on Russian capital going back to Soviet days-the Soviets preferred to park their dollar balances in London rather than New York and that pool of capital was the origin of the Eurodollar market which breathed life back into the City after WWII.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Why on earth is Hammond still in his post? More stealth tax increases already being planned for his autumn budget I read. Will he continue to mug tenants, house buyers, landlords, buyers of insurance, people with pensions, people who die, people who use energy, people who run businesses, people who sell assets, people who work hard ….. indeed almost everyone it seems?

  10. DUNCAN
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I wholly concur with this article.

    J-Redwood as always understood the fundamentally importance of the free-market to our general freedoms and material prosperity.

    From the moment we climb into bed to the moment we climb back into bed. Our entire existence is reliant on objects and processes that have been manufactured by private, profit making enterprises. Food, clothes, domestic appliances. To the pipes that transport our water and gas to the roads built using aggregate mined.

    All of this prosperity that we take for granted is delivered only because we embrace private property rights, capital and the profit motive. Without these fundamental rights we take for granted what we now have would be impossible otherwise.

    Adam Smith termed it the ‘invisible hand’. I’d say it is the visible hand that is bitten each and every day by grasping politicians only to willing to exploit the efforts of this sector that is constantly kicked to feed the unquenchable thirst of the political state and its client state public sector.

    The private sector doesn’t have a voice and zero influence within government so it is easily abused and exploited by gutless virtue signalling Ministers parading around like lefty polytechnic lecturers telling all and sundry that the private sector is evil and profiteering while the public sector is the cradle of virtue. What crap

    Remove the self-financing private sector from the UK and this country would sink beneath the waves. It is people like my brother and sister who employ people who pay the taxes that finances the privileges to which the dependent public sector have become accustomed

    It’s bad enough having this virtue signalling interventionist PM and her lackey Chancellor damaging the UK’s business sector but if Marxist Labour gain power they and their unions will destroy the entire private sector and bring it all under absolute political control using every tool, law and method available to them.

  11. Steve
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately JR, I disagree with you on some of your points;

    “The decision to make larger shops charge 5p for a plastic bag has certainly changed behaviour and greatly reduced demand for plastic bags.”

    Not so. People are less likely to want plastic bags because of the thoroughly shameful scenes we all saw in various recent wildlife documentaries. We don’t need a tax to remind us that what we saw is utterly disgusting.

    “The government is ready to ban or regulate things they do not like, often in a good cause”

    Goodness doesn’t come into it. It’s all about getting our wealth off us at any opportunity. If there was an element of goodness in regulation, the government would be banning fuel retailers from transferring their taxes onto consumers.

    Additionally I’ve seen nearly every government in my time in the run up to elections promise to reverse policies of the former. It never happens though, usually because they realise they’ve got profitable cash cows at their disposal and conveniently forget about what they said pre election, relying on the fact that we will also forget.

    The next general election is going to be very interesting, quite unlike any other. People have become much more astute as a consequence of brexit. Eyes have been opened to treachery, betrayal, lies, political snakery, incompetence. All to be reflected at the polls.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      “People are less likely to want plastic bags because of the thoroughly shameful scenes we all saw in various recent wildlife documentaries”.
      Documentaries, made by people with an agenda. We only see what THEY want us to see.

      • margaret
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        And I am glad that they let us see. It is real.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Research suggests that a cotton bag needs to reused about 300 times before it offsets the environmental impact of plastic bags. A canvas tote bag, 171 reuses to break even.

      So not as clear cut as everyone seems to think perhaps?

  12. William Long
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It beggars believe that a Government that calls itself Conservative cannot see all this, but that is clearly the case. The real difference between the May Government and Labour, even Corbyn Labour, in infinitessimal and that is because they are both in thrall to the left wing statist Treasury who like total control, and very few have minds of their own. I suppose the big risk of sparking a Conserative leadership contest now is that Mrs May might well win but nothing venture, nothing gain, and there is clearly a lot to gain.

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      William Long, The corrupt corporatist EU hates free enterprise. The UK civil service hates Leave. Most MPs hate Leave. So, via Theresa May’s revolving-door Remain, we will be saddled with the corrupt corporatist EU.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Brexit has been made such a hash by May & Co. that other fundamentals in the UK’s business future have been obscured or ignored. Local Authority structure, existence and financing is a case in point. Council Tax, in reality Rates Mk2, was spun as an answer to the Community
    Charge, which clearly was an aberration, both in concept and trialing it Scotland of all places.

    The all powerful Treasury is a usual stumbling block but there should be fewer local authorities, financed by local retail sales tax and council tax and business rates abolished. VAT would also disappear. Not in my lifetime and probably anyone else’s reading this blog!

  14. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    It’s difficult to avoid buying plastic when nearly everything manufactured today and especially food is packed in it. Surely more should be done to encourage food manufacturers to at least use recyclable plastic? So much of what I buy cannot be recycled. Of course the rise in inflation due to this tax will be put down to Brexit. All these taxes have put inflation up to the detriment of the economy and the money in people’s pockets. I am losing count of the number of added taxes the Conservative party have brought in with Hammond at the helm. He is a liability.

    • M.W.Browne
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Fully agree.

      At Sainsbury’s, eggs used to be packed in cardboard egg cartons, but now they are packed in plastic egg cartons.
      Thiur Quiche Lorraine, used to be in a cardboard box, but is now in a cardboard box with a transparent plastic film window.

  15. Rien Huizer
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Of course, these are all priciples of classical liberalism, which I support fully. Of course this needs to be balanced by proper care for those who are very disadvantaged (and only those) and care must be taken that private monopolies do not replace public ones. The state must be a tough regulator and enforcer of laws, also where business may disagree.

    You said: “The countries that do best are the ones that are most positive and helpful to the system that delivers so much progress.” Does that include the UK as well as Denmark, Ireland, The netherlands (for instance?) But in Denmark and Holland taxes are much higher and the state is bigger (but arguably more competent). I am missing incentives against rent seeking in your argument. Also, preserving all those obsolete town centers does not make sense. Open air museums must be special, not the norm. Let the market decide how towns should look and make sure that it is the market and not cronies.

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Rien, You clearly do not support classical liberalism. You support the EU which, with its dirigiste over-centralised and cumbersome state apparatus is the antithesis of free enterprise, the rule of law(**), efficiency, democracy, and a small state sector.

      (**) For the benefit of uneducated Remains, more regulation doesn’t mean better regulation.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Well two of the taxes you cite were typical in punishing good people for the bad behaviour of a minority.

    The bag tax in response to those who drop litter and the sugar tax in response to those who are indisciplined about their weight. So now we ALL have to pay more.

    We’ve all been banned from carrying knives too (knife crime’s gone through the roof.)

  17. Andy
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    For once I agree. Chequers is awful.

    But then Chequers is Brexit. It is what Brexit has always meant. It is unfortunate none of you realised this before you choose to inflict years of carnage on the country.

    In your epic 30+ year anti-European rant none of you actually considered the possibility that EU membership could be the least worst option. Big miss.

    We now know, beyond doubt, that Brexit will make nothing better and will make most things worse. And you are ploughing on regardless. How deeply irresponsible. Future generations of voters will never forgive the Tories.

    Vote Leave promised Brexit would be a shiny golden unicorn. It is actually a muddy grey donkey. Prepare for the wrath of a conned electorate.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Usual nonsense Andy.
      If you were right we would see countries all over the world joining together allowing one of them to be the ruler.
      America Canada and Mexico or Australia New Zealand and all nearby small island nations.
      Yet they do not.
      They value their freedom and independence.
      They have no wish to become a region rules by another.

      Trade agreements, general co operation and friendship yes, why not.
      No other similar grouping is happening anywhere.
      PS
      Chequers is the very opposite of leaving the EU
      Fortunately it looks like the EU will reject it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Yes. You don’t talk to anyone who voted Brexit and have cut them out of your circles. Dehumanised them.

      We took part in a referendum with you in good faith that you would act like a grown up. No-one else mentions shiny golden unicorns.

      Go live in your beloved EU. Germany perhaps, where Nazis are on the march because the EU project is going so well.

      • Andy
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Not true. I do talk to people who voted for Brexit – if I have to. But I only really knew half a dozen Brexit voters well, and I didn’t really like any of them very much anyway. Cutting them out of my life was certainly not hard.

        I mean I genuinely have nothing in common with you people. I think your world view is off with the fairies. Not good fairies either. And, no, I am not a Corbynista. The awkward truth – for all of you – is that people like me should be Conservatives. Indeed, when Cameron was in charge I even flirted with the idea of voting blue. Not now. Not ever. Brexit is a lifetime deal breaker.
        And most of you have not figured out that because you have permanently lost people like me the chances of you winning elections are massively reduced.

        When, decades from now, the history of Brexit is written one side will be deemed good, the other bad. I firmly believe I am on the right side of history and you are not.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          I find it amazing that you don’t realise you are an extremist Andy.
          Oddly you continue to think you are somewhere in the centre.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          “I firmly believe I am on the right side of history and you are not.”

          Grow up you big baby.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          Andy

          At last an accurate post from you.

          You are absolutely right you have nothing in common with me what so ever

          I’m a successful businessman with a number of businesses trading in the UK local markets and overseas. Since the referendum I’ve increased my workforce by around 10% and launched another joint venture company

          I belive in localism in a global market.

          I realise that Brexit is the start not the end. Once we are out in the years to come all kinds of opportunities and indeed threats will arise and we will have to deal with them

          You on the other hand closed your business and sacked the staff

          You dont have a WORLD view you have a tiny part of western europe view

          You think the world stopped working on 24th June 2016

          I dont care that you’re a Lib Dem , I dont care that you won’t vote for the Tories, I dont care that the New party you joined only lasted 3 weeks .

          You have no imagination, no innovation, no management ability and no vision. Maybe when you grow up you might develop some of those things

          I’m so glad we have nothing in common

      • Simon Coleman
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        I’ve talked to people who voted Leave – and they’re all grey-haired, angry and poorly educated…who believe anything the Daily Mail says about the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          What all 17.2 million?

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Then disenfranchise them, Simon.

          Be up front about what you really are.

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 3, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            Clearly these would have been the same people who voted to Remain in 1975 and lack of education wasn’t a problem with you until this referendum, Simon.

            (They have a right to be angry. They were sold a lie in 1975)

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately for you, Andy, the alternative is persons of your ilk. Something that most sane people will not stomach, under any circumstances. That’s the reason why Corbyn’s army failed to win with ~40% of the vote last time out. Even the terminally useless Theresa May was seen as a better bet!

      • Andy
        Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        I don’t support Corbyn. Political extremes – left or right – are deeply unpleasant and damaging.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 3, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          Of course, Andy’s smack bang in the centre of the Universe.

    • agricola
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Andy, the only thing Brexit produces is opportunity. It is in the hands of Government to decide how much of that opportunity can be taken advantage of, and how much advantage is allowed to trickle down to the individual. On the basis of how it has been handled over the last two years I am not optimistic. There has been no clarity and a dearth of direction for the future. The IK Brunels of the future require a radically different level of, and philosophy within government if they are to succeed. Alternatively infinitely less government. Is it within the British DNA to laud success, I think not. Envy followed by derision is the norm.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Andy, don’t you give up ranting even on a Sunday?

    • NickC
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Just because you won’t bother reading the executive summary of the government (Chequers, or Robbins) White Paper, is no reason to foist your ignorance and bigotry on us. The Robbins WP clearly proposes that we abrogate the existing EU multilateral treaties and then sign up to new bi-lateral treaties with almost the same effect. This is a revolving-door Remain.

    • Student
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Be sceptical of Brexit if you wish. But a little bit of critical thinking on your part must surely reveal that Chequers is not Britain exiting the European Union. If we change more or less nothing besides forfeiting our member’s vote, as the Chequers plan will do, this will not be an exit. It will be a submission.

      The problem with remain is it has never been able to meet the debate head on. Claiming Chequers is Brexit and we should therefore recant is no exception. Describing staying in the EU as “the least worst option” is a great example of the kind of militant zeionsit approach of the classic remainer. Don’t even try to change the EU or leave it out of pessimistic project fear.

      Much like the current government, you have no vision. Thankfully this is why you will continue to lose the Brexit debate and be unable to overturn a democratic vote.

  18. Mark B
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    It is almost as if New Labour never went away 😉

    Between 1997 and 2010 the then governing party certainly made sure that their policies would continue long after they had left. Whether it be the economy or social justice reform, ie discrimination against the majority, especially the English, or foreign policy.

    Perhaps one day the people might wake up to find that they finally voted for a government they wanted. Perhaps ?

  19. Fishknife
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Rather than trying to tax Amazon minimise rates for shops and swap VAT for a Universal Purchase Tax on new goods, part payable to Local Government.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Fish knife

      I’ve just launched an online hairdressers, tattoo parlour and drink in online cafe . Its not fair i’m not getting any customers they all go to high street outlets. I think we need another tax to balance the fairness !!!!

      Or just stope meddling reduce taxes and get out of the way of innovative businesses

      Amazon and others you can buy absolutely anything and have it delivered directly to your home within hours. Or I can drive to a shop, drive round and round until i can find a £5 parking space and go into a store to find they dont stock what I want . I wonder why bricks and mortar retailing doesn’t work well anymore ??? hmm

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    May is a daft socialist in the Ted Heath mode. Prices and wage controls, enforced pension saving, endless interference in markets (Housing, Heath and Safety, Building Controls, Energy, Self employment and the GIG economy, the highest taxes for 40+ years and appalling and deteriorating public service too …….). Get out of the dam way and let the productive produce.

    Get rid of her and Hammond they will lead to Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP who will be even worse than they are.

    • Steve
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Life logic.

      You are right and justified to expect the removal of May and Hammond, but I don’t think we’ll get Corbyn et al. People are wising up very quickly as to how for decades the electorate has been duped by all these con merchants in parliament.

      Somehow I don’t think there will be electoral ‘punishments’ , more likely near zero turn out at the polls.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Well said! Labour voters will not readily vote Tory, even if Socialist-lite policies are offered up for them. Why vote for fakes when the real thing is readily available, at no extra cost to them? (or so they think…)

    • libertarian
      Posted September 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      LL

      Exactly right , this “Conservative Govt” has been far worse than Blair, Brown and the other socialists.

  21. Steve
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Mark B

    “It is almost as if New Labour never went away 😉”

    It didn’t, it’s now called the civil service.

  22. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    So Mrs May is not giving way to Brussels anymore………wait for it…….unless it’s in the nation’s interest!! Well that gives her a wide choice of what to give to Brussels doesn’t it? The woman is a liability and needs to go.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. I thought the same. Nothing she says is clear nor can it be relied upon.

      Saw her again before a parliamentary committee. I noticed that she gets annoyed when asked certain questions and for clarification, which is never forthcoming.

      She was asked for assurances we would get our fishjng waters and our fish back. She dodged and deflected the whole time. I was left with the impression she will sell us out on that issue too. She kept saying it would be negotiated separately as if that was an assurance.

      She must be replaced.

  23. anychance?
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Billions for overseas aid which is only a giant slush fund given to government ministers which they use to oil the wheels of commerce, so they say, others might say that it is putting it in to the pockets of well known despots and corrupt tyrants or a hole in the ground- which I tend to believe, and like the honours system in this country they should both be disbanded altogether as being medieval, patronising and not fair to anyone. There are other things as well that also need throwing out like hereditary titles and the HoL..we need a mini revolution to shake things up- we need to open the window and let in some fresh air to this stuffy place- I could go on

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Most of the modern things we like did not originate here, but in true free enterprise supporting countries elsewhere. We will buy the things others make if we can afford them in the future but a tendency to live in the past and not the future, and a small mindedness and negativity fostered by the likes of May and Hammond will hold us back as always.

  25. libertarian
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    oh and ps

    Thanks to continual meddling and stupidity this “tory” government has also completely cocked up the Apprenticeship scheme which is why with more than 800,000 unfilled jobs we still have 492,000 16-24 year olds unemployed.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      I tried to see if there was any interest in a customer service/sales apprenticeship/. We were told no-one wants apprenticeships like that and to call it Administration and put them through an Admin NVQ. I don’t need any administrators computers have pretty much taken over those tasks. I want to teach people to be useful to a business. I ran an advert 1 applicant so perhaps those unemployed 16-24 year olds aren’t in our area or are just too picky and won’t take what training is on offer, fair enough as long as we’re not paying them to be idle.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 5, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        Depends where you ran the advert and also what you advertised for. On the whole i agree though applications for jobs are way down. Friend is advertising for a heating engineer paying £900 plus vehicle per week. Zero applicants

        Back to youth employment, the problem is our 16-24 year olds are getting their career advice from people who know nothing about the employment market and the apprenticeship scheme is up the kibosh

  26. Ground Zero
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Being Yorkshire I can speak for all and one. All pieces of ice, whatever they are, should come and live in Yorkshire. Peace is here., like it seems you can never believe. Don’t think us prejudiced though, but we avoid London.It’s an historical thing with us.We surely speak better. Aye!

  27. acorn
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It would be really good if the UK could get a home grown and owned company in the top 50 patent filers at the EPO. https://www.epo.org/about-us/annual-reports-statistics/annual-report/2017/statistics/applicants.html#tab2 We are somewhat behind the Germans and the French. Way behind the US, Japan and China

    But those countries are more proactive with government funded basic science R&D in government and University Labs. The are very interventionist in getting ideas out of those Labs and commercialised. You could say much more socialistic; a lot less laissez faire.

  28. Steve
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    fedupsoutherner

    “So Mrs May is not giving way to Brussels anymore………wait for it…….unless it’s in the nation’s interest!!”

    ….as defined by pro EU big business, the corrupt EU itself, leftist infiltrators in the conservative party, etc, etc.

  29. Steve
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    These really are dangerous times, the more I think about it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen such discontent and underlying anger. Then again we are in a unique situation. If we get sold down the river there is going to be uproar.

    No doubt May will believe she can stand at the next election, and that will light the fuse.

    Anarchy could very well break out and would appear the only way government will finally accept there needs to be a fundamental change in how this country is governed.

    It might also accept that we will not allow our nation to be sold out for anyone, and that we hold in contempt May and her band of Great Britain haters.

    The fact that no one has shown the balls to remove the machiavellian traitor and the corrupt pissants keeping her in office, tells me that come next election all main political parties are lined up for the shock of their lives.

    However I suspect they’ve already considered this, but their arrogance in believing they can sell this country out and get away with it with fancy words and the usual labyrinth of BS, really is astonishing in the extreme. We’re not buying it.

  30. a-tracy
    Posted September 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    This government does nothing to advocate or encourage free enterprise, changes to compulsory software purchase next April just adding a new cost burden to VAT registered concerns that have been paying promptly every year for decades, if the government wants government regulation software for reporting to cut down on your costs it should be provided free! We already paid for our software and upgrades, very aggravating, it’s the little things like this that just get on your ….

  31. Arnie from Newington
    Posted September 4, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The S24 Tax on landlords was proposed by the Green Party the most left wing party in the UK.

    It was implemented by the so called Conservative Party, first by George Osbourne then supported by Philip Hammond.

    This tax is Economically illiterate and will hurt both Landlords and Tenants and is unlikely to succeed in it’s lofty aims.

    In my opinion if this had been in the Conservative manifesto in 2015 the party would not have got a majority.

    The fact that having won the election in 2015 and introduced the measure in an emergency budget tells you all you need to know about the current so called Conservative party.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • 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