Tax cuts for all

Tax is a necessary evil. We need substantial revenues to run a government and to provide decent public services. The UK believes in state payment for most people’s heath care and school education, whilst we need police, armed forces and intelligence services to help keep us safe. We also need to send money to those who cannot earn enough to support themselves and their families to an acceptable standard.

There is a common thread amongst politicians to want to use tax as a means of changing or controlling people’s behaviour. Many favour so called sin taxes, imposing taxes on drinking alcohol, smoking or eating too much sugar, as a means of changing diets, ending smoking and cutting down on alcohol consumption. Government often is pulled both ways with such taxes. They both want high revenues from them to afford public services, and claim to want lower taxes as people cut out the sinful product. This reinforces the idea that taxes are bad news.

There is also common thread of redistribution in tax plans. Many politicians want to tax the rich because they do not want them to be so rich. The problem with this approach is it can act as a disincentive to behaviours which politicians usually claim to back. Taxes on the rich can become taxes on hard work, on saving, on investing, on building a business or on backing a good idea. Taken to excess taxes on the rich drive the seriously rich out of the country, demotivate the not so rich and create an atmosphere hostile to enterprise.

The UK currently has a very complex tax system, and high rates on various conducts. There is a high rate of tax on those who dare to invest in residential property, high taxes on motorists, on people who earn higher salaries and on buying a home in expensive parts of the country.

We need a tax simplification, and a move to lower rates. Working hard or buying a home should not be seen as a sin that needs curbing but as a free choice the government is relaxed about. People who set up businesses, take risks and create jobs should be particularly welcome, not objects of suspicion by the tax authorities.

This is why I continue to press government to have an early economy boosting budget that includes tax cuts. Income tax, Stamp Duty , VED and VAT cuts are much needed to boost our homes market, car market and to leave  people more of their own money to spend.


  1. Pominoz
    August 4, 2019

    Sir John,

    A clean break WTO Brexit will permit the UK freedom to choose just how the saved expense may be redirected for the benefit of UK citizens. Tax cuts and tax simplification are not only warranted, but essential. However, it is imperative that the savings triggered by Brexit are maximised.

    The Brexit bonus can be increased significantly if, immediately on exit, all UK citizens receiving the State Retirement Pension, but living in the EU, have their pension frozen. Furthermore, it should be frozen at the level it was when it was paid for the very first time, however many years ago that was. So that this cost-saving measure is not seen to be singularly unfair to those UK pensioners living in the EU, it should also apply, again with immediate effect, to UK pensioners living in the U.S.A.. The Philippines, The Channel Islands, Turkey, Jamaica, etc. Overall, the savings would add significantly to the Brexit dividend.

    It is accepted as a possibility that some overseas pensioners may need to return permanently to the UK, and thereby utilise the services of the NHS, on the basis that they can no longer afford to live in their country of choice. However, no doubt a couple in their late eighties, for example, would soon re-adapt to UK life even after 30 odd years on the Costa del Sol.

    Appalled by the above proposals? Another option (and this is the preferred one), is that a small part of the Brexit dividend should be allocated for the benefit of UK pensioners living in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, etc, who should have their State Pensions immediately unfrozen and paid at the level they would receive, were they resident in the UK. The issue of the shortfall due to underpayment for, in some cases, decades, should be discussed.

    Why should those UK citizens who have contributed to their pensions for the whole of their working life, but then chose to live in certain destinations abroad, be so blatantly and seriously discriminated against. The Boris Government is already considering allocation of funds to enshrine in law the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and to provide an amnesty for illegals. Clearly, if approved, their wellbeing is prioritised ahead of some UK pensioners. Surely this hardly accords with the British sense of fairness?

    I hope that, by highlighting this grossly unfair issue in this way, I have drawn to the attention of those unaffected just how inequitable this situation is for the half million plus people (4% of all recipients) whose State pensions have been frozen, often for many, many years. The cost to remedy this indefensible situation is assessed at around £0.5 billion. Can anyone think of a more meaningful use of just 1.3% of the £39 billion saved?

    1. Peter
      August 4, 2019

      The article does not mention inheritance tax which has now been arranged so that it is state sponsored theft.

      Ordinary folk with an average house and assets never used to be affected. Now it will hit huge numbers who have never had to plan for it before.

      Rich folk are used to it. So they use trusts and various other measures to mitigate the effects. Even some of the great socialists like Tony Benn make provision to give inheritance tax a swerve.

      I suspect ordinary folk will soon learn to hide assets as happens in the third world. I don’t blame them.

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      August 4, 2019

      The problem is that the state pension isn’t funded by the tax you paid over your working life. That pot is empty. It’s funded by 20 something and 30 something UK nationals who have likely been stitched up with student debt, NEST payments, mortgages on property pumped up by stupid Help to Buy schemes, and who can’t even contribute a decent amount to fund their future pensions without being stitched up by punitive tax rates. You’d rather stitch them up a little bit more so you can spend their taxes not on services or goods they provide but someplace else?
      It’s a choice thing. Live in the UK and get your pension which recycles into the UK system, or live some where else on your own resources.

    3. Hope
      August 4, 2019

      Do not forget Cameron Promised to stop welfare payments to EU children who never set foot in this country at the time about £33 million.

      Tory govt. Promised to cut health tourism, now dropped by Hancock, costing hundred of millions and longer waiting lists.

      Tory govt promised no more ECJ, but EU citizens allowed right of appeal to ECJ under Mayhabs servitude plan including their unborn children!

      Johnson now claiming their rights will be protected. It needs to made absolutely clear what he means.

      Does it mean just them or include any family member at any time in their life or thereafter?

      Does he mean the right to live here on the same basis as UK citizens or under a different system proposed by Mayhab’s servitude’s plan? A bit like Mayhas Sharia law disgrace. One law should apply for everyone decided by our parliament and our courts. Including MPs!

      1. Hope
        August 4, 2019

        In relation to tax your party is thoroughly discredited and cannot be believed. It is the highest taxing party in fifty years and more than the last two Labour govts.

        We could talk about balanced structural deficit by 2015 and reducing debt, we could talk about no rises to VAT by Osborn or freezing council tax. But we know your govt has repeatedly lied. We could also talk about the 80% cuts and 20% tax rises but we know again your govt repeatedly lied to get elected.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 4, 2019

          Lies, lies and more lies on taxes from the Conservatives, Still they have not even delivered the £1 million IHT tax threshold promised by Osborne years ago. Yet Cameron said he was a “low tax at heart Conservative”. Alas never one in reality.

    4. sm
      August 4, 2019

      When I emigrated to SA two years ago, I was told my state pension would be frozen at the amount then paid to me at the point of leaving. Nor do I get the stupid Xmas bonus.

    5. MB
      August 4, 2019

      Fully agree.

    6. Fred H
      August 5, 2019

      State Pensions have relied on the existing workforce contributing to the fund. Government have not invested tax into companies and schemes to pay significant amounts for eventual pensions. It is this problem that the likes of Andy take issue with. When us pensioners reflect on our younger major tax paying years we don’t remember being so angry about funding pensioners income. We hoped we would similarly be looked after in our declining years.
      We can reflect and object to the way tax was used ( wasted) in pursuit of international wars, so-called Aid being stolen by corruption or assisting nations developing nuclear arms, space flights etc. Tax has been used in vote buying, such as the benefits package that for too many years has encouraged idleness.
      To pick on one subject, there are many, why should young women have rental paid for accomodation when their parents have empty bedrooms?

  2. Bernard from Bucks.
    August 4, 2019

    “There is a high rate of tax on those who dare to invest…”
    There is also a high rate of tax on those who dare to die.
    It should be abolished.

    1. Fred H
      August 5, 2019

      Bernard….and at the other end of life, Child benefit should pay a tax free figure, (say £500 pa per child under 10, £800 per child over 10), for maximum of 2 children per adult (over 18 parent). This would discourage large families relying on state aid, and either man or woman having children with other partners. All that complicated tax calculation would be got rid of in a stroke. Announce it to be introduced from tax year 2022/3.

  3. Mark B
    August 4, 2019

    Good morning

    We need substantial revenues to run a government and to provide decent public services. The UK believes in state payment for most people’s heath care and school education, whilst we need police, armed forces and intelligence services to help keep us safe.

    Let us take his line by line.

    The government does not have to provide all the services we receive. The NHS was born from private hospitals. Ask yourself this, what came before the NHS ? Yes it was a good idea at the time but it has been turned into a political sacred cow by the Left who benefit via the Unions. Same too with education.

    I do not mind contributing so long as those being treated or educated do not come from sections of society who do not contribute or, feel it is their right to have FREE, and it is FREE to them, services. I do not believe in that ! And please do not bring the police and the armed services into this. The Conservative Party has been cutting both budgets and numbers for both the police and the armed services and the Security Services are overwhelmed due to all people we allowed back from Syria.

    I do not mind paying tax. What I mind is, paying tax on what is a private transaction between me and another, for which the government has no involvement or reason to take such sums. This ranges from VAT on food and other non-luxury items, to Stamp Duty (please, please someone tell me what that is for ?) to the TV Tax and more. The government should only tack from my pay and no more. Plus, no tax should be levied unless it is spent in this country on our people.

    1. Simeon
      August 4, 2019

      Good morning.

      The NHS is not just a political sacred cow. It has been politicised, just as education has been politicised, and welfare and the benefits system. Of course, politicisation is inevitable when they are funded by the public purse. Such politicisation is hugely damaging to the sick, the needy and children, the recipients of these government services.

      But there is another oft-neglected aspect to this, and this is the damage done to those who fund these services. Not the damage to tax payers wallets, but the damage done to their consciences. The most illustrative example of this is abortion.

      The usual arguments around abortion are very familiar, but the point here is not the morality or not of abortion – at least not directly. Rather, it is the point that those who, quite reasonably, and certainly legitimately, hold the view that abortion is wrong, are nevertheless compelled to fund and enable what they see as being wrong. This is an unavoidable consequence of having a NATIONAL health service, funded by all and accessible by all. It is also an unacceptable consequence, for the damage done to people’s freedom of conscience is so severe, and therefore demonstrates why health care must be funded voluntarily, with controversial treatments funded only by those in agreement with them.

      The principles that apply in this matter are relevant in every instance of the funding and provision of services, because there is always a moral dimension to such policy decisions, and different people have different morals. The moral argument for voluntary funding as opposed to compulsory funding is therefore, in my view, clear cut. The implications are huge, and unquestionably radical. That this is so is indicative of how badly wrong things presently are.

      1. 'None of the above'.
        August 4, 2019

        Your argument appears to be sound for those who might share your beliefs but it is incomplete and therefore unbalanced.
        Eg., How would pay for all other elective treatment(s)?
        What billing decisions would you make to treat people with alcohol and tobacco related conditions (all self-inflicted)? Would you charge people with Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension due to obesity?

        As with all public services, particularly The Emergency Services, questions of morality exist. We either treat everyone or we turn back the clock a century or so and adopt a policy of “devil take the hindmost”.

        1. Simeon
          August 4, 2019

          I appreciate your concern that my argument is incomplete. It wouldn’t be practical to make it comprehensively here. But the point about freedom of conscience is fundamental. I believe it must be the point from which political thinking proceeds. If not even Our consciences are free then we are surely tyranised.

          The question of how exactly health care is funded and delivered is not for me, or indeed anyone, to answer for all people. Rather, individuals must make these decisions for themselves. But, and this is crucial, individuals should, and I’m sure in most cases would, recognise that these major issues need to be addressed collectively. Individuals freely associate and then collectively meet whatever challenge as they see fit. Different groups will choose different courses. Individuals participating in these groups will do so with the integrity of their consciences preserved.

          Charity is clearly implied. Those with more OUGHT to help those with less. But they shouldn’t be forced to.

          Of course there is no perfect solution, and even if there were, it would be disputed, for views differ, and rationalism is not supreme. That this is so is all the reason more to allow different views and practices to coexist, rather than attempt to impose one way of doing things on all. (Not that I’m suggesting this is your view!)

  4. oldtimer
    August 4, 2019

    At least the new Johnson government is staffed with advisors in key places who actually believe in much if not all you have written. Let us hope they succeed in changing attitudes to the role of taxation and help those ministers seeking reform and simplification of the UKs bloated and inefficient tax system.

  5. Stred
    August 4, 2019

    It would even things up if there was a tax on wind. The wind belongs to everybody. It flows around the planet and we can all breathe it, dry clothes with it and sail boats for free. However, wealthy land owners and big green businesses are using vast amounts of wind and charging the rest of the population three times the going rate for our electricity. Large wind users should be taxed and the money used to reduce bills.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      The wind farmers are not farming wind but farming these moronic government green crap subsidies. Without these subsidies we would have very little ate all. The money would have been far better used had they left it with tax payers.

    2. Ian terry
      August 4, 2019


      It would appear that this country is not the only one falling into this carefully orchestrated ambush from the green lobby.

      Look across the channel at France. The main concern of Macron and the French government would seem not to be the risk of riots, the public’s discontent, the disastrous economic situation and its consequences. Instead, it is climate change.

      With all this pressure being applied to save the world, politicians are losing sight of what is important and the lack of attention to the detail allows companies to receive millions of pounds in subsidies and constraint payments that drive up our energy bills and redistribute the wealth to the minority and not the critical masses.

      The sun is used by everyone why is it the fortunate few can make huge profits with solar farms. If and when we leave the EU this country will need every acre of land to grow our own produce for its ever growing population.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        August 4, 2019

        Stated and Ian. Brilliant posts and so true in everything you say here. The amount of subsidies thrown at this unreliable, noisy, bird and bat killing obscenity is disgraceful. Has anyone noticed a reduction in their energy bill. Electricity prices are extortionate and it will only get worse once everything and everybody is forced – yes forced to use it.

        1. graham1946
          August 4, 2019

          No reductions, in fact the opposite. I am just coming to the end of an 18 month fixed electricity contract and I find the price increases in that period are a shock. Prices have crept up almost without anyone noticing and they are substantial – in my case 22 percent from my current supplier and they are not the dearest – the big six want even more.
          Another con being forced on the customer is the ‘smart meter’. I don’t want one, have no need of one and don’t waste juice, but it seems that if you want a new contract you have to sign up to one. In my case it will be interesting to see what happens as we can’t get a mobile phone signal, or even a decent Freeview signal in my village, so maybe I’ll be spared this peeping tom fire hazard in my home.

      2. stred
        August 4, 2019

        The French energy minister is as mad ad May. She thinks that they can make aviation carbon free within ten years. The last one wanted to close most of their nukes and run the country on renewables, rather like Gummer’s goons. Some French farmers must make more from windmills than CAP milking.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 4, 2019

          Indeed total “virtue signalling” lunes with zero understanding of physics, aircraft or energy engineering.

  6. Ian Wragg
    August 4, 2019

    All levels of government act as a colossal waste machine of people’s hard earned money.
    HS2, Hinckley Point and IT systems to name but a few.
    There is massive scope to reduce government spending especially on manpower and pensions.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Indeed there is, but we largely have a government that thinks the 20% should live of the backs of the more productive 80% and rules for the interests of the 20%. Theresa May, Cameron, Osborne and Hammond, Brown and Blair all did this in spades.

  7. BCL
    August 4, 2019

    I work in the area of taxation and see the effect on people of the rates charged. The 50% barrier is a significant one psychologically. As soon as someone realises that the government will get more than they themselves from any extra effort, the incentive to make the effort evaporates. That is the effect of the current 62% marginal tax rate when people start to lose their personal allowance. Recent changes to dividend taxation have also acted as a disincentive and a huge spur to tax evasion and the rates of stamp duty are catastrophic. I could go on!

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      We have tax rates effectively at 100% plus in some areas such as the mad pension rules. Landlords are taxed on profits they have not even made which is not sustainable and hits tenants. It is insane thank goodness the economic illiterate Hammond has gone. Let us hope Javid is not as bad but I am unimpressed so far. Why no expression of his vision, why such delay on the pension lunacy that is cancelling operations, why no cancellation of HS2?

  8. Bob Dixon
    August 4, 2019

    I can put my cash and stocks and shares into ISA’S tax free. My unquoted private company shares cannot be put into ISA’S.
    The result is that capital gains and dividends held in my ISA’S are free of tax. I am taxed on my dividends from my company. I receive £30k pa and thanks to Osbourne and Hammond now pay tax. Tax is now paid twice by way of corporation and income taxes.
    Why should I vote Conservative?

  9. Dominic
    August 4, 2019

    This is far too simplistic though I applaud John’s focus on one of the most important issues facing the UK. The issue of direct and indirect taxes to fund all State activity.

    My gripe regarding this most fundamental of issues that defines the relationship between private person and the State is one of the abuse of the taxpayer by political parties for party political gain

    This article’s builds its arguments on the assumption that all taxes that flow into the Exchequer are spent wisely, apolitically and specifically on delivering State services and other functions. This is naive

    For many years now Labour have been surreptitiously and strategically abusing the taxpayer to finance the construction of a client state that bends to the will of Labour and its protection as a political force. The Tories have turned a blind eye to this most appalling abuse of people’s hard earned taxes. We can now see why Labour embrace high spending and high taxes. Lower taxes reduces their ability to finance their expanding client state apparatus

    It is the Tories responsibility to explain to the taxpayer that they are being abused by Labour and in many cases by previous Tory PMs

    Labour even have the temerity to create the idea that paying more tax is an act of social compassion and social concern for others. Shameful considering that Labour’s only concern is the protection and promotion of itself as a political entity. This party builds itself into the very machinery of the State. They’re like an infection.

    So slashing taxes of all kinds reduces the ability of governments to waste our money. It also reduces the ability of Labour to sup at the trough of taxpayer to finance their ‘out of government’ power.

    Quite simply, I want to see Labour and their pro-Labour activists that are spread throughout the State and indeed employed at protected salaries utterly purged. The public-private apartheid system that Labour’s been building since 1997 and indeed carried on by the ignorant Tories is appalling

    Public sector reform is vital. You’ll get strikes but that’s Labour fighting to protect its political power-base that is the public sector-State

    Don’t argue for lower taxes, argue for a wider understanding of Labour’s parasitism and why lower taxes are moral and are a sign of freedom, health and efficiency that reduces waste and promotes apolitical delivery of public services

    1. Simeon
      August 4, 2019

      A number of excellent points. I would add to them the observation that the Conservative party have been (and indeed are? I don’t get the impression anything much will change with a new PM) complicit in this. The thing is, the phenomenon you describe has existed since at least 1945 (Thatcher’s era was a brief exception which made no difference to the direction of travel).

  10. sm
    August 4, 2019

    John, the UK has an Office of Tax Simplification. It prepares reports on various aspects of tax simplification.

    To the best of your knowledge (as an MP with considerable financial acumen), how much of their advice has been adopted by the Treasury since the inception of the Office in 2010?

  11. Andy
    August 4, 2019

    You might want to tell Boris Johnson your views on tax. He has spent his short time in office spending money – on police, schools, railways, Scotland.

    I am not adverse to spending money. I am adverse to politicians who lie about it. You can only spend money if you have money to spend. And for a government that means taxes.

    Mr Johnson fraudulently claims that he can slash taxes (mainly for the wealthy) and buy services for everyone else. Another big fat Boris lie.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      People and businesses spend their money, on average, far better than governments. Tax above about 20-25% of GDP makes a nation poorer, damages growth, deters investment and lowers the tax base for the following years. Surely this is fairly obvious? Look as the recent counterproductive wars, the absurd Green crap, the ERM, the NHS, the duff degrees and HS2. Read the Blunders of Government book.

      Government and bureaucrats in general care not what they spend nor what value they get. Unless it buys votes in marginals perhaps.

    2. Edward2
      August 4, 2019

      “you can only spend money if you havebmoney to spend and for a government that means taxes”
      Wrong andy
      Don’t forget the huge amounts generated bt the proceeds of economic growth.

  12. Bryan Harris
    August 4, 2019

    Most of us would support a smaller government budget that wastes less, along with less taxes. It is no longer acceptable to use taxes for social engineering or to change habits.
    A total rewrite of taxation is badly required, that is not just fair and helps innovators, but allows those on basic income to live without having tax burdens – especially where that tax burden gets propagated into things like tax credits, adding more complications and upping the tax for everyone. Make items for basic living 0%VAT – That is a priority.
    There are very simple ways to reduce the number of tax inspectors by changing the way that income is taxed and making it less personal.
    Those in public life that live on the gravy train, quangos, and the way ineffectual intellectuals hop from one quango to another, all have to be managed effectively.

  13. Mike Stallard
    August 4, 2019

    I hardly pay tax as an OAP.
    But am I wrong or did Mr Brown seriously complicate the system? Is it not time to make it really simple? Cut out all the many rules and regulations. Just, say have one income tax, for example?
    Also I am fed up with the nanny state telling me I am fat, that I am unable to control myself with alcohol, drugs and gambling and that Grannie KNOWS BEST. Quite often, she doesn’t.
    Quite often.

    1. Man of Kent
      August 4, 2019

      Well said! Me too.
      Government is unable to trust individuals to do what is best for themselves.
      Eg health ,why not give every one – UK that is -their share of the NHS budget and make them responsible for their own health. Through their own designated health fund.

      They would soon make up their own mind about what is good for them and act accordingly .I like sugar in baking ,it gives bulk and depth in flavour.Is it good for me ? I’ll decide that thank you ,certainly not you big government.

      Instead responsibility is assumed by the state with many many wrong calls being made , the blood disaster ,hospital care for the elderly,statins or no statins.

      Singapore has a good model ,why not copy that ?

  14. agricola
    August 4, 2019

    Taxes penalise the thrifty and support the profligate. No more obviously than the way end of life and death are treated. If you have led a profligate life and end up with little or nothing, the state takes care of you and disposes of you for nothing. If you have been thrifty and self supporting, the state takes almost all of it if you need care etc. If you have an end of life care system then like the NHS it should be free at the point of need.

    Startups should be free of tax to a greater extent than they are, especially relating to VAT. The start point should be much higher in terms of turnover and progression should be graduated. 10% is an acceptable maximum for an inactive partner such as government to expect. 5% at one million turnover is as much as any government should expect.

    Post Brexit you need to incentivise world business to set up here. Buisness rates at 10% would do so. Might
    induce a few enterprises to return.

    The esscence of tax in future should be reduction, simplification, and government doing less. As an example setting move, Members of tbe Commons and the House of Lords should cease control of their own financial and tax free priviledges. They should have to buy pensions on the open market, to better appreciate the plight of their constituents. No more free TV licences so that they understand the plight of the elderly. Like the rest of those self employed, they should cover their expenses from what they earn, not in hand outs and subsidized living. Their position should be reviewed by a panel of self employed businessmen. It should not be a cosy arrangement between them and HMRC when MPs set their own rules.

    Left to me the Commons would be reduced to 250 members and the Lords to 100. The former consisting of proven successful professionals from life with an absolute ban on career politicians. The Lords to consist of end of career professionals. Career politicians are too easily bought by vested interests. If you paid MPs four times their existing wage the saving would be considerable.

    Well there are a few ideas to mull over. If the Conservative Party and democracy are to survive you cannot continue on previous paths which have led us to where we are. Nor can you tinker at the edges. Radical change/reform is necessary you are an ageing fruit tree in need of severe pruning to survive.

    Reply I do not claim back my tv licence and I dont think it is permitted to claim it anyway

    1. agricola
      August 4, 2019

      There must be a lot you do not like inthis submission to ignore it for so long.

  15. Lifelogic
    August 4, 2019

    Tax is indeed a necessary evil but tax at the levels, tax complexity and the gross stupidity we currently have is hugely damaging to the economy and to the future tax base.

    Necessary to provide decent public services you say – so where are these decent public services? Most are appalling and declining further by the day. The NHS is appalling and kills thousands with endless delays, rationing and gross incompetence. Just as one would expect of such a massive, “free” at the point of use public monopoly. One of the worst systems (in terms of outcomes) for a developed county.

    So much tax is wasted and spent on pointless or damaging thing. 25% of what would be a far higher GDP is more than enough. Why should I be taxed to death to fund worthless degrees in pointless subjects (at least 50% of them) or to fund projects as mad as HS2? Why should the feckless be encouraged to remain so?

    At least Boris has finally said he will sort out the pension anomaly which is cancelling countless operations. When it should have been done ages ago. It is only the tip of the iceberg. Why are the 20% state sector workers remunerated (when pensions are included) at about 150% of the other 80%?

    1. James Bertram
      August 4, 2019

      Well said, Lifelogic.
      So much tax is over-complicated and market-distorting.
      And so much tax is wasted (money to the EU, for example).
      Incompetence rules.
      I do not have the answer – but electing more competent politicians might be a start.

    2. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      You say:- “I continue to press government to have an early economy boosting budget that includes tax cuts. Income tax, Stamp Duty , VED and VAT cuts are much needed to boost our homes market, car market and to leave people more of their own money to spend.”

      Indeed but why have we not even had some declaration of intent from the rather unimpresive Javid? All the above needs to be addressed plus the pension mugging lunacy, a restoration of personal allowances and child benefits which have been taken away from many, the absurd landlord and tenant mugging taxes, the up to 15% moving home job mobility tax, plus we need capital gain taxes to be reduced and indexed to inflation again. The government need to give us the £1 IHT threshold each (as promised by Osborne & the Conservatives so many years ago). Not just Hammond’s complex and fake con trick botch!

      Javid & Boris need stand up tomorrow and say how (and when) he is going to undo the fiscal mess that Brown, Darling, Osborne and Hammond have made of the UK tax system (increasing the tax code size by six times and giving us the highest taxes for 50 years). It is doing huge damage to the economy. Just announcing a direction would help. What are they waiting for!

      Javid also need to get some real competition in banking and cut some of the very damaging red tape on lending. It is doing huge harm and killing many sound projects and investments. Margins free and condition on lending are prohibitive. Taxing landlords on profits they have not even made is idiotic, unsustainable, cuts supply and hurts tenants.

      The Conservatives should be a party of low taxes and far smaller government or they are nothing. Currently with taxes at a 50 year high they are nothing until they change direction.

  16. Sea Warrior
    August 4, 2019

    You also need to pressure Johnson to stop spending money like a drunken sailor. The NHS had its boom years under Blair, a reasonably good deal under Cameron, a massive increase under May, and now, to counter ‘Johnson’s women problem’, an extra £2 bn. I think that we need to increase the degree of hypothecation of NI. Only when people see a direct correlation between what they get from the State and what they then have to pull out of their pockets to pay for it, will we see some semblance of responsible spending commitments return to government. In the meantime, the budget for Overseas Aid should be slashed.

  17. Sharon Jagger
    August 4, 2019

    Many of the current crop of MPs are not conservative in their views. Indeed I would go so far to say they’re actually LibDem minded, as was Tony Blair’s administration.

    A lot of the taxation and nanny state doctrine has been imported from the roman law way of mainland Europe. And as 80% of our laws etc are directly from Brussels- that’s not the British way. Hence our desire to make our own laws and set our own taxation.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Indeed, about 2/3 of Conservative MPs are daft Libdims (at best). The PM Major, Cameron and May (and of course Bliar and Brown were too). Let us hope Boris can rescue the party from the appalling mess these tax borrow and waste, pro EU, green crap pushing socialist idiots have created.

  18. Pominoz
    August 4, 2019

    Sir John,

    Off Topic. It is heartening to notice that some of the sensible views which you consistently air here are now reaching a wider audience courtesy of the Daily Express. If you can also get them aired on the BBC we shall be delighted (and amazed!).

    P.S. Is it my imagination, or have the ‘Remainer’ contributors to this blog become rather more strident of late? Perhaps a sign that they feel the democratic referendum decision might soon actually be delivered.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      The BBC bias is just appalling. They are obsessed with “diversity” in skin colour, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religious garb wearing etc. but it seems that despite this everyone who works there had to be pro EU, a climate alarmist religious nutter who hates Trump, Boris and any climate realists, wants ever higher taxes, more NHS, more regulation of everything and want ever bigger government. Little diversity there then. Second rate, lefty art graduates and luvvies almost everyone of them. Andrew Neil alone was fairly balanced and even he seems to have been sidelined.

      The BBC is one of the main reasons the UK is so appallingly governed, they so often set the mood of the nation and the national debate. They are wrong on almost every single issue.

      I see from recent any questions that Geoffrey Cox and Robert Jenrick the new housing minister (surely better than the appalling Brokenshire) are both pushers of green crap. Law graduates so rarely understand much science, logic or rational thinking. Reading huge, often idiotic & contradictory, statutes and judgements all day cannot help much I suppose.

  19. Andy
    August 4, 2019

    So Mr Duncan Smith has compared Brexit to the Reformation.

    Perhaps IDS sees himself as a Martin Luther type figure.

    We are genuinely killing ourselves with laughter.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      August 4, 2019

      Careful Andy, mummy will get cross. Be a good lad and eat all your soldiers up or else you won’t be allowed out to play.

    2. Fred H
      August 5, 2019

      Andy ….so glad you are laughing hysterically. I feared you were terribly depressed.

  20. formula57
    August 4, 2019

    “…and to leave people more of their own money to spend”– thereby Thatcherism makes a welcome return! Long overdue.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Except that:-

      The overall tax burden (all taxes as a percentage of GDP) rose from 39 percent in 1979 to 43 percent in 1989.

      Far, far too high we should be aiming for under 25% – but it would then be 25% of a far higher total GDP.

      In Singapore it is about 14% and GDP per cap (PPP) is more than double the UKs.

      1. stred
        August 4, 2019

        Part of the GDP of Singapore comes from the many British and nation’s other companies which have to relocate there in order to compete. If they don’t, internet agencies have to charge VAT and have crippling taxation and administration costs that competitors based in Hong Kong and some US States do not. There are hundreds of tax exiles. Dyson had to set up his electric car business there. The UK loses all that Corporation, Income and VA tax. Tax free zones here would allow them to come home once we are free of EU rules and the European Courts.

  21. David Potter
    August 4, 2019

    I agree that tax cuts are needed.
    The Chancellor should be looking to rapidly increase the annual tax free allowance to £15,600 [which equates to £300 tax free per week] with an eventual aim by 2022 to increase the allowance by a further £5,200 to £20,800 [£400 per week]. The tax free allowance then needs to increase on an annual basis by a meaningful amount [say £20 per week or ££1,040 per year]. Thus by 2027 the tax free allowance would be £26,000 or £500 per week which is more than twice the current level.
    At the same time he needs to increase the higher rate bands by the same amount [not a percentage] AND reduce the 40% rate by 1% per annum [so by 2022 the rate would be 37%]. With regards to the 45% rate this should reduce by 1.5% per annum [so that by 2022 the rate would be 40.5%]. If the Chancellor was a canny politician he should point out that by 2027 the higher rate of tax would be 33% and that there would be only two tax bands.
    With regard to NIC the Chancellor needs to drastically increase the point at which this kicks in OR introduce a lower % between £166 per week [the current kick-in point] and the tax free allowance threshold.
    If a tax [say stamp duty] is set too high and the total tax it raises falls then that tax is too high. Reduce it.
    If the tax free pension contributions are harming peoples incentive to work [doctors etc.] sort it out.
    The Chancellor should set up a Reform Committee to reduce the rules on personal taxation to one side of A4 paper.
    As for Corporation Tax we should have a two pronged attack for reducing the rate. Firstly, those companies employing large numbers of people in the UKoGB&NI should pay a lower rate [as I do not have access to the details I am guessing the number should be 75,000 plus] and secondly, the overall rate should reduce significantly. Why not have a 10% rate from 2020?
    Just as on personal taxation another Reform Committee should be set up with the aim of reducing the “code” to two pages of A4 paper [4 sides].
    With regards to VAT we need a Chancellor who will set some rules that stimulate the right actions. By this I mean, for example, Zero rate on those items which help reduce heating costs or increase the use of solar panels etc.. Females should not be penalised by having to pay VAT on menstrual products.
    I could go on and on but, at the moment, the sun is shining and She Who Must Be Obeyed is telling me to go and do some work in the garden.

    1. acorn
      August 4, 2019

      Corporation Tax (CT) should be globally modelled on “Destination-based cash flow tax”, as currently being considered by the US. The current CT is an origin based production tax. “Destination-based tax system; focused on where a product is consumed, eliminates incentives that multinationals now have to “game the system” through tax inversion and other means, in order to “avoid taxes” and to “shelter profits” by “shifting” “intangible assets to low-tax nations.” (WIKI)

      1. Edward2
        August 4, 2019

        That would probably require companies to produce annual accounts in every single country they sell into.
        Imagine the extra admin for a multi national based in USA that sold into over 100 nations.
        How do you decide the profits made in each nation?
        How do you apportion head office management costs, research and development costs between each of the nations you sell into.

        1. acorn
          August 5, 2019

          There is no corporate taxation on exported goods, only goods produced AND consumed domestically. The importing country decides the import tariff or consumption tax it will apply. With a possible trade agreement involved.

          1. NickC
            August 5, 2019

            Acorn, Wrong. Again. Corporation tax is not levied on goods and services like VAT, it is levied on company profits. CT is paid by UK businesses which export. Insofar as a business makes a profit on a good or service sold for export, so a proportion of that profit makes a marginal contribution to the CT bill. So of course CT is applied to exports as well as domestic sales.

  22. formula57
    August 4, 2019

    The last Farage-led UKIP manifesto had three bold, appealing ideas about the public purse: abolish IHT, slash foreign aid (iirc to levels akin to those of our Evil Empire enemies) and abandon the Barnett formula to remove the unjust subsidy enjoyed by Scotland. All easily and quickly achieved to great taxpayer benefit.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      August 4, 2019

      Thumbs up to all of that Formula but I can’t see the last one happening. Sturgeon would have a hissy fit and independence would look more likely which from my point of view wouldn’t be a bad thing but wouldn’t for some reason sit well with the governments. More likely, just like Brown even more money will be thrown their way by way of appeasement so they get an ever better lifestyle full of freebies while we dumb English pay for it.

      1. Turboterrier
        August 4, 2019

        We not only pay through the nose thanks to th BF which is the most pathetic of agreement ever, money for nothing. What about the millions paid to Scottish Community Councils for having to have windfarms trashing their countryside, destroying their wildlife and devaluing their properties all paid for by the energy bill payer regardless if the are industrial, commercial or domestic. Politicians want this country to succeed and we have created a system which increases every bodies living budgets. Real cheap energy is the key to success just look at America creating real jobs and profits.

  23. Fred H
    August 4, 2019

    Taxation is now so complicated that it will take years of undoing to deliver a level of fairness, sharing, motivation and responsibility. Starting with taxing the user vehical tax shoul be on fuel usage, petrol, diesel and yes electricity. Repair, testing cost should not be VAT’d. Clothing for children birth to 5 should be exempt. After that clothing on school uniforms, plain shirts, trousers etc should not be VAT’d. Personal allowances should continue to be raised each year to gradually take more and more out of income tax, thus motivating and assisting the poorly paid. Work must always pay better than living on benefits.

    1. Fred H
      August 5, 2019

      oops vehicle.

  24. Nigl
    August 4, 2019

    Few politicians are/have been business men and woman so do not understand you can get more by spending less. They join to spend money and tell the rest of us what to do.

    Boris is spending his time throwing our money about. Has anyone heard ‘government efficiency/savings being mentioned?

    Of course not.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Not before elections. The visionless, lefty, robot Theresa May tried “a vote for us and with with punish you” manifesto at the last election. It predicatbly did not go very well.

  25. A.Sedgwick
    August 4, 2019

    Sorry to say but your piece is a pot boiler. Government tax and spend policies have been dire for many years and the chance of any serious reversal is zero. Our economy is politically not economically driven. Financial logic and fair play are not part of the equation. One blindingly obvious example – Hinkley C power station to be built by a French company, partly state owned, with a system that is unproven if not reckless, financed by China with a guaranteed return and no doubt future tax payers will have to pay the decommissioning for a few hundred years. Lunatics and asylum spring to mind.

  26. Kevin
    August 4, 2019

    Tax cuts are indeed appropriate as you describe, but there is much more going
    on in the UK that needs addressing by a Conservative government. For example,
    my understanding is that the Public Order Act was originally a response to street
    marches by “armies” of blackshirts in the 1930s. On social media, however,
    you can see black-clad and masked groups apparently escorted by police. Why?

  27. Edwardm
    August 4, 2019

    I agree, we need tax simplification and less variation in tax rates with reduction in the highest rates and not to use tax as a punitive weapon.

    Also stop the retrospective hounding of people for minimising their tax bill within rules that were accepted at the time.

    1. Dominic
      August 4, 2019

      Tax simplification equals less HMRC staff. Complexity and confusion is absolutely wonderful for bumping up state employment and therefore deliciously expanding budgets of public sector organisations that aren’t self-financing

      The public sector gravy train is chugging along nicely and all those aboard are having the ride of their lives.

      There’s no austerity for State employees. It’s party time 24/7

      Labour will fight to the death to protect their public sector vested interest and the spineless Tories will bend over backwards to help them

      It will take a PM with spine and courage like Thatcher to crush Labour and their parasitic politics

      1. Lifelogic
        August 4, 2019

        It will take a PM with spine and courage like Thatcher to crush Labour and their parasitic politics.

        Indeed it will indeed, also to crush the vast number of socialists and parasites that are Conservative MP, in the Lords, work for the BBC, academia, in the legal profession or are top civil servants.

  28. steve
    August 4, 2019


    “Working hard or buying a home should not be seen as a sin that needs curbing”

    I agree entirely!

    It’s seen as a sin by Labour, who are dead against the masses owning property.

    Blair’s dematerialisation act and theft of millions of people’s house deeds demonstrates that perfectly.

  29. J Bush
    August 4, 2019

    Given the cost of health tourism and that the BMA have recently voted to stop billing overseas patients for NHS treatments and the government refuse to take them to task over this. Why?

    If the government won’t do anything about stemming health tourism, cease finding more insidious ways to tax the people to offset this cost. Why won’t it take this cost out of the foreign aid budget, seeing as they refuse to reduce it?

    Enough of these ‘wimpishness’ and sjw idiocy.

    The government can then publicly release this annual cost, so that the public and the BMA know exactly what their virtue signalling is costing the taxpayers.

  30. Everhopeful
    August 4, 2019

    All taxation is theft.
    And I used to believe in the system until I realised that my tax money was being used for the pet projects of politicians.
    NOT for my benefit.
    Look at this country…where has massive tax extortion got us???

    1. nhsgp
      August 4, 2019

      That’s why we need the right of consent put into law.

      Then you can say no, when politicians decide to use you for their own ends.

    2. jerry
      August 4, 2019

      @Everhopeful; “All taxation is theft.

      Wealth is also theft from others. Not-for-profit is the way forward, split all profits equally among those who have created them!

      Both (zero taxation) Capitalism, and (collective) Communism are failed ideologies….

      1. sm
        August 4, 2019

        Jerry, what you seem to be proposing if I understand correctly is a kibbutz system – it really wasn’t working that well when I worked on one in the mid 1960s, as the hard-workers got increasingly irritated by those who got by doing the bare minimum.

        1. jerry
          August 4, 2019

          @sm; I wasn’t proposing anything, other than a very large dose of sarcasm perhaps. I’m quite happy living in our mixed economy, paying fair taxes, receiving fair benefits in kind from the State!

  31. Dave Andrews
    August 4, 2019

    Tax cuts can only happen either if the government spends less or borrows more. Less spending please.
    Reducing spending convincingly has to tackle the health and benefits spending.
    I’m not in favour of completely privatising healthcare, as those in need not through their own fault, will be the ones least likely to be able to afford it themselves. However, I do believe in privatising treatment for lifestyle diseases.
    Same with the benefits, the state shouldn’t have to meet costs people have elected to incur.

  32. nhsgp
    August 4, 2019

    You need 30% of taxes, 220 bn a year just to pay the debts.

    None of that goes on services.

  33. jerry
    August 4, 2019

    The only universal tax in Sir John’s last paragraph is VAT yet from other previous writings it is clear that he still considers VAT a valued govt cash-cow, wanting only ‘populist’ cuts in rate or exemptions. Those on a low wage, in rented accommodation and without a motor vehicle will see little benefit from his other suggested tax cuts, is that really going to take the fight to Labour, convince those who voted for the 2017 Corbyn manifesto to switch their votes to the Tories at the next GE?…

    How about we find other ways to benefit from the Brexit dividend, that will benefit everyone, and the economy too. Why not leave tax rates broadly as they are but boost the funding of LAs from central HMT pot, thus allow cuts in Council Tax, the Govt could perhaps help the High Street by making up any short falls in LA funding due the to banning of (excessive) Town centre car parking fees, HMT could also vastly cut bricks-n-mortar retail UBR (allowing the High Street to compete with on-line), HMT could further subsidise PT, especially in more rural areas. Then of course there is the need to better fund the NHS, and education across the board – both of which have to be accessible cradle-to-grave like never before, due to changing on medicine, technology and social demographics.

    Or, perhaps the savings could be used to support a rebirth in UK based manufacturing currently off-shored to our direct competitors…

    Let’s be a little more imaginative about the specific problems of today, not just fall back on the solutions to a specific (income tax banding) problem from 40 years ago!

    Reply My tax cuts are primarily designed to create a more prosperous economy which helps everyone. By definition tax cuts help people with income and savings more than those with low incomes and no savings. Vat is zero on essentials which figure more prominently in low income budgets.

  34. bigneil
    August 4, 2019

    With cuts to services ( paid for from our taxes) purely to give ” free everything” lives to hundreds of thousands a year arriving who have not contributed and probably never will, to the main tax “pot” + Increasing £Billions given away in Foreign Aid – that appears to just vanish into someone’s bank account + HS2 “which will need more money” ( nobody surprised there !). + the world able to walk in and use the NHS, complete with translators paid for by us, etc etc, the rich will ensure they stay rich, so the poorer section of society will suffer.
    Why does our own government look after new arrivals, more than they look after their own? Anyone would think they want us gone – it won’t be long till white people are an ethnic minority in the country they built and paid for.

  35. Sir Joe Soap
    August 4, 2019

    Don’t forget business rates – the biggest brake on expansion and employment.

  36. 'None of the above'.
    August 4, 2019

    I would like to see a system which eliminates NIC as it is a tax on jobs. Perhaps it could be replaced by a proper, fully funded (by investment) and fit for purpose pension scheme which would allow the state pension scheme to be phased out. It should be a compulsory scheme, similar to the work place pension, but substantial and resilient enough to replace the state pension and current occupational pension schemes.

    Stamp Duty should be abolished providing the purchase is for the sole (and only) residence of the purchaser. This will free up the availability of homes for smaller families because stamp duty is a tax on moving Home.

  37. David Cooper
    August 4, 2019

    One further illustration of government ineptitude might be labelled the “road to hell” tax. The lifetime allowance on pension contributions – having of course been introduced by Brown by way of socialist redistribution – was paved with good intentions by Osborne and Hammond when they described it as an instrument of “intergenerational fairness”. But how fair is it to the young when their GPs decide to retire in their 50s because they are deemed to have reached the lifetime allowance threshold via their mandatory superannuation, and do not wish to face a massive tax penalty by continuing to work? By abolishing the lifetime allowance, Boris would be able to say “Unlike my predecessor, I listened and I acted.” What’s not to like?

  38. Gareth Warren
    August 4, 2019

    I would like to see a much simpler tax system, and we should leave the hate and envy to todays left – they do it very well along with (allegations ed) of anti-semitism.

    I think we are as a society very generous to those who are disabled, I am (partially sighted for a year now with numb areas of my body). I can claim benefits for helpers, tools for work, taxi’s too and from work, money to pay bills etc. Right now I do not and intend in future to keep it at a minimum. The fact my profession requires just use of a computer means I can still be employed in a job, which improves my life measurably.

    I do not subscribe to the cult of NHS, here while I would want a safety net for those unable to pay I do believe on of its evils is it deprives the health system of the money of those who can pay.
    A central health system also minimises the number of centres of excellence, with no real benefit seen for experts to treat patients. Perhaps once we know there is a specific problem the funding should follow the patient.

    One last area we should invest more is in defence, we should look at it as a good way to get people trained in engineering. As a island nation we rely on the royal navy, the recent events with Iran show that if we are unable to defend ourselves other countries will take advantage. A larger navy is a very good thing too for British industry.

  39. BOF
    August 4, 2019

    Tax is indeed far too complicated and the need for simplification is overwhelming.

    The need for the current too high level of tax could be largely removed by reducing the size of the state. The ridiculous number of quangos needs to be drastically reduced. We all remember David Cameron’s ‘bonfire of the quango’s which ended up as a cub scouts first attempt at a campfire on a rainy night!

    Government funding of charities, especially through the disastrous 0.7% foreign aid, destroying the meaning and purpose of charity.

    And urgent. Abandon the looming white elephant, HS2, before it is too late and redirect that money to improving existing lines to increase capacity.

    Pursuing socialist policy to appease Labour will never help to achieve lower taxation.

  40. Dominic
    August 4, 2019

    When will people understand that the British State and its public sector is now a political and financial vested interest in its own right. Its primary purpose is to protect and repel all threats to that favoured position it now enjoys

    For example. The primary aim of the modern NHS is to protect and expand their budgets. NHS administrators now take clinical decisions based on political considerations not what is lawful. Treating foreign patients and refusing to demand payment is designed to trigger the Tory party into a response so that some pro-Labour NHS medic can they play the xenophobe card against them

    Once you grasp the truth that the State is now owned, run and operated by political operators rather than people whose concern is the protection of the end-user and the elevation of VFM then it all falls into place

    The Left’s ‘march through British institutions’ is almost complete and their politicisation of all things is paying massive dividends for them

    The Tories can fight back but at present they’re either utterly clueless or utterly spineless

    Abolishing all political activity in the State sector is a start

    Start with the BBC. Abolish the union opt-in system in the State sector to bankrupt Marxist Labour. Stop all public sector advertising in left wing rags like the Guardian and the Mirror. Purge Labour’s Quangocracy especially the CPS, the Police, the Elec-Comm, OFCOM etc etc

    Criminalise the demonisation of white, hetero males

    New laws to protect freedom of expression

    Just a start for a Tory PM with a spine.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019


  41. Newmania
    August 4, 2019

    …and why not marshmallow people and marmalade skies as well …?

    I`ll have one of what he is having !

  42. Rob
    August 4, 2019

    Cut corp tax to 10%, higher income to 35% and allow all capex to be written off in same year. That would attract investment… Attract entrepreneurs from abroad.

  43. Hugh Rose
    August 4, 2019

    We are often told ‘sin taxes’ don’t work – well the disposable plastic bag tax did and the benefit is clear for all to see. Time the Government extended it to lots of other plastic packaging at point of sale. Please get onto it!!

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Except that more plastic by weight was actually sold with heavier duty plastic bags unused only a few times.

      1. Fred H
        August 5, 2019

        but enormous numbers of the free non-biodegradable thin ones were abandoned everywhere, streets, fields, rivers, seas. No end to the disaster. Wildlife getting caught up, trying to digest etc. At least the longlife variety reduce numbers produced down to something like 5-10% and are less likely to cause problems with animals, sea creatures being harmed. Its a first step in moving back towards paper and hessian or leather shopping bags.

  44. AlmostDead
    August 4, 2019

    “The UK believes in state payment for most people’s heath care and school education”, and with this underlines the problem with our government. The UK, should simplify the tax code, we should cut VED, VAT, etc. But this doesn’t go far enough. We don’t need these government run services for healthcare, schools, etc. Instead they should be privatised and individual responsibility should be the driver. Funding for these services would be made by private individuals as they see fit from the tax savings passed on by the government. The resulting government would be massively smaller. Corporate taxes could be set to zero to generate more economic activity.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      Exactly and education and health care would be far better quality too.

  45. Christine
    August 4, 2019

    People in the UK have no say on Government policies. We elect a party based on their manifesto, they get into power, forget their promises and implement whatever they want. Take for example the Foreign Aid budget. Nobody voted for this massive expense. Neither did we agree to extra payments to the EU, hidden from us but disclosed by facts4eu today. Other betrayals like signing the UN Global Compact when 130,000 people signed a petition against. The list could go on and on.

    Is it any wonder we are sick to death of our politicians.

  46. Pragmatist
    August 4, 2019

    Tax on tobacco has led to an acceptance in otherwise law-abiding people of criminality of getting the stuff at half price and a sneer at government.
    Tax on alcohol has justified in some minds the decades held belief that illegal drugs get you as good an alcoholic effect at a twentieth of the price and a sneer at government for free.
    When Americans were prohibited, Canadians made a fortune and Canadian huge houses on their southern border say something about that historically as Canada freely admits.
    The Labour Party mindset actually wishes to use tax to attack successful people even though such attacks diminish and do not increase the size of the national cake. Their hate,and ideological hatred, overrides their thinking logically.
    So cutting taxes across the board is good news. It proclaims the government does not necessarily love you but hates to rob you unnecessarily even for its usual vile cross-party agenda.

  47. BR
    August 4, 2019

    1. Why does taxing the “rich” always end up as a discussion about *income* tax. To me, the rich are people who have large levels of funds and assets, not those who work for remuneration.

    Whenever we try to point this out the slippery politicos turn it back to a discussion about high earners.

    2. Yes, almost all business activity except big business is taxed to death while large corps get away with profit-shifting. IR35 is a stupid tax on a flexible technical workforce that is essential to business but seen as an “soft target” since there is little sympathy for them in other areas of society (goes back to point 1 – the green-eyed monster seems to apply when discussing other people’s remuneration, but not when it’s someone who sings songs or kicks a ball, or inherits wealth from daddy).

    To get to a sensible place on this, it’s first necessary to win the argument on terminology and ensure that the debate is correctly positioned on wealth not income (and stays there).

    Note: Hong Kong has the best services in the world, yet only the highest earners pay income tax.

    Note 2: VAT is actually a good way to encourage saving. it is also a good way to tax those who try to dodge tax, such as travellers – they all have to buy bread. You can give targeted reliefs to those in difficulty and you can increase rates on luxuries such as yachts, whereas reducing rates benefits all, rich and poor.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 4, 2019

      There is no VAT on bread or indeed most food. Do they not live off snare caught rabbits, blackberries, tickled trout, pheasant road kill and badgers and hedgehogs baked in mud?

      Then again perhaps I am a little out of date?

    2. ukretired123
      August 4, 2019

      You are spot on about IR35 having been self employed when Labour’s Gordon Brown introduced it in 1999 some 20 years ago spun as an anti-avoidance tax on small businesses.
      It was a sledgehammer tax to crack a small nut and put enormous strain on small technical expertise companies and ended up deterring a more thriving entrepreneurial economy of small companies similar to the USA based on the digital explosion at the birth of the internet.
      Labour favoured employees in large companies and saw this as a threat to their very existence. Gordon Brown in particular was described by David Cameron as an obstacle to digital progress after rattling off the many millions he was planning spending in the Budgets.
      No politician has identified IR35 as an onerous deterrent to a more enterprise driven economy and until they do we will continue to suffer. The onus is in you to prove you take risks and I worked abroad at times just to prove this beyond doubt and paid in fluctuating foreign currency too since no case law existed for it. Pathetic IR35 indeed thanks to Labour and Gordon’s warped world view on little companies and self employed folks.

  48. mancunius
    August 4, 2019

    I’m sure that like myself large number here entirely agree with your viewpoint, Sir John.

    However, if the Tory government does actually limp into Brexit on the 31st October, what indication do we have that the parliamentary party will actually begin to understand what its post-brexit objectives should be?
    Your colleagues have been quietly pursuing big-business support while broadcasting catchpenny pseudo-socialist messages to the voters for so long, they have forgotten what goals Conservatism is supposed to stand for, and what a proper Brexit needs.
    If on the 1st November large numbers of Tory MPs resume campaigning, this time not to remain but to rejoin the EU – in the confident belief that their big secular safe-seat majorities and landowner votes will protect them from harm – the Tories will vanish like a puff of smoke.
    The Brexit Party appears to be well aware of that danger, and it and its voters will not disband until your colleagues have shown a genuinely contrite understanding of the harm they have caused. Preferably by resigning their seats.

  49. Arnie from Newington
    August 4, 2019

    For property investors it is far more important to stop the section 24 ban on mortgage interest than the additional dwelling supplement.

  50. alastair harris
    August 4, 2019

    The default position is always tax and spend, but there are other models. If the state offers a minimum income through a welfare model, then the provision of many services could be through a competitive free market, allowing people to make choices. For example healthcare could easily be paid for through insurance schemes, with many service providers competing to supply. It is after all one of the key lessons of the 20 century that Marxism doesn’t work but free open markets and competition makes us all wealthier. The provision of housing is currently a matter for much debate. But the debate operates in a limited space with little room for innovation and plenty of stifling bureaucracy. Surely the role of Government here is to legislate to enable a market to operate, and to regulate. Not to stifle and dictate.

  51. URL
    August 5, 2019

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  52. Stephen O
    August 5, 2019

    Social mobility needs people to have post tax income high enough to pay their bills and have a surplus left over. The higher taxes are the less people can improve their position through work. High taxes hurt social moblity, but many politicians who bemoan current levels of social mobility as inadequate want higher taxes!

  53. Stephen O
    August 5, 2019

    A tax on sugar makes no sense unless you also tax other simple carbohydrates which turn to sugar in the body. So bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. Before politicians start using taxes to improve the nations diet they should understand what a good diet is!

    The biggest problem with the nations diet is bad government advice.

  54. Lindsay McDougall
    August 6, 2019

    “The UK currently has a very complex tax system.” So simplify it. e.g.

    VAT at a flat 10%, with no exceptions.
    Excise duty on alcohol, tobacco and transport fossil fuels, rationalised.
    Stamp duty at a flat 10%, with an eye on abolition.
    Income tax at 0% on minimum wage earnings, then at 20%, then at 40% on £70,000+ pa.
    No special treatment for income from investments and interest.
    An end to means testing of family allowance payments.
    Corporation tax at 20%; no need for further reductions.
    International action to avoid multi-nationals paying very little tax.
    CGT at 15% for gains exceeding inflation, with no exceptions.
    No tax credits for foreign nationals.
    Abolish betting tax and share transaction taxes (no tax if no net gain).
    A gradual phasing out of all pensioner perks.

    If a modest adjustment to State pension payments and welfare benefits is needed to protect the poor and elderly, so be it. The poor and the elderly should not be an excuse for failing to simplify taxes.

    Let’s get into the right spirit. How about a statue of Nigel Lawson at parliament, with his bon mot underneath: “Taxes should be low and everybody should pay them.”?

    And as simplification proceeds, sack civil servants that are surplus to requirements.

Comments are closed.