No need to increase taxes

(A longer version of this was requested by the Daily Telegraph for this morning after I had prepared this blog)

Levelling up is a good idea. It requires tax cuts, not increases. It requires using the planning system to allow more building and construction based investment in the parts of the country that want the extra jobs and money it brings.

The government has just shown how a tax cut can provide a good boost to activity, jobs and incomes. The cut in Stamp duty has encouraged people to get on with swapping their home to a property that is closer to their current needs. It has helped people downsize and upsize, to move from urban areas to  more rural areas, or to move into cities from the countryside. It has allowed people to buy extra space for  homeworking, or  locate closer to schools or workplaces. It has given them more choice.

As a result housing transactions have just exceeded the pre pandemic levels. When people move it creates work for the estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage businesses, removal firms, painters and decorators, builders doing small works and many others. The Inland Revenue will probably be a winner too from  taxing all that extra activity as well as getting a Stamp duty boost from more transactions as some offset to the lower rates. 

Government works best for people when it respects their wishes, helps them achieve their ambitions and extends their effective choices. We need a series of policies that do just that. Levelling up needs urgent action to bring in  extensive freeports to boost industrial and commercial investment. It needs cheaper energy so we make more things here. It requires new farming and fishing policies so we grow and rear more of our own food.

The government cut the top rate of income tax and collected more revenue from the better off. It cut the rate of corporation tax and collected more revenue from business. It offered a meals discount and kick started restaurants. Let’s have some more policies that promote levelling up  by cutting taxes and costs for people. That way we will get the deficit down more quickly, from all the extra activity.

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243 Comments

  1. Grimsby Cod
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Why do your spend your time writing this stuff when you know that the government will do what Mr Gove and Mr Cummings want to do, with no regard for anyone else’s views?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Mr Cummings wants this list implemented.
      Who is Mr Gove?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      It’s a less tough call than joining and expanding UKIP/Brexit parties would have been. Somehow we voted for these people too, so neither do we have anything to be proud of.

      We desperately needed to take that course back in 2010 or even 2019, but somehow both our host and we the electorate were too frightened to step into the unknown.

      An opportunity and now a country lost.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Sir John hangs on to the concept (waivering belief?) that common sense and sensible policies come out from Westminster and Downing St.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      I believe you give Dominic Cummings way too much credit, do you really think DC (if the rumours about his attitude and intentions are true) would have rewarded the double-crossers in the Conservative party that didn’t follow the previous manifesto promises to the people that voted for them?

      Instead ‘someone’? rewarded them with titles and better pensions to work against the government in the Lords, even Nicky Morgan is being put forward for a high ranking position, there was no requirement to do this – Boris was given a public mandate the biggest in history. We seem to be walking through someone else’s plan right now but it isn’t conservative.

      There is nothing to stop this Conservative government changing taxes in a conservative way at all, but from Osborne onwards they have just worked to ensure, as reported yesterday, that we have highest sustained taxation since the 1940s!

    • JoolsB
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      +1. Exactly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Well one day they might. No sign yet though. HS2 construction begins today it seems with a promise of 22,000 jobs. If only these people were building something that was a sensible investment and value for money. I estimate about 3 real jobs destroyed for each of these 22,000 – this due to the taxes extracted from other businesses to fund this white elephant.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Why HS2 when we desperately need the best broadband we can get ?

    Zoom meetings are the way forward.

    Social distancing is going to kill all the things that make Cities worth being in.

    London as a global airport hub is looking finished. It’s looking finished as an entertainment, tourist and banking hub too.

    Why HS2 when just as many jobs can be created building something we’re actually going to need ???

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      “It offered a meals discount and kick started restaurants. ”

      You should have called it what it was: Eat Now Pay Later.

      The government didn’t offer these meals using its own money, you know.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Another quick BILLION frittered away …

        • hefner
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          £522m for 100m discounted meals, and some tens of thousands of pubs and restaurants not having to close. Are you jealous that the commercial properties you are holding were not part of a similar scheme?

          Given the interest rate that the UK government can get for its borrowings, the extra £522m incurred by the EOHO scheme will hardly appear on the balance sheet over the length of the period they might be reimbursed.

          But I should know that some people here have problems with numbers.

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            Good point.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            All these small amounts add up.
            A few hundred million here and a few hundred million there.
            You say it will hardly appear on the balance sheet.
            I hope you never were involved in the financial side of a big business.

          • hefner
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

            Ridiculous point, and not for the first time on the same topics. We are not talking business finances here, but the Government budget, the country’s finances. Is it so difficult to understand?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            In a previous post you claimed the whole fishing industry was only 0.1% of GDP and therefore not worth worrying about.

            20,000 jobs and many billions of pounds worth of trade.
            You are very generous with other people’s money and jobs.
            Presumably a career in the public sector now enjoying a nice fat public sector pension
            All these millions you think are meaningless add up and have an effect on other people’s lives.

        • hefner
          Posted September 6, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Sorry, I pointed out the 0.1% of GDP and 12,000 jobs of the fishing industry but didn’t say it was not worth worrying about.
          I simply find surprising Sir John’s emphasis (hang-up?) over the years on this particular aspect of the UK overall economics.

          I perfectly understand the role of the fishing industry in the ‘sovereignty’ debate as it is certainly a topic that has had a lot of resonance with people even far away from coastal regions. And any politician worth their salt might have wanted to jump onto this bandwagon.
          It remains the case that in proportion there are industry sectors much more important than fishing both in terms of contributions to GDP, employment, and possibly, more importantly, of likely impact on the country’s future economic development.

          But if you are happy to go on with Mrs Thatcher’s ‘household economics’, please go on.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 6, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            Again you dismiss a few billion of pounds and tens of thousands of jobs as an unnecessary “emphasis” and “a hang up”

            And even more cynically you think that an MP who fights for this industry’s success is “jumping on the bandwagon”

            Your economic policy is to just concentrate on the big few sectors.
            Eggs in one (small) basket comes to mind.

            Yes I shall go on.
            Thanks for the permission hef.

    • Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      +1. HS2 is an obscene waste of our money. Government pig-headedness at its worst.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Following EU directive.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      I had my first face to face meeting in five months yesterday.

      So much better

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Not mask to mask?

  3. oldtimer
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    All very sensible. But do we have a sensible government?

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Exactly, though taxing people then wasting half of it in admin costs just to give some taxpayers a tiny bit back as a cheap meal out or some vouchers that can only be spent on insulation is clearly idiotic.

    We need real stamp duty cuts not a temporary holiday to creat this mini boom and then a bust after March 31st when it goes up by up to £15K. Like the bust we had after Lawson stopped double tax relief foolishly announcing it in advance back in 1988. Then we had the appalling ERM from the idiotic John Major to really destroy the economy and the property market (in starting a bit later in 1990).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Not quite as moronic as Gordon Brown announcing his sale of UK Gold reserves in advance though – at about 1/6 of today’s price I think.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        something had to pay for his largesse.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Yes he doubled the funding for the NHS thinking that would make him a hero and shut them up. 😂😂

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Indeed we all did.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Plus he destroyed private pensions with tax raid on them too. Needless to say not reversed by the Conservative and indeed made even worse with other taxes and the 55% tax on pension pots.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Displacement vs genuinely new activity is a key question.

      How many of the current housing transactions are genuinely new and how many are transactions that would have happened anyway, just at a different time?

      Much as happened with the 50p income tax rate cut where, as HMRC’s figures on declared income showed, what occured was that people deferred taking income in the last tax year of thre 50p rate and pushed it over to the tax year with the 45p rate. Perfectly rational behaviour for someone who was affected and in a position to engage in such tax planning, but it distorted the real effect of that change.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        In the first year the tax change did gave that effect but since then revenues from those higher rate income tax payers has risen and not fallen as some predicted.
        The top 1% pay nearly a third of income tax.
        43% pay no income tax.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          The revenue raised is distorted in an upward fashion by the complete lack of indexation in the decade since the current top band was introduced. It is at the same level now as the day it first came into being.

          Over that same time period, average earnings have increased overall by about 20%. As a consequence, each year more people end up being caught by it as incomes increase, so since more people are paying the top rate compared to 10 years ago, guess what.

          What would the figures look like if the top band had been increased in line with inflation or average earnings (meaning it would now be somewhere closer to £180,000)?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

            Lots of what ifs there Peter.
            And your version of statistics.

            When top rates reduced revenues rose.
            When capital gains tax rose revenues fell.
            Both surprised many expert economists who said the opposite would happen

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            If you don’t index link a tax, it will capture more people over time, and therefore raise more revenue. This outcome is not unique to the top rate of income tax.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            When has UK income tax been index linked?

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            Index linking of certain elements of the tax system has often been written into law. Have a look at the Finance Bill 2015 as an example.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        2013-14 when the 50p rate was reduced to 45p, show that there was an £8bn increase in revenues from additional-rate taxpayers,
        John people say £6bn of this was deferred from 2012-13 but do you know the true amounts?
        Did the revenue increase drop the following five years or keep increasing?

        Reply Every top rate cut has led to more revenue – see the Lawson success with this

    • Stred
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Looking at the possibility of moving from London to Sussex selling a modest three bedroom terraced house with the now ridiculous value of £650,000 and buying a similar property for the same price, the buyers of both properties would pay £7,500 SD now and £22,500 when it goes back up in March. Total to Treasury £15,000 or £45,000. These higher amounts are near to a person’s average annual salary.

      The Capital Gains tax increase back to income tax rates after indexation was removed puts the UK at the highest CGT take in Europe. Even high tax France has indexation which after 30 years means that tax is zero. Sunak is proposing that the upper rates will apply and this is applied to the whole gain from the single sale. This would take most house sale gains into the 45% band, with loss of personal allowance too.
      This means that on a property where the BTL investment was made twenty years ago, the real value of the gain is 50% of the sale value. Housing inflation is even higher and so by selling a property the owner would be unable to buy another for even half the price. Or perhaps they could sell and put half of the proceeds into savings at almost zero real interest rate.

      The government is planning to make private rentals more bureaucratic and expensive in order to winkle out stressed BTL investors and grab the unreal investment gains. We might as well have voted for Corbyn.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Quite so. Yet foreigners pay CGT calculated from April 2019 on commercial property and I think from the year before for residential.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Indeed you have it about right. Immoral and economically very damaging & killing jobs & the tax base.

  5. Mark B
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    As I have said numerous times here – Less is more !

    As our kind host points out, the reduction, and hopefully removal of Stamp Duty/ Tax, will put more money into people’s pockets. Money that can be used in the wider economy. And through personal and business taxes the government gets the money back. It also helps business to grow and create jobs. This means fewer people on benefits. That’s less money for the government to find.

    We also need to find these tax reductions by cutting both spending, waste and duplication. Again- Less is more !

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      You spend your money to get 100% bang for your buck

      The government spends your money (tax) they get maybe 75% bang with your buck

      Less is more – less taxation translates into more investment, a bigger boost and more efficient use of funds

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        75% you are rather optimistic 30% perhaps! Also when they spend it they are not only inefficient but they buy something you did not want anyway. Things like HS2, insulation vouchers, mad renewable energy subsidies, (very limited and expensive) electric car vouchers, motorist muggers, red tape production and other complete idiocies.

  6. Nigl
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Totally agree and it is good to begin to see push back against more labour tax policy allegedly being promoted by Sunak as the Treasury’s ‘puppet’ at least trying to remind people the Torys are the low tax party. It will of course be spun that is the direction of travel but politicians are ‘vampire squid’ to their core existing to spend not save money.

    Unfortunately you fail to talk about cost saving on the day Boris formally gives the go ahead to the HS2 white elephant.

    Government respecting people’s wishes? Ha.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      A herd of white elephants

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        we’ve been waiting for a last death-knell trumpet.

    • Geoff not Hoon
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Come to The Chalfonts and see the roads already completed to give access to the massive rail tunnel vent ducts and you would think the dreadful waste of money was already complete.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted September 5, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        I’ve seen it too in Kilburn, NW6. A three generation business compulsory purchased & raised to the ground to provide an air vent for HS2.

        This herd of white elephants could stampede & flatten Johnson & his (choose what you think the most appropriate) inefficacious, inefficient, incapable, incapacitated, powerless, impuissant, impotent, ineffective, weak and inept government

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    There is, after all, so much fat in government that could usefully be cut out. We should also not believe all the loss of GDP output figures at face value. For many state sector workers it makes little difference this as so many have little (or even have negative) real output anyway. The fact that some have stopped normal activity can be a positive thing in very many cases and not very negative at all in others.

    JR omits to mention the real win/win options a bonfire of red tape and going for cheap reliable energy & fracking and not the religeious, subsidised, expensive, intermittent and pointless renewable lunacy. Also stop pushing electric car subsidies when they make sense people will buy them without subsidy. Cut house building costs by cutting most of the OTT green crap building regulations too.

    This would increase economic activity, increase profits and thus tax take, increase real jobs and decrease the need for many parasitic and damaging jobs in the state sector. Start with all the landlord licencing, the endless attacks on the self employed, the making tax digital and all other costly and hugely damaging lunacies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      The other win, win would be huge tax simplification. The costs and time spend on compliance is in effect yet another tax on top for the actual tax. Cut that and you cut out many parasitic jobs in the private sector too. Increasing profits and thus tax take and increasing real productivity. Tax advisors, HMRC staff, accountants and lawyers all released to do more productive work plus directors’ and managers’ time is released for more productive work too.

    • matthu
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I think governments (those able to do so) will borrow far, far more than current spending. They will then use this incredibly cheap source of finance to buffer and thus lower future taxation in the immediate short term while they drastically simplify and restructure the taxation system.

      They will then move away from taxation of income and far more towards taxation of discretionary spending. This will tax those who can afford it more equitably.

      People will find they will be taxed more for data streaming services (easily monitored and taxed, had to avoid), more for international travel, more for second houses, more for comfortable executive cars, more to be able to enjoy silver service restaurants, more for elective surgery, more for private tuition.

  8. Nigl
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Off topic but current and very worrying. Logistics companies are saying your arrangements for post brexit birder controls are totally inadequate leading to massive bottlenecks.

    I suspect I am not alone amongst your contributors in not being surprised one jot, but you will be far closer to the situation.

    Reality not spin reassurance would be welcome.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      I’m beginning to think that this government is incapable of conducting early, productive liaison with stakeholders.

  9. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    The stamp duty ‘holiday’ is just a gimmick because if it is ended as quickly as it began all it will have done is distort the market. Transactions will have been brought forwatd and afterwards there will be a forced fall from the forced high. A more permanent reduction in the tax would be of greater benefit.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      +1

      • JoolsB
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        +2

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          +3
          My daughter’s neighbour has just had an offer accepted for a terraced house in Honor Oak, SE23 for £920K, £50K over the asking price after being outbid last week offering the asking price of £880K which was sold for £950K, £70K over the asking price. Utter madness but how the markets reacting to the stamp duty “holiday.”

    • SM
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      +2

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Stamp Duty levels must be frozen or dropped. Thousands of homes that have not sold for a decade are selling. Imagine the frustration of the millions of people stuck because there was a rigged housing market for the Corporations and ‘first time buyers’ who don’t start a chain if they buy new.
      Allowing the housing market to operate is not a ‘perk’ – its a right!
      If this were the Tory Manifesto at the next election I would start campaigning for you NOW!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Indeed and for higher prices properties too. Turnover taxes are very damaging indeed to the economy.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Why did they keep stamp duty so high?
      Obviously it was some sort of scam from the beginning since it kept the housing market in stasis.
      Did they want to create pent up demand?
      And then release the floodgates at a particular pre planned moment in time?
      The EU has a directive called “Build Europe“ …every single objective of which Boris appears to be following slavishly.
      Apparently the COVID outbreak has underlined the importance of building more and more and more houses…probably to shut us into when they declare the next pandemic..oh no..they are still capitalising on this one!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      In London the stamp duty reduction resulted in prices increasing – so making no difference to the affordability of houses at all – the Government reduced their revenue for no benefit at all.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        they foolishly think the ‘message’ gets them votes!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s Stamp Duty that distorts the market, not the ‘holiday’ from it!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        +1

  10. Peter Wood
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Excellent Conservative principles; why would the PM and Chancellor be thinking about raising tax rates?

    I would add, REDUCE government involvement in our daily lives, reduce the size of government/civil service, we only need a government that does what the private sector cannot do. Before Covid, government spending as a percentage of GDP was around 40%, (what it is now I shudder to think) it should be Government objective to keep it below 35%. (Korea is 30%, Source OECD Data)

    P.S. Fisheries: Control of OUR fishing grounds for the benefit of our fishing industry. An Independent Coastal State that only allows foreign vessels, at its sole discretion, is a necessity to keep the Conservative Party in office.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      +1 but 20-25% is fine. There is certainly no need for the state to run fairly dire, virtual monopoly healthcare, education etc. It does huge harm. Freedom and choice please, not taxed to death and then get what you are given like it or lump it.

      Take it or leave it mate we have you money already. Oh and by the way most of the NHS has closed down due to Covid to it might be well over a year for your urgent op mate. You could go private but we have taxed you so much you probably cannot afford to. Plus we have taken over many private facilities too.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Fisheries: Apparently the proposal put forward by the Government is that the UK fishing “quota” in UK waters should double. So in UK waters in the English Channel our cod quota would go from 9% to 18%. Really taking back control there eh ?

      • Peter Wood
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Whose proposal is that, the EU’s?

        Listening to the report to the House last Tuesday, the legislation suggests full EEZ control, as an independent coastal state, with the objective of putting the UK fishing industry first and only allowing foreign vessels in on licence. As it should be.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Correct – there can’t be any influence, control, barter or deal over fishing…fishing is now the measure of our freedom from the EU and a condition of referendum success
      But this conservative government doesn’t get it

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Rishi Sunak seemed unconcerned after his highlighted notes revealed there would be “no horror show of tax rises”.

    There should be no tax rises at all mate, especially if you want most of the corona virus loans to actually be repaid and people to remain in their jobs. You could usefully undo you 90% cut in entrepreneurs tax relieve which was completely the wrong signal to send. Then finally keep the £1 million IHT threshold promise from Osborne (the one that made Brown bottle his early election perhaps the only sensible think Osborne did). It is still just £325K even now.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Yes!

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      LL. the subtlety of it all. IHT threshold can be £1 million for the main residence of a married couple so they would always say that in a way they have honoured the promise.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        A pathetic fig leaf con trick. It is over complex and only applies if you you are a couple giving your main home to children or grand children. More idiotic complexity. What was promised was a £1 million threshold each.

        Sensible countries have no IHT or CGT in the US IHT is only over about £8 million and at a much lower rate too. 40% over just £325K each is totally absurd. It say if you are rich go and live elsewhere or spend a fortune on tax planning.

        • miami.mode
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          I don’t disagree with you, but to compare the UK with the US on tax rates is not really fair. Whilst we can go on and on about the NHS I’m always reminded of a couple who went to work in Denver and she had her first baby there around 10 years ago. Even with health insurance it cost them a minimum of $7000.

          They then returned to live in west London and she had her second baby with no health costs at all. Her words “thank goodness for the NHS”

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            The NHS is dire but the US system to also bad. Far better systems exist.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        In a dishonest and con trick way – they are pretending they have! Not many are fooled.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    If you want to ‘level up’ then the digital divide exposed by CV19 is the one you want to sort out.

    And as house building estimates indicate an exponentially growing population we need reservoirs and power stations.

    All of this can provide Keynsian employment far better than HS2 – which is already obsolete and will result in empty trains sucking out what power is left in our national grid.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      UK population absolutely is not growing exponentially.

      Its rate of growth is slowing, and expected to slow further. It has been, on average, very approximately linear since about 1950.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Measuring growth in percentage terms masks the effect on numbers.
        It is exponential in that a 1% growth now means lots more extra people than the same percentage did 70 years ago.
        Population in 1950 was approx 50 million
        2000 it was approx 60 million
        2020 estimates are a population of approx 68 million.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish as usual. How come you have your own set of facts? For instance in the year 2000, pop was about 59 million. In 2019 it was almost 68 million (that we know about) an increase of about 15 percent. Not much linear about that.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Martin must be thinking of a vertical line?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        on average, very approximately. Yet it is slowing?
        Thanks for the precise definition.
        Everybody got that?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        How on earth do you know Martin, they didn’t know around 57,000 Windrush people who are considered the UK population were here.

        We hear that there were no reliable figures of the number of people in say Grenfell Towers which suggests people don’t fill in the Council tax information properly in London.

        We now know exactly how many homeless people all of the Councils had to find homes for during the covid pandemic, typically white men we are usually told, well how many were there? Were they all uncounted UK population? If these aren’t in usual census counts then they should be now.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        So the 715 000 Doctors, Nurses and scientists who came here to the year ending March 2020 didn’t add to our population? Or the 7 million additional people added to our population during the Tory years from 2010 didn’t either? How about the 8 million + or so under Labour, when they sent out search parties? They won’t be reproducing either? Thankfully it’s the unskilled and untrained people that are leaving to become unemployed in the former colonies on benefits. I’m sure those Countries would be as generous to them as our Government is to the boat people and others, whilst our veterans with mental health problems are still homeless on the streets.
        You couldn’t make it up how incompetent our current politicos are. I read yesterdays debate in Parliament and it was frankly ……..pitiful left wing BS. The public at the end of their tether.

  13. Bob Dixon
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I agree with your comments.Does your party agree?You need to convince The government.

  14. agricola
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Yes agreed, when is Rishi Sunak due to announce this new plan “A” and will all those negative forces within the treasury, the ones thar repeatedly tried to keep us in the EU, now back off and allow a recovery along the lines you suggest.

    One aspect of recovery you do not mention, unless it is in the Telegraph version, is a curb on goverment spending of the sort that never produces a profit, however you define profit. HS2 comes to mind.

    Another mention that needs clarification is cheap energy. Has the love affaire with everything green ended and if so what does the drive for cheap energy consist of. Our capability to thrive in the World has been sabotaged for too long. The inheritors of CND need dealing with for the greater good of the many. They continue to be tolerated disproportionally.

    I omit all that has been and continues to be shambolic in the fight against Covid19 because that is the nature of warfare. Now that methods of identifying it are becoming clearer and accurate can we end the panic decision making. I am sure the travel industry would welcome it along with thei customers.

  15. Adam
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    A Govt that works sensibly for the people it represents should be normal.
    The description presents that as if it is a new discovery.

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    The Treasury is wedded to tax, spend and waste. You are wasting your breath.
    Start taxing electric cars and reduce VED on luxury cars.
    No chance.

  17. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The cut in Stamp Duty has – a hundred percent predictably – simply caused estate agents to advise sellers to increase their asking price by the amount that a buyer would otherwise have saved.

    It has given us all time record average prices.

    “Levelling up” is just yet another slogan.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      And you prefer the Government to own 15% of UK housing in perpetuity and receiving a regular income each time there is a sale.
      PS Taking that sort of share of the U.K. housing stock was a MASSIVE expropriation of private property. Totally unacceptable.

      • jerry
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        @Lynn; Who said anything about property sales, there is space for both rented LA housing and private ownership, just as there was before the 1980s, the way some commentators talk on this site anyone might be mistaken for thinking no one before the “Right to Buy” ever owned their own properties!

        • miami.mode
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          jerry, by mentioning Stamp Duty MiC’s comment implied property sales.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Most of those dreadful estates built by Local Authorities have either been demolished or taken over and properly refurbished by Housing Associations.
          A relative of mine lived n a LA flat.
          6 weeks to replace a broken front dor lock
          Lifts never working.
          And lads more besides.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 6:11 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Wrong, unless you are seriously suggesting most of the Right to Buy properties sold to tenants have been demolished!

            As for refurbishment, your point being what, who lives in their own home as it was built 50 to 100 years ago, even in the 1970s Local Authorities were refurbishing housing stocks built in the 1930s.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            Not what I said.
            LA Council flats and housing estates were badly built and poorly maintained and many by me had to be demolished.

            People who exercised their right to buy often improved their homes and driving in these areas their homes stand out.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Your comment is an oxymoron, in one breath you assert that all LA houses and flats were badly built and in the next you assert they were so well built their tenants bought them via Right to Buy. Duh!

            Stop being so contrary all the time Eddie, is arguing your hobby?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            No that’s not what I said.
            I said property bought under right to buy were improved by the people who purchased them.
            They invested in these properties and it shows.

            Compared to the Council who gave a poor service to their tenants and failed to carry out proper maintenance and fast repairs.

          • jerry
            Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Yes it was what you said. If a property could be improved after the tenants RTB then it could have been refurbished by the LA, no need to demolish as as you claimed.

            As for “poor service” & “proper maintenance” – perhaps, from the mid 1970s, and certainly in the 1980s, due to govt diktat on spending, it was certainly not the case in the 1950s and ’60s.

            Also, never heard of Rachmanism?!…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Not so. Yes it has pushed prices up but not by as much as the stamp duty cut of up to £15K the benefit is clearly split between buyers and sellers. Should Rishi Sunak go back to rip off stamp duty rates at the end of March a slump in sales and prices will follow. We do of course still have rip off stamp duty rates (wealth taxes) on higher priced properties. Turnover taxes are hugely damaging at up to 15% on houses that are absurdly harmful.

      Excellent piece in the Spectator this week by Johan Norberg, The Covid Trap. About the huge “temporary” state power grab. As Milton Friedman warned:- ‘Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government programme’. Income tax in the UK for example – introduced to fund the Napoleonic war as a ‘temporary’ measure.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        But actually mooted some years before.
        War, pestilence such great excuses for imposing unpopular taxes/measures!

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        There are more and more speakers and writers stating that the government seem to be following socialist ideals. And that every institution is packed with people with socialist agendas; hence the phrase, “vote Tory, get Labour”.

        And I’ve seen a couple of articles showing that the government still seem to following EU guidelines. The first was recovery from the Pandemic, hence the tax hikes etc Even The British Paras in the Middle East are under orders from Euro Genfor, why? We’ve left the EU. According to Frederick Forsyth it’s all been kept very secretive.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      +1

    • jerry
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      @MiC; ‘just another slogan’, Indeed! 😡

      All of what our host says today has been said by himself and others for the last 40+ years, yet the only time within the last 40 years that saw any “levelling up” occurred during the Blair/Brown govt, who strangely did raise (some) taxes. The UK’s standard of living increased markable between 1951 and the late 1970s, yet that period also saw some of the highest ever (direct and estate) tax rates, sure many did not own their homes but that is no measure of a successful economy.

      If our hosts tax cutting ideas were ever going to work surely we would not still be having the same debate 40 years on…

      Reply Blair/Brown rightly kept the top rate of Income tax down at 40% throughout most of their tenure.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        What does ‘levelling up’ mean jerry? For example I know many, many working-class families who have been very socially mobile since the 1980s with their children attending university for the first time in their generations and levelling up again after their parent’s gains on the ladder of progress.

        If you are talking of people who don’t train, don’t work, arrive with nothing, why should they be levelled up with people that do.

        • jerry
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          @a-tracy; “What does ‘levelling up’ mean jerry?”

          Good question, perhaps you could ask Boris, like others I’m simply quoting his buzz-phrase!

          Nor did it take the 1980s for families to become “socially mobile” (what ever that means…), children attending university for the first time in their generations etc. Not that going to University is a pre-requisite to social or even career mobility.

          Oh and no I wasn’t talking about those people that you, like so many commentators to this site, seem to have an unhealthy obsession with. You might also find the law actually prevents such people from what most regard the normal economic activity for people of working age living in the UK.

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, there you go again I have always said that new arrivals should work and shouldn’t get money for nothing but only if they are legitimate, people that rock up should be assessed quickly and returned if they don’t meet the required status.

            As for immigration I have never had a problem with immigration of people that come here to WORK I think you mixing up your preconceptions of people.

            It took until the 1980s for my family and friends to get socially mobile and you know very well what I mean by that, the children of lower grade factory workers being given an entrepreneurial outlook to get their own businesses going, a period of opportunity. Builders and labourers setting up their own companies joining up with plumbers, electricians, people that left school at 16 just getting on with working hard and taking risks and pushing boundaries. Perhaps you don’t know people like this, I know lots.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            @a-tracy; If you have no problem with (non EU, legitimate) immigration and know such people are stopped by law from being economically active until their status is settled, why did you in effect call then lazy?

            “I think you mixing up your preconceptions of people.”!

            I think you have changed your tune, having been called out, once again…

            All you say about social mobility has been happening since at least 1945, WW2 likely did far more for social mobility than ‘Thatcherism’ ever did!

            People have been setting up in business, offering their skills to others in exchange for payment since economics was just a vague a theory. In more modern times do you think either Herbert Austin or William Morris simply woke up one morning to find they were the owners of vast factories, or were born with a shiny spoon in their mouths? Morris started out repairing bicycles, when his then employer refused a pay increase he set up on his own (out of a shed, in the back yard of his parents house), having been born in a terraced house, he left formal education at age 15 – such life stories of the period are not uncommon.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            Very well said a-tracy

          • a-tracy
            Posted September 6, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            You find the posts Jerry where I’ve ever been anti immigration from anywhere including the EU and give me the date and time and post? One of my children is marrying an immigrant and I’m very happy about it.

            I do not believe that new arrivals should be getting benefits for at least four years, tax credit top ups, payments for children not in the UK, housing benefits and the rest never have had or changing my tune on that, they should also not get social housing priority. If they are coming here and working why do they need priority anything? This was the reasonable request Cameron made with the EU that they refused, until it starts to impact heavily on Germany and Austria too.

            So you do know exactly what I meant by social mobility!

          • jerry
            Posted September 10, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

            @a-tracy; So why call them “lazy”, living off handouts, something illegal-immigrants by necessary do not do, unless/until in confinement at a immigration centre!

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      That logic suggests stamp duty should be 100%.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        +1 that’s what they really want. The State owns all without having to buy it. That’s fair isn’t it?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      I have made that point repeatedly, market forces at work. John always avoids commenting on this fact.

    • agricola
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      It does not mean that the buyer has to pay it or that the seller has to accept the buyers offer. It is a free market. Selling prices reflect supply and demand.

      I think you will find that levelling up really referred to job opportunities and incomes, though ultimately these affect house prices.

      • jerry
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        @agricola; How can someone ‘level up’ whilst living in a rented property, if wages rise would that not simply fuel inflation, thus causing an increase in market rent to match the higher earning/inflation rate. Some people simply have no hope of saving for a deposit after paying the cost of a ‘free market’ rent when due to the deficit in the housing stocks it is always a sellers/landlord market.

        • agricola
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Everyone in this world is not equal and no politics of any persuasion will ever change this. The only thing politics can work towards is equality of opportunity , but even then it cannot guarantee how individuals will respond.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            @agricola; “The only thing politics can work towards is equality of opportunity”

            Then you supported what Mr Corbyn wanted last year, a cradle to grave education system, free at the point of need (and the associated infrastructure, such as FTTP that would allow remote & virtual learning etc). Yet this govt thinks levelling up will be achieved by building some white elephants and more houses few can afford!

        • Edward2
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Local authority rents and housing associations rents are not much cheaper.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Not these days, not when LA and HA’s are prevented from charging a lower not-for-profit rent that would undercut the private landlord. That is the point, the current system/policy is the problem, not a solution!

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            Housing benefit is the way tenants get help.
            And that’s sensible.
            Better than forcing LA and HA to charge a loss making rent.

          • jerry
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; And Haddock is £10 per lb….

            Someone saving for a mortgage deposit is by definition not on Housing Benefit -or at least they shouldn’t be…

            Someone on HB is by definition not going to have spare money to save for a mortgage, indeed if they did have such money or savings they would be expected to use it before being granted HB.

            People don’t get HB to enable them to save, they get just enough to enable them to pay the rent, buy food and other daily essentials!

          • Edward2
            Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            That is not what I said.
            I said tenants.
            Renters.
            You speak only of buyers.

    • Gregory martin
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s if transactions are complete by March 31st. My conveyancer reports that local authority searches are up to 4 months in arrears, surprise surprise they haven’t been working while at home.

  18. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Keep plugging away John, eventually someone who can change things to this more common-sense approach may listen and act.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      not a chance.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Agree – not a chance

        If you wait for change it will never happen….change has to be immediate

  19. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I can’t see any of your suggestions being implemented John. We don’t have a Conservative government and it would be difficult to find anyone in the cabinet right now with any sensible ideas.

  20. Hank Rearden
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Whilst I’d normally agree, I don’t think there is the stomach for anything like the cuts that would be required

  21. Sharon Jagger
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    JR You mention that reduction in income tax, corporation created payment of more tax. Hopefully, these recent proof of actions in reducing to promote more that has achieved exactly that, will encourage the government to continue in this vein. So long as an aide doesn’t poke their nose in and advise the opposite be done!

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Corporation tax….I missed the word tax

  22. Sakara Gold
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    You have to go back a long time to find a year when the government managed to achieve a fiscal surplus – to 2001 when Gordon Brown managed a £4 billions surplus, which was applied to reduce the national debt for the first time since the 1950’s

    Particularly bad years were 2009 (after the banksters’ financial crash) where Alaister Darling’s deficit was £175b after Brown allegedly saved the world, 2010 – a year in which Darling had to do an emergency budget deficit of £149b and 2013, the year the UK lost it’s AAA rating and Osbourne had a deficit of £108b, which ushered in years and years of austerity.

    Of course, a fiscal deficit is one thing – the UK’s balance of payments deficit (the trade deficit) has grown and grown and was last in surplus in 1978, when Denis Healey managed a (very) modest one due to austerity introduced after pressure from the IMF.

    With the national debt now at £2 trillion representing 100% of GDP Sunak has even less room for manouever than the British Army, after the next round of defence cuts.

  23. Lucan Grey
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    There is a very good quote from the economist Warren Mosler

    “If we have any unemployment then we are overtaxed for the size of government we have”.

    It may be time to understand why that statement holds and how to use it to best effect.

    Before the other side does.

  24. BW
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    To level it up we could tax the £305 per day the Lords get for turning up and having a kip in the chamber, which if i am not wrong is tax free. better still we could make the Lords a voluntary organisation as it is a very privileged position.

  25. George Brooks.
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    You are right Sir John and there are many examples of this that have worked successfully in the past. At the same time we need to clean out the corridors of government that are cluttered with useless quangos, spongers, and a totally over-maned Civil Service.

    The waste is enormous and we are paying for it. Copy the private sector and clean the cupboard out regularly.

  26. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    “Government works best for people when it respects their wishes”

    Government works even better when it trusts and releases the people from the needless bureaucracy. To date this Government has been too Controlling, showing ultra Socialist traits and has NOT delivered on the Clean Break from the EU we voted for.

    Massive tax deductions are required as well as realigning taxes to be equal to all. Every Tax rise is a job lost and investment taken elsewhere. Common sense and history shows that is what happens.

    Does this Government see any of that, I don’t think so they have their heads in the cloud with a focus on agendas set by minority views. Main stream ‘who cares’, not us mentality, focus on appeasing the shouty ones, rather than just telling them they are plain wrong.

    But this is not a Government for the whole country, it dictates for all the needs of MetroLands lefties. The UK is bigger than London. They need to get out and about more, get involved with real people and their lives before they make any more dumb self defeating proclamations

  27. matthu
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Come closer, my little ones, and listen carefully while I tell you a tale.

    Imagine a world where there were 4 or 5 mythical creatures, each so big, so dominant that any one of them was individually as powerful as any of the better-known mega corporations in the world today.

    These creatures had become so big and so powerful because there was a time that they were so much cared for by the people that they paid them so much love and material that the creatures themselves did not know what to do with all the inflow of love and attention.
    In fact, once they had taken care to shore up their own accommodation and lifestyle, they looked around for other mythical creatures to spend their money on. But there were none, so they came up with the wonderful idea of lending some of the wealth back to governments of the world to be used to look after the people.

    The governments liked this arrangement, because it meant that they could appear to be looking after the people without having to raise any taxes and so they grew stronger and more popular in the eyes of their electorates and some of them called this virtuous supply of money “quantitative easing”.

    • matthu
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Soon the mythical creatures found they wanted to have some say in what governments spent their money on and so over time governments realised were only allowed to spend their money on “responsible” projects. In fact, if they deviated and tried to spend their money on what the people actually said that they wanted, such as better armaments or border controls, the mythical creatures threatened to cut off the inflow of money, with immediate devastating consequence.

      Over time, governments found themselves spending more and more money on mythical projects to satisfy the whims of mythical creatures, and the people did not really notice because they were well-fed and protected.

      Then some of the people began to notice how much debt governments were taking on. At first, they tried to prevent their governments from spending quite so much money on mythical projects. But the mythical creatures grew irritated and started flexing their muscles: they threatened to cut off the inflow of money, and governments were simultaneously afraid of admitting their foolishness to the people.

      • matthu
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        Governments began reversing popular policy decisions and taking other random and illogical decisions that had never been properly considered by the people. At the same time, governments grew worried that more people might notice.

        After all, roads were still in a state of disrepair. Hospital queues were getting longer, and governments were doing nothing.

        Then people’s holidays and lifestyles that they had become accustomed to began being disrupted for no apparent reason. And more people did begin to notice, so governments dreamed up ways of preventing people from meeting and talking about what was going on.

        Meanwhile, demand for leisure holidays that could be disrupted for no logical reason, collapsed. Airlines and travel companies found themselves going out of business. The value of whole sectors of the economy including travel and leisure companies and even oil companies began falling all over the world.

        As the investment value of these sectors began falling, private individuals and rich investors who had pensions and savings invested in huge funds could only be safe-guarded if these large pension and investment companies took immediate action to divest themselves of these sectors and invest only in other sectors that approved of the mythical projects that the 5 big mythical creatures supported.
        And by this means the people were by and large protected, except for an unfortunate few greedy investors who tried to better themselves directly by investing in the falling prices of unpopular companies that were unsupported by the 5 mythical creatures.

        Any of these who failed to jump clear in time, perished and burned.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Very good!!
          Yup…we have all been “bought” or rather sold out by our governments.
          I guess we should have been suspicious when Coca Cola stole Christmas.

  28. Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Well said

    If it is in the Telegraph the government will take more notice of it than if you’d offered these wise words in the House…

    If the chancellor were to promise a tax revolution – a tax rewrite, a re-evaluation…, that alone would be of more benefit than robbing us further blind with yet more tax increases.

  29. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    And off-topic.

    The EU says we can have our waters but not our fish. A ludicrous statement but if the French and Dutch breach our sovereignty by entering our waters who will defend the fish? Where are the ships to do it?

    The way things are with your pathetic party of government all our ‘defence’ capability will be devoted to helping illegal immigrants across the Channel and the French will be thus encouraged to take our fish.

    Our fish our fishermen and our coastline are rendered defenceless. Would this not be dereliction and requiring of punishment?

  30. Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Cut VAT. It will help more people than pootling around with stamp duty, etc. Probably be cost neutral at worst, and maybe lead to a decent net increase in tax taken.

    • Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I always say VAT should be totally reformed —

      Make basic living cheap, with no VAT on food and most clothes

      Have 1 standard rate of VAT for most things except LUXURY items – which can be at 30%

    • graham1946
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      The Chancellor could easily take 20 percent off it as it will all be his come the new year with no payment of it going to the EU, plus more sales will mean more tax in other directions.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        +1

  31. Everhopeful
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    A gentle lesson in how to govern. ( And hopefully how to stop trashing the economy). Great article.
    Personally I would like to see “scruff or the neck“ treatment for those trampling on our souls but maybe the calm, logical approach is better.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      I mean the article in the paper.

  32. Dave Andrews
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    No more taxes, yes I agree. We’re over taxed already.
    However, what is to be done with the deficit and even paying back the ballooning national debt? A decade since the financial crisis and still spending is more than tax income.
    There needs to be real plans to reduce government spending, or is it the plan just to pass on this generation’s largesse onto the next?

  33. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    We can somehow afford to duplicate decisions making for Coronavirus quarantine in 4 parts of the UK which seems a waste of taxpayers’ money.
    HS2 won’t be needed.
    Silly Help to buy and Help to eat schemes not needed.
    NHS outside emergency treatment seems pretty useless.
    Schools don’t seem to have organised themselves to get their pupils through exams.

    This needs sorting from top to bottom to reduce spending.
    Money wasted on things which don’t work.

  34. David in Dorset
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Abolish HS2. When it was announced that the cost would be £38bn, it seemed likely that the real cost would be over £100bn. We are already there, the cost is rising all the time, and the date for 1st phase is 2031 at the latest. No chance. Just look at Crossrail. Cancellation would go a long way to helping with the deficit, with Germany and Japan already running more advanced trains today, with modes of transport likely to change and all for a weak business case and a 20 minute saving on journey time from a London to Birmingham. Stations in a London are empty, and a fiend of ours frequently has a carriage to herself! This is no way to “level up,” a policy with which I agree.

  35. Fred H
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The apparent spike in home conveyances are merely a pent-up demand over the last 6 months. Covid and Downing St have caused thousands of people to reflect on where they live relative to work, living in close proximity has caused many to want to lead separate lives, pursuit of changes in lifestyle, re-appraisal of future financial ability to live their dreams…
    Incredible growth in mental health, anxiety, and depression problems will show themselves as the adjustments begin to happen.
    A social meltdown begins following the economic one.

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Tory backbenchers must be pretty fed up with the toddler-like antics in number 10.
    Boris has got his way with “now unstoppable”HS2 it would seem. Anxious to fulfil some agreement with EU I expect. Bag of toffees in the offing for a good boy?
    If it turns out like anything else he has touched we will have acres, miles of churned up land, thousands of wildlife casualties, hundreds of dispossessed Tory party haters and an awful lot of mud. But no railway!
    How Churchillian! ( Not).
    Never in the history of politics was so much good will wilfully wasted in so short a time.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Remember Grant Shapps and Boris before the election telling us that there would be a comperhensive review of HS2 – We just don’t believe you

      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes..agree completely.
        I do remember that and felt relief for the beautiful countryside they are going to desecrate. Utterly disgusting.
        No relief now!
        Just fear.

  37. BOF
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Work on HS2 starts today! Surely Sir John, you do not mind vast amounts of our taxes being squandered on it?

    Reply I voted against

    • Andy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      This is just government spin to try to detract from the quarantine car crash. (Which followed the exams car crash. Which follows the test and trace car crash. Which followed the care homes car crash).

      I live about half a mile from a big HS2 construction site. They have literally been building it for years already. But apparently today’s building is different from yesterday’s building. At least that’s what Dominic Cummings wants you to think.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        It is just a special day in the project.
        It is in the plans published ages ago.

        It’s like daily conspiracy theory bingo with you Andy.
        A dozen key words and a dozen key characters and off you go.

      • graham1946
        Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        You say it is to distract us about quarantine etc. today then go on to say they have been building for years. Your mind is a wonder to behold.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      and the vote taken recorded what?

    • blake
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.. not good enough you should have campaigned against it..it’s going to cost millions and millions we cannot afford and for what maybe once a year for most we can go London to the North and save a half hour travel time.. Great!

  38. Caterpillar
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The stamp duty holiday is a a vile and poorly timed move. It was not necessary to cut stamp duty at this time as there was existing delayed demand and supply from before the lockdown/and motivations of people had also increased (work conditions, but also people moving money from savings to property to protect against inflation, and others bizarrely aiming to get savings below the £16,000 U.C. threshold). I have even heard of people delaying the PM’s desired return to the office as working from home makes it easier for them to host or attend viewings. The result has of course been the Chancellor stupidly losing the tax revenue, which will need to be raised elsewhere (nowhere does the Laffer curve peak at zero) whilst property prices reach record levels. An ethical Chancellor would not have cut stamp duty now, but would have waited until next year when the fallout from the economic damage is clearer, that would be the time to help the market adjustment by removing the tax. (Of course alongside the BoE, this Chancellor will probably seek ways to distort and prop the market). The unethical policies to which this Chancellor has subjected the economy are news seeking , short term populism but socioeconomically damaging. MPs who stand behind these policies rather than explaining both the lack of ethics and the damage done are doing the country no favours.

    (There may have been an argument to holiday the 3% additional stamp duty if evictions were being allowed to help the rental market adjust and become more competitive).

  39. Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    American economist Arthur Laffer was instrumental in persuading the Reagan administration of the advantages of lower tax rates. It seemed to have worked.

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/laffercurve.asp

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      One has to be extremely careful with the Laffer curve e.g. the Laffer curve for VAT in most of the EU has a peak in the low 20%s but in times of expansion is relatively broad (upping or reducing VAT from the low 20%s doesn’t make much difference). During recession the Laffer curve becomes narrower (though the peak position doesn’t change much), this has the consequence that as Govts are tempted into a countercyclical VAT policy (i.e. reducing VAT rates from around the maximum revenue rate) that business cycle volatility is increased (not smoothed) and VAT revenues become unstable.

      There is a very dangerous political tendency to simplify the behaviour of the Laffer curve in (i) assuming that countries are above the prohibitive tax level and (ii) ignoring the shape changes of the curve through the business cycle.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        It is indeed complex as rising one tax to high can reduce tax take both in that tax and other taxes. High IHT might meen less stamp duty as the beneficiaries buy cheaper houses or decide not to move. All the clearly taxes interact. But taxes should be no where near the Laffer point anyway. The aim should be the maximum good for the taxpayers not the maximum tax revenue for governments to waste.

        The best way to spend less (and in effect tax the rich more) is to encourage more people to have private schooling and medical care with sensible tax relief and top up education vouchers for all. This would also hugely improve education and health care in the process. Paying say 30% of someone’s healthcare or education is much cheaper than paying 100% (after a year’s wait or so for your op).

  40. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    From the Telegraph – ‘Boris Johnson: HS2 will deliver 20,000 new jobs, and ‘fire up’ economic growth ‘

    Surely £106 billion spent anywhere would do the same. In all probability that sort of money could create long term jobs were they are needed and lead to real prosperity for the country. Spending it on old dead technology, where the end result achieves nothing, just for the sake of it says a lot about Boris’s intellect.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just he cost of building, which has virtually tripled before any concrete is laid, there is also the matter of ongoing subsidies – we have never had a rail service without so the few wealthy people who ride on this thing will get even more from the tax payer.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Just think of the improvements and employment £106 billion could create for the whole country.

  41. a-tracy
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    There are new dividend taxes; what they gave with one hand on income tax they take back on the other in increased national insurance freezing of the NI UEL – Nest is just national insurance increases 5% for the employee to pay and 3% for the employer dressed up as a ‘self-reward’ so there wasn’t an outcry people just haven’t cottoned on yet that the state pension will be means-tested in relation to it in the future and all those self-employed and people not economically active for most of their lives not paying it will end up with the same amount via pension credits. The continued climb of the NMW/NLW way over inflation has an effect on SMEs and contracted hours pushing more into top-up benefits because their hours have reduced.

  42. Andy
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I see the government has given itself the powers to build BBC’s across the country. (Brexit bureaucracy centres). These BBC’s – lorry parks if you prefer – will be built in Kent, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Cheshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire and many more. Local people are not being given the right to object. Oh dear.

    I think we should name each one of these for a Brexit hero. The Nigel Farage Brexit Bureaucracy Centre, Dover. The Sir Iain Duncan Smith Brexit Bureaucracy Centre, Harwich. The Daniel Hannan Brexit Bureaucracy Centre, Portsmouth. Alas, there are none in Berkshire but maybe Mr Redwood could get a name check on one of the others.

    In time – and not too much of it either – and children will look at these BBC’s and will wonder why we are faffing around with such a lot of pointless and expensive paperwork. They’ll then hit on the idea that we could save lots of time and money by joining the single market and entering into a customs union with the EU. They will then be able to knock down the Farage centre, and the Hannan centre, and the Duncan Smith centre – and will be able to return the area to countryside.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      If they didn’t plan you would criticise them.
      If they do plan for potential problems in case the EU play us up, you criticise them.

      • hefner
        Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Edward2, isn’t it what you also so often do? Sometimes asking contributors for justifying references, and when people ask for your own references, saying it is just your opinion and not an academic debate requiring anything like references. Weather vane?
        Or is it a case of ‘a dozen words and off you go’.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Not this old argument from you and you mate bill again.
          Give it a rest hef.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          To get back to my actual post.
          Andy makes posts every day criticising the government for not planning sufficiently well.
          Yet here he is criticising the government for making plans to cope with the unlikely, but possible border delays after we leave the EU.
          I think it is valid and correct to point out his illogical position.

          PS
          I didn’t ask him for any references hef.
          In fact I’ve looked back many days and cannot find a post where I have asked others for references.
          Except your pal bill who always demands sources data and links when I post but hilariously never does any of these things when he posts.
          So I sometimes point this out to him.
          Which gets you and him all cross.
          Its a win win for me.

          • hefner
            Posted September 6, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            Good, if it makes you happy.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            It does.
            You and your pal bill need to find another person to troll.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      The reason why, is down to the EU intransigence. We offered a FTA to keep things more or less the way they are, (indeed they offered May this as well at the start, but she was set upon reversing Brexit) but they still want to boss us around. They are in for a profound shock.

  43. zorro
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Indeed JR, it would be if we had a proper Conservative government, but instead, we have a cluster****….

    It pains me to see you waste your words of wisdom on this lot. You are casting pearls before swine.

    zorro

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      He is casting his words before us! We are the electorate, do we like his words? If we do, we know what to do! Join the Tory Party and get a Tory PM elected ASAP. We can’t go much longer without one – (we need a Tory at least once every 30 years).

      • Zorro
        Posted September 6, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Of course, the casting of pearls is towards his peers not us on this blog.

        zorro

  44. William Long
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Surely a Conservative Goevernment should not need persuading of this?

  45. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Whistling in the wind – Nigel Lawson is the only Chancellor who knew anything about economics. HS2 building starts today and our bumbling leader heralds it – beam me up Scotty.

    • Andy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Lawson may have known economics 40 years ago. But he really doesn’t have a clue about economics today.

      In the same way that pop stars are very much of their time, so are politicians. We should stick with politicians who understand the world as it is in 2020. Not those who remember what it was half a lifetime ago.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        So now it is only young experts who must be believed.
        You definitely have a thing about people who are older than you.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Lawson knows more of economics today than he did 30 years ago when he believed in the ERM and Euro! Of course Lawson is a Continental – he adopted the name ‘lawson’.

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Except that he shadowed the D Mark behind the PM’s back. We all know how that ended.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        +1

  46. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Driving up house-prices is good for estate-agents and for house-builders – but for who else? Does it bring down the average age of the first-time buyer? No. Given the size of the fiscal hole we’re in, I can think of better areas of the economy worth stimulating with tax-cuts.
    On the subject of EOTHO, I think that the restaurant sector needs careful monitoring by the Business Secretary. My ‘local’ did pretty well last month, with daily business above-trend, but is now back below-trend as a nearby business has declined to come back to work in their offices. Some additional support for restaurants in city centres might become necessary. (And yes, I concede that they’re already getting a lot.) Interrogation needed for the Business Secretary at the next Departmental Questions?

  47. Richard1
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Fine all sensible stuff. But let’s have some cost cutting as well. We don’t need to spend 0.7% on overseas aid, let’s change the law. Including charitable donations the U.K. is among the most generous donor countries in the world – and there is much waste in the 0.7%. HS2 has become an absurdity in the new era of far more remote working, let’s use Covid as the justification to kill it. Let’s chop all public sector salaries above £75k by 20%, tapering for those just above it, as was done in the 30s (and as the NZ govt has done for ministers). Let’s do a burden of proof exercise on all quangos – if they can’t be expressly and publicly justified they must close and their employees find something to do where they supply goods or services to people who will pay for them voluntarily. If the EU renege on their commitment to negotiate a comprehensive FTA in line with others in existence, let’s set aside the payments in the existing WA. There are 10 s of £billons which a robust govt could find.

    All will entail shrieking and hollering from the left – but no amount of public spending, waste, taxes etc will appease the hatred of the left so just ignore it and focus on making the U.K. super competitive post Brexit, so we thump the left again in 2024.

  48. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Littlejohn in the Mail today is brilliant. He’s highlighting the airline industry and saying that unless this government gets its act together we wont’ have a Great Britain but a Little Britain. He’s right. The quarantine rules are a mess. As he says, you will find it easier to travel on a dingy from Calais and enter Britain than you will on an aircraft into Heathrow. You couldn’t make it up. My general feeling is the British public are very disappointed in this government and Boris is losing the plot.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Shapps needs to take a few moments to read the stories of holiday-makers either cancelling holidays (for no reason) or having to pay a fortune for last-minute, quarantine-beating flights. He needs to change his process so that when a decision is taken to impose quarantine, those abroad have a week, or a few days more, to get back. And he needs to make sure that all returning holiday-makers walk past a thermal-scanner and, when they’re available, take one of these new rapid-tests. And he should do a press conference every couple of days when he could update the public on the situation abroad. I have been thoroughly unimpressed by his department’s lack of empathy for holiday-makers and those working in the Air-travel industry. The only good news yesterday is that the Scottish and Welsh governments managed to tick their own people off even more.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I doubt they are losing the plot.
      They are charged with reducing/stopping air travel.
      Remember?
      Greta said so!
      The govt. is messing with our minds to get compliance.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Then again, Littlejohn was in fact beating up on the UK taxpayer, every airline he mentioned that was having difficulties was foreign owned, and foreign domiciled for tax. Even the poor beleaguered Heathrow pays tax elsewhere.

      Just because they make their profit from the UK doesn’t mean they contribute to its health, wealth and infrastructure.

  49. glen cullen
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Wood for the Tree’s

    Everyone is talking about quarantine and infection R rate and not the death rates

    Everyone is talking about tax increases and not cancelling HS2 or foreign aid

    Everyone is talking about building more houses and not stopping immigration

    Everyone is talking about reducing the BBC over 75s bill and not selling off the BBC

    Everyone is talking about BLM and cancelling history….etc ed

    Politicians & the media are about one thing while the people another – the general disconnect continues

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      And surely… were the virus as deadly as supposed.
      THAT should be the only topic of conversation.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        correct – the average UK daily death rate is 6 (all 60+ with medical conditions)

        • glen cullen
          Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          average during the past 14 days (2 weeks)

    • Fred H
      Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      ah. But Boris has a personal trainer to assist his weight loss.
      Who is dealing with his competence loss?

  50. ChrisS
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    It would appear from newspaper reports that one of the Chancellor’s main targets will be Capital Gains Tax. We know that every time successive chancellors since Gordon Brown have raised CGT in one way or another, the tax take has reduced.

    There are now hundreds of thousands of properties that are being retained because the GT that would have to be paid is too high. In my own case, because our buy to let properties have about 40% LTV mortgages on them, it would be better for our estates for our children to inherit them than for us to sell some of them, as we would like to do !

    There are many BTL owners in a far worse position that us : They are unfortunately in negative equity when one takes into account both the mortgage that would need to be repaid and the CGT. When they are eventually unable to remortgage due to advancing age, these owners face losing their main home if they are forced to sell the property they bought to fund their retirement.

    Increasing CGT will only make things worse. If it were reduced there is huge pent-up demand and the tax take would increase dramatically over the next two or three years.

    Those properties coming on the market will stimulate lots of economic activity as the new owners will spend money on them. There is certainly no case for increasing CGT without the re-introduction of Taper Relief to offset the effect of inflation.

  51. Steven
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The government has shown that everything it touches is a disaster. If you want to improve things repeal all the virus laws completely not just in name and don’t reduce particular taxes, eliminate them and stop Boris’s complusion to emulate socialist nanny state policies at every opportunity. Also how about actually getting the job the Conservative party was elected to do and get us out of the Belgian empire.

  52. Newmania
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Refer to my previous comments on Redwood and his sky hook economics

  53. turboterrier
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    I did mention the other day when you consider the amount of revenue that councils make with fines over the country it must run into millions. Put vat on all fines. People are always objecting to paying taxes well if they behave and do not ffllout the law they will not have to. Most law abiding people I would think will not have a problem with it. This government will not scrap all these wasteful projects and keep on with envy taxes , I think it is time to step outside the box and do something different.

  54. Edwardm
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    As JR says, the priority now is to create economic activity, mend the broken economic cycle and generate wealth – balancing the books is important but can come later.

    Then why are extinction rebellion allowed to cause chaos – I see reports that they even stop emergency ambulances. Round the lot up, taser if necessary, strip them of their assets and lock them up – same goes for their financial backers . We need a government that can, not the present bumbling lot.
    What’s the point of decent people trying to work hard when we have these XR rebels running amok.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      £1000 fine for each protest leader, £50 for each person breaching the rules and blocking roads.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      +1

  55. John E
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I have just received a leaflet in the post from Wokingham Council asking me to contact you regarding the Government imposed targets for new build housing in this area.
    I’m in two minds about this way of spending my Council Tax but please consider yourself contacted.
    Of course as a reader here I already know and support your views in this regard.
    I will now give my feedback on the three other taxpayer funded internet links they list.

  56. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Where is the cash coming from for HS2 and the never ending flood of foreign invaders?

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Foreign aid should pay for foreign arrivals requiring housing, lawyers, food, and daily allowances. This money should then go to the Councils, hospitals and to pay the bills rather than other tax pots.

      • Rhoddas
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        +1 very persuasive suggestion 🙂 thank you.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Boris is on record of stating all illegal’s should be given an amnesty.

  57. agricola
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    There is one tax that you could levy. I would suggest a new tax for all companies who operate in the UK , but for tax minimisation reasons decide to incorporate off shore. It could be a sales or turnover tax set at a level to compensate for the corporation tax lost.

    Government could also consider something similar for those companies who inflate supply costs, to in effect transfer their profit to their overseas HQ.

    Both methods of operation allow them to compete unfairly with high street businesses that operate entirely within the UK. It would be interesting to know who these companies have in their pockets to lobby for such loaded arrangements.

    Finally there are the big operators in the black economy, or do HMRC and our forces of law and order fear the rough house they may get into. Past performance suggests they do.

  58. forthurst
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, the government is composed of know-nothing Arts graduates who would not know how to capitalise on the entrepreneurial spirit of the English even if they wanted to. As reported in the telegraph two days ago, the government has no intention of intervening in the sale of ARM Holdings by a Japanese conglomerate (which bought under the noses of the tories) to Nvidia an American owned technology business, which is very likely to mean the exit of the star of the Cambridge Network and its workforce of super-brains (ie not Arts graduates) to Silicon Valley. According to a government spokesman, the Business department normally only blocks deals on national security grounds. With Arm sold to an ally, a block is extremely unlikely. A source said: “From a Government perspective, the UK is a free trading nation.”

    Being a “free trading nation” when all other nations that are not run by thick Arts graduates protect their best businesses from predation, inevitably means that we are reduced to being a nursury where gifted Englishmen can create world class businesses for the benefit of the highest bidder. The idea that’s ok because the US is an ally is laughable; so some tories may believe, but they can hardly deny that it is also a commercial competitor. Presumably if the business made low tech bombs for dropping on brown people, the Tories would be in a tiz about ‘national security’, but still they wonder why the UK’s GDP per capita remains intractably modest: what can we do, they ask? Somebody tell them, please.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      +1

  59. Everhopeful
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Great comments on the Telegraph article.
    JR for Chancellor …should be in Cabinet…only true conservative etc! Good!
    Sprigs of Rosemary all round then?

  60. Dennis
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    JR – do any other MPs read your blog or if not do you show what comments you get? If so what do they say about the mood of the people? It should shck them, does it?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      All MPs should be shocked rigid by what is going on.
      By what the govt. is doing.
      Has the virus kept MPs at arms’ length?
      Are they happy with the huge amount of power govt. has assumed?
      They should be very, very worried.
      Really they should.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      My MP doesn’t read this forum, in fact he’s been missing in action since the general election and the covid-19 period…..and to be honest I not really sure what he did during the last parliament

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Yes I had one like that. Got his K for 25 years and had spoken …. ONCE! Maiden speech, so not political. We deselected him. Central Office went bananas.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          they were already bananas!

  61. jane4brexit
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Chancellor has factored in that the UK can now keep all of import duties charged and however much it is of VAT both of which we used to send to Brussels, so perhaps tax cuts are a better idea. Increasing limits before tax bands begin and a VAT reduction perhaps.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      How much each year is that worth Jane?

  62. mancunius
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I believe you have to look more deeply at the institutions of government.
    Taxes are not levied or decided by ministers, ministers merely accept and further the interests of their Departments as expressed by the senior staff, who run the
    Treasury: they are utterly dependent for their accustomed wealth and privilege on the taxes and taxpayers of the present, and for their pensions on the taxpayers and national debt-holders of the future.
    They are no more willing to abjure taxation and urge pay and personnel cuts in the civil service than you or I would to walk in front of a speeding oil tanker.
    I see this obvious fact being widely, constantly passed over in Parliament. Perhaps because MPs and peers (most of whom come from state or tax-funded employment) feel they would be too vulnerable to the same point? 😉

  63. Rhoddas
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Brexit Dividend:
    * The freeports option is excellent and returning control of our fisheries (like Norway, with annual quotas) = much more economic activity in those needy locations = levelling up and more tax take.
    * The UK VAT remittance which currently goes to the EU will stay will Rishi from 2021.
    * Ditto the net UK payments into the EU membership.
    * FTAs with like minded countries = improved economic activity and GDP = much bigger tax base; likely to cover any losses with lower EU activity 2021 and then we race away from there. All good.
    * Points based system of immigration = matching to UK needs and bigger tax take from their net contribution to the economy.
    * Bonfire of the leftist Quango’s and red tape… please!

    C19 Dividend:
    * More permanent remote working by enhanced communication –> hence need for fantastic broadband everywhere (levelling up). Openreach take note!
    * Less traveling = undermines any requirement for HS2, nor likely a 3rd runway at Heathrow, just exploit Gatwick/Standsted.
    * Less office space required = repurpose into new housing, saves digging up green fields.
    * Less government/council/quango buildings = reduced operating costs of government. I would hazard a guess at 10’s of billions.

    PS You won’t read any of these benefits in MSM, as they are not wokily likeable, but they are real 🙂

  64. Kristo
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    John what you’re about is of no consequence

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Every consequence. The light of hope kept alive!

  65. Remington Norman
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Tax cuts indubitably stimulate the economy. However, the issue which should be of concern, which the government steadfstly refuses to address, is overcrowding. The UK has a population density of 275 people per sq km compared, for example, with France at 122. We simply cannot continue concreting over our land to support the growing population. Migration has to be reduced and the market allowed to take care of house prices.

    This is an uncomfortable situation, but it would help if the government recognised it rather than trying to cobble together short-term solutions which will deliver massive funding and environmental problems in the longer term.

  66. Posted September 4, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Rather than tax rises, could we not instead focus on driving ‘A National Obsession with Productivity’ as the way of bouncing back? Everybody would be a winner including HMRC.

    We need to address our long-standing UK productivity problem anyway. It’s the ideal time because of technology advances, in particular Artificial Intelligence, which can not only provide substantial improvement in productivity but improvements in quality go hand in hand.

    We would need to institutionalise productivity measurement and reporting. In particular setting new accounting requirements to report on productivity and productivity improvement each year. Thereby making this a key factor on which all company performance is judged. Tax incentives for improved productivity would help as well.

    A trawl on the internet suggests a 1% improvement in productivity could provide an 8 billion reduction in deficit. We were running at 2% per year from the early 70s to 2008 but have largely flatlined since. With order of magnitude increases in productivity from AI we should be able to do much better and make serious inroads into our deficit.

    Such a National Productivity Obsession could also be a rallying point for the country if communicated in the right way and at a time when it needs one.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Productivity is not easy to measure but once defined by the government it would be very easy to give them the figures required.
      Especially if there were taxation incentives.
      Run a supermarket?
      Well just put a few more self service tills in and sack a few staff.
      Run a warehouse or an office based company?
      Well just outsource your IT dept and website development.
      Or better still make these employees self employed contractors.
      And so on.
      The figure for productivity is lower than the 1970s because we have switched to services from being industrial based.
      Making glass, steel, bricks, ceramics, castings, pressings, pottery etc are high productivity industries.
      Whereas an insurance call centre or a shopping centre full of shops isn’t

      • Posted September 7, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I think you’ll find what productivity growth we have had has been led by services rather than manufacturing. See the Office of National Statistics report for 2019. They also refer to it as a productivity puzzle. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/labourproductivity/bulletins/labourproductivity/octobertodecember2019

        Most good organisations want to expand their operations, not lay off people, and this should be incentivised. I accept that in any implementation you need to take care of the exceptions and there need to be checks and balances, so that the negative actions you highlight as potential outcomes are disincentivised.

        If we want to create a productivity approach where everyone wins then we have the capability to do so, it just needs the will.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, tax cuts do stimulate business activity but the extra revenue accruing to the Exchequer is less than the tax revenue foregone and the stimulus is usually temporary. There are exceptions – reductions in CGT, in the top rate of income tax and in stamp duty do seem to bring in extra revenue. To use economists’ jargon, it all depends where we are on the Laffer curve. Corporation tax is a tricky one; objectively, that tax is low enough already, but we face competition from the Republic of Ireland, who attract businesses on the basis of being an English speaking country in the Euro zone with a low rate of corporation tax.

    Sooner or later, the fiscal and monetary laxity that has taken UK State debt to 100% of GDP will have to be ended. The Maudling dash for growth in 1963, the Heath/Barber public expenditure bonanza of 1972 and the Lawson boom of 1989 all ended in tears. What will be different this time round?

    If you want low taxes, reduce wasteful public expenditure, particularly on vanity projects. HS2 will be a White Elephant from the day of its birth until the day it dies (if it does). With the steep reduction in air travel, it will be a year or two until the additional Heathrow runway is needed. And extra spending on free-at-the-point-of-consumption health care won’t generate wealth. The objective of investment in infrastructure is not to create jobs in the short term but to create something of LASTING value that will generate net revenue.

  68. Margaret bj
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree Norman this fix over the top method hasn’t ever been satisfactory. The root of the problem needs to be addressed. Why do people want so many children? isn’t 2 or 3 enough?

  69. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh John,, they paint paradise and put up a parking lot !
    I watched an interesting programme about the Duchy of Cornwall . Charles again had a sensitive approach to community and building houses. He is the type of leader I want and not the rubbish about his palace life . Its what he can do which matters.
    Politics are about problems deriving from emotion : anger , jealously, unfairness , resent, sadness, mirth and so forth , but Charles buts compassion and kindness into his projects. We could learn from him rather than some cold- hearted know it alls’

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      i.e. puts .

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Have you been to Poundland which has overwhelmed Dorchester?

      • Mbj
        Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Do people need this service.I should think so.

  70. ian
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think this is a national taxation issue to me it a local taxation issue. When I look at London which is being hit hard by C 19 and I look at the local D tax band of Westminster of 770 pounds a year I think that should be 2,100 a year where areas outside of London are already paying that amount of money for their D tax band, and other tax bands should go up by the same percentage as the D tax band with top two bands paying an extra 30% on top. Reason for this is to keep restaurant, cafes, attractions and other things open in cities in the country, areas like Cambridge, Oxford and so on that don’t need much help and should have their extra tax collected and shared out to poorer areas like Margate, Hastings, Dover, Medway, right up along the east coast of England where it is needed if businesses can give 20% discounts and the councils can give another 20% discount that should do the job and maybe half price rail fares and hotels in cities for weekend breaks or coastal breaks, whatever people are paying out in extra council tax can be clawed back over the year with the offer of discounts.

  71. glen cullen
    Posted September 4, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    While Tony Abbott is busy doing trade related functions could we also ask him for help dealing with our ‘boat-people’

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      +1 also he should manage energy all the climate lunacy with Matt Ridley and Peter Lilly!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Oh no…anyone who tried to actually DO anything would be roundly condemned in parliament. I have no doubt about that!

    • beresford
      Posted September 4, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      This is the REAL reason why the globalists have ordered our MSM into attack mode against Abbott. They are not worried about his impact on trade, they are concerned that he might inspire interference in the all-important flow of Third World migrants into our country, and obstruct the most dangerous experiment since the ‘reactor tests’ at Chernobyl.

  72. emanuel
    Posted September 5, 2020 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Music to my ears. We have the highest tax burden for 50 yrs, it stifles business and entrepreneurship… And ultimately affluence for all.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 5, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      The bigger problem is –

      The government thinks like its a business and taxation is income

      while….

      The people believe that they are the business and employ government as a purchasing agent

      Big disconnect – which the government is doing nothing to change i.e HS2

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      This while delivering fairly appalling and declining public services. Even a few public loos and collecting the bins seems to be beyond them.

  73. Posted September 5, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Well said Sir John
    Less tax is good for of us including the Government.
    All we are crying out for is more like you

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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