Tax rises do economic and political damage

Let me have another go at persauding this government to turn away fom raising tax rates and finding new things to tax.  Their own record should tell them that such proposals are usually unpopular with many voters. Where they have gone for higher taxes they have proved to be economically damaging.

Even the government now sees that the higher Stamp Duty rates imposed by Mr Osborne have hit the amount of revenue. Coupled with other adverse tax changes they have cut the flow of buy to let property investment, led to a substantial decline in turnover in various types of residential property, and reduced other tax revenues from the hit to the property market.

The Higher Vehicle Excise Duties imposed on dearer cars in the 2016 budget, coupled with the threat of new and additional taxes on diesel and maybe on petrol cars to come, led to a sharp decline in new car sales and to some decline  in UK car industry output. That too cut various tax revenues that the government would otherwise have enjoyed.

The proposal in the Conservative Manifesto that people would need to make a larger financial contribution to their care when living in their own homes was greeted with a hostile response and was seen as a new tax. It had to be dropped, after it damaged the chances of a Conserative outright victory in the General Election.  The government says it is looking again at how to pay for social care. It needs to be careful. There is little  support for a new death tax.

The Treasury is always threatening some group  or other with the possibility of new or higher taxes. There is little support for the bad idea of making the self employed pay more National Isurance. We need to be making it easier for people to work for themselves, not dearer.

Some want to tax technology more because it is popular and fast growing. Why not sit back and enjoy the higher revenues that will come as its growth takes place, rather than try to get more of the high tech success stories to go offshore altogether.

The way to get more tax revenue in is to cut rates and promote growth. In a very footlooose and competitive world the USA has just got a lot more competitive thanks to the Administration’s tax cuts. The UK needs to go the same way to succeed.


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  1. Ian wragg
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Only when we get a conservative government.
    Rid us of these closet socialist.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      We are living in a Centrist Dictatorship.

      Cressida from the Metropolitan Police said she has considered investigating Boris for a Hate Crime. Doesn’t Hate Crime sound Orwellian.

      Theresa May has mislead Parliament, parts of her Cabinet and most importantly the British People over Brexit and she seems to assume she can get away with it.

      The extremists are the so-called Centrists.

      • Chris
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        The Cressida Dick intervention is getting much adverse comment. What on earth are CCHQ/May doing? This is supposed to be the UK, a democracy, and not some Marxist state.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 11, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, it was an appalling decision by Cressida Dick to get involved in this entirely political matter. Has she nothing better to do when the Police and especially the Met have virtually given up on most serious crime and violent crime and stabbing are increasing so rapidly?

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        You can insult Christains all day long if you like. They even have West End shows doing it.

      • DaveM
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Cressida Dick, Theresa May, Corbyn, Khan, Abbott. All those plus a multitude of others pose a question every day:

        “How in the name of God Almighty does the British political system allow such utterly incompetent people to get to positions of power?”

      • Prigger
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        “We are living in a Centrist Dictatorship”
        I can’t stand you have written that before me.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Left, center, and right do not adequately express the political spectrum now.

        Most real people have an a la carte approach to picking policies they support.

        And the a la carte policies wanted by the majority are not represented by the political class.

        In addition the majority of the political and journalistic class have taken it upon themselves to impose things the majority do not want. The majority are now tired of this, hence people like Jordan Peterson being so popular.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Iain Gill

          Correct on every point

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the higher echelons of the political and public service systems seem to have attracted these cling-ons since the days of Major and through Blair. On the whole they seem to attract people with

        -“soft” degrees or no degree rather than STEM subjects in their education
        -no discernible entrepreneurial or business experience
        -no appreciation of English or British tradition or patriotism
        -a “do-gooder” mentality which looks at anybody with the abovementioned attributes as somehow privileged and open to exploiting for use by their chosen “minorities”

  2. Mark B
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I would never have thought I would see the day that a Conservative MP have to persuade a supposedly Conservative Government not to raise taxes. Our kind host is alas, a dying breed. ;(

    We need to reduce the size of the state. Once the size is reduced we will have more money to make those tax cuts.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed the state sector has become a bloated (and hugely incompetent) parasite that is killing economy is feeds off.

    • Richard
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      It is intuitive that cutting taxes boosts growth. A detailed analysis by six eminent economists in late 2016 reported: “The growth-maximising share of government spending in GDP is probably in the range 18.5–23.5% of national income … The welfare-maximising share is probably in the range 26.5–32.5% of national income. The maximum sustainable level of government spending is probably in the range 37–38% of national income.”

      The economist Andrew Lilico said:
      “there is very widespread evidence, compiled from around the world over the past four decades by entirely mainstream academics and research bodies (such as the European Central Bank and the Institute for Fiscal Studies), that higher public spending and taxation, relative to GDP, is associated with slower growth… After many years of effort, we’ve got public spending down to a level at which the UK’s deficit is manageable, at around 38% of GDP this year.”

    • Richard
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      And our host’s view that: “The way to get more tax revenue in is to cut rates” is supported by page 8 of this report by David Smith:
      “More intriguing are the results of the two tax reduction scenarios which suggest that the UK may now be on the wrong side of the aggregate Laffer curve.”

      What is the economic argument against cutting UK tax rates?

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I cannot use an ISA for putting my un quoted shares which receive dividends. The dividends are paid out of my company’s profits. Before Osbourne and now Hammond I pay tax on the dividends I receive.
    My quoted shares are in ISA’s so the dividends I receive are tax free.
    The self employed wear to be paying more in class 4 National Insurace but the political uproar changed the a chancellors mind.
    Why no uproar on the taxing of dividends on un quoted companies?

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      I notice this week John that RBS have announced they intend to start paying their share holders dividends again. Surely their first priority should be to repay the taxpayer. I’m surprised this hasn’t received more attention in the media but why is the Government allowing this?

      • mancunius
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        The government hopes that an RBS divi will raise the sp and enable Hammond to offload the company and relieve the taxpayers of their burden.
        Yet the result of the announcement six days ago has been a 2% dive in the RBS sp.

      • acorn
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Because the Government’s Treasury still owns 62.4% of the shares and gets the dividends tax free.

      • oldtimer
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps they think that the resumption of dividends will improve the share price, making it more attractive for the government to sell its stake over time. That provides the best opportunity for the taxpayer to start to get back its stake in RBS.

    • Walt
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      With respects, ISAs and their PEP predecessors appear intended to encourage UK taxpayers to invest in quoted companies, initially only those in the UK but later opened to others. What good reason is there to open it to unquoted companies, so that their owners can avoid paying tax on their business profits? How many outsiders are likely to want to invest in your unquoted company, even if they could? What control will you allow them to have? What scrutiny of your accounts, etc.?

      • Richard
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Fair point about ISAs. But taxing dividends (paid out of company Profit-After-Tax) is always double taxation. Dividend personal tax rates for higher rate taxpayers are 32.5% or 38.1% which is far higher than many countries.

        HM Treasury seem to have precisely tailored these dividend personal tax rates in order to drive the UK’s wealthy & most productive abroad.

      • acorn
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Ten out of Ten Walt. HMRC woke up to this tax dodge a while back.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        If this is so important to Bob, let him put his company onto AIM, then he’ll qualify for his ISA allowance and also IHT free fer 2 years.
        Otherwise every punter this side of John O’Groats would start their own limited company and take dividends through their ISA tax-free. BBC employees no doubt especially welcomed to such a scheme by their employer.

        It’s a non starter.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        @walt agree there are plenty of ways for small business owners to avoid tax without including unquoted shares in ISAs

        However those with skin in the game should be exempt from as much tax as possible

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The way forward is indeed to cut and simplify tax rules & rates. Also encourage more people to provide for themselves with tax breaks or vouchers for health care and education. Then cut back the state to do only the rather few things that government actually need to do as they can do them better. Mainly law and order, defence, basic infrastructure, protecting property rights and not much else. They tax to the hilt yet fail totally even on this.

    But of course we have May and Hammond whose direction of travel is the complete opposite. Tax, borrow, waste and regulate to death. Force businesses to have daft employment law and become part of social service and force then to use expensive, unreliable, green crap energy. Thus render the economy unable to compete (then nag businesses like childish and ignorant dope). Next hand power to Corbyn/Mc Donnall and the SNP to give us an even more basket case economy.

    All this while trying to suppress any free speech on people’s religious garb and fancy dress. Well done T May and P Hammond why did they join the Tories just a career choice one assumes!

  5. Rien Huizer
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    The US can print its own money with impunity.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Not quite, but they certainly have more scope than the UK. Of course the UK would have more scope if it had a PM and Chancellor (and Governor of the Bank of England) who looked at least slightly competent.

      Instead of the current appalling, misguided, robotic, anti-free speech and vision lacking dopes.

    • NickC
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Rien, No country can print its own money with impunity.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        You are right but a large country and undisputed superpower has less trouble than, eg Zimbabwe. The point is that if you reduce taxes you will have to either cut expenditure (which JR does not want to do, as he implies but I guess would certainly do if in the “right” places) or borrow more. And as you may have noticed, the financial markets are responsive to changes in the perception of what type of brexit is likely to occur. Within the EU, I think There is scope for tax reduction (especially income and corporate, not VAT). Stamp duties etc are a nuisance and often inefficient. But they can be politicall expedient or serve other purposes (discourage activity).

        However the markets (especially investors I know) are swinging between an expectation of a fairl;y harmless brexit and continuation of sound economic policies and – two other scenarios: (1) a hard brexit with as its first effect the things Carney hinted at and (2) the possibility that a hard brexit or too much of a row within the ruling coalition makes the UK stumble first towards the EU exit and next to an election that would deliver us the Corbynista panopticum of nationalization.

        The second scenario would be a hedgie’s dream, I am sure.

        You may n ot be impressed with my pessimistic outlook for the no-deal variant but I know precious few investors who think that that is where they will make money.

        Reply I wish to cut spending by not sending any more cash to the EU for starters!

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          Mr Redwood: to your reply: That Brexit saving (over many years) is a drop in the ocean. Equivalent to a few handfulls of F35s. The key to growth- promoting fiscal policy is to make it (a) credible -otherwise rational expectations will negate the effects and (b) aimed at makeing the economy more efficient, because deficit stimulus works only in the short term and even then the markets may kill you. Cutting stamp duties is OK. Privatising NHS and tight regulation of private monopolies too. long term budget stability plus a low government share (the US does not have a low government share if you include state&local taxes, private costs that mimic taxes (high student fees, very high healt care costs) . One again it pays to look at Singapore..The Brexit windfall (if it materializes, GDP turbulence may well cause more drag than the lift provided by any brexit dividend (I say “may” because nobody seems to know, but it would be a conventional result).

      • acorn
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        True; but, perhaps you could explain WHY a country can’t “print” money with impunity, what actually stops it doing so and how would it know when it was operating all sectors of its economy at maximum capacity; and, signal to the private sector entrepreneurs, that more production capacity was needed in this or that sector.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          The market response

        • libertarian
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink


          Because the money becomes worthless and people stop using it.

          It is not in the governments capability to signal anything to markets. People buy and sell when they want to not when government decides.

    • Peter Martin
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      How is the USA (GDP/ Debt ratio of ~ 80%) any different from the UK (90%) or Japan (250%) ?

      OK the price of a barrel of oil is quoted in dollars. But a buyer doesn’t need dollars. Euros, Pounds, Yen plus a calculator will do just as well. The seller can then change his money into dollars, if he wishes, or any other currency of choice. Just the same as if the oil had been priced in Vietnamese dong!

      So it really makes little or no difference.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Same as the European Central Bank does Rien.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Rein, the EU has printed billions upon billions of Euros over the last decade.

      So I certainly hope you don’t think that EU regulations keep European nations safe from the danger, and also that you won’t be complaining about the financial implications when the whole rotten pack of cards comes tumbling down, after stating that any country can print with impunity!

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Pse read ECB reports. It actually does not print a lot of money because it sterilizes QE. The difference between governments under ECB policy and eg the US is that the ECB (“printing” a common, but “foreign” currency ) presents hard budget constraints to politicians.

        I have no idea what you mean by “keeping European nations (guess you mean the more correct “countries”) safe from danger etc. I certainly have not stated that any country can print money with impunity (except the US and very large countries with limited convertibility like China) . No country that relies on open, global investor markets for deficit funding can afford to be seen as being vulnerable because that will open opportunities for profitable trades. The technical means for that did not exist say 35 years ago but now they do and it pays to be prudent.

  6. Nig l
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Agree totally and normally in a government that is looking stale and uninspiring the PM refreshes/changes course with a reshuffle. Unsurprisingly as TM is both of these things together with the cabal of similar senior Tories who rely on her for their jobs, nothing will happen from within, the nonsense over Boris being a clear example.

    The country is desperate for and needs change, disenchantment is at Gordon Brown levels or even worse. MPs must start to reflect the views of the membership let alone the wider electorate and start the process for a change.

  7. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink


    Interesting perspective.

    However, till now the US forecasted deficit has grown twice as fast as anticipated by the US administration, so the increased economic activity is not leading to as much income for the government as expected and the deficit is growing too fast.

    Reply Lets see how it works out. The UK case which I know better shows lower Income Tax/CGT/Stamp Duty rates collect more revenue

    • libertarian
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink


      US employment grew by another 250,000 people last month. Workers pay income tax, workers earning money spend it and pay in the US sales tax. Therefore over time the tax revenues will increase

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink


        This is an assumption that is interesting but for the moment the statistics are still open to that assumption, so as JR answers let us wait and see.

        Thank you for not getting personal again it does give you slightly more credibility, well done

        • libertarian
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


          My credibility comes from stating nailed on indisputable facts

          Sorry, but being patronising diminishes yours.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Interesting to know where those workers cam from: domestic un/under employed, EU foreign or just foreign. The adult population is not suddenly growing faster and further growth in employment would not please the BoE and further dependence on imported labour would displease some others, I guess.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


          As its the USA I’m guessing not many are from EU !!!!

          The UK employment market is already in meltdown , we have 749,000 unfilled jobs at the moment , employment at its highest level ever and massive skills shortages. We need to remove the stupid cap on tier 2 visa’s

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      The US state of Kansas under governer Sam Brownback has tried this. Brownback even paid Laffer (of Laffer curve fame) $75,000 of taxpayers’ money for his thoughts.

      That state is now in a big financial hole, having gone from running a budget surplus to a large deficit under Brownback and has ended up reversing what Brownback implemented.

      The “additional revenue” that some claim to have occured when the 50p income tax rate was cut to 45p has been shown to be, at least partly, a consequence of people deferring income from one tax year to the next. The amount of declared income on which the 50p rate was paid in its last year was reported by HMRC as “artifically low” (their exact word), and that deferral artifically boosted the income on which the 45p rate was paid in its first year.

      To be fair, if people are given sufficient notice to be able to do this and can afford to do so from a cash flow perspective, I’m not surprised they took advantage of the opportunity.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        But tax payers who pay the lower top rate still years later pay a larger amount of tax than they did when the rate was higher.
        But with capital gains raised to 28% the tax take has fallen.
        So if you are trying to raise revenues a competitive rate is important.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          The question is not whether those paying the current top rate are paying more than previously, but would the total current tax take be higher or lower if the current top rate was increased. The answer isn’t No, it’s more complex than that. The IFS calculate that it could be lower, but could also be higher, by up to £2billion. They also note that the percentage of adults paying income tax has fallen due to policy changes, and that income inequality has increased, both of which affect where the income tax burden falls.

          Both HMRC and the IFS acknowledge that tax planning and a consequent shifting of how and when income was paid, both when the 50% rate was introduced and when it was reduced to 45%.

          The evidence in Kansas (and which is starting to show across the USA as a whole now) is that cutting rates doesn’t produce an increase in revenues, it produces an increase in the deficit.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 10, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            The tax take has increased since.
            So yes.

            Kansas is a very different set of economic circumstances with far more nuances and history to add in.
            But the anti low tax anti small state left have suddenly found a new peg to hang their hat on.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Peter Parsons

        The past two years Kansas reduced its state income tax rates. As a result, the top rate of income tax faced by Kansas residents (combined state and federal) rose from 41.45% in 2012 to 48.3% in 2013 and then fell a tad to 48.2% in 2014 That’s a pretty tiny drop in the top marginal tax rate

    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    We now have a government whose direction of travel is set in stone. It is as follows and is a reflection of the authoritarian tendencies of this socialist PM

    Attack the private sector. The engine of prosperity and wealth creation is under attack by a PM who is without question a most despicable politician. Masquerading as a Tory her instincts are interventionist, socialist and destructive.

    Why does May behave in this manner? Because she’s an unprincipled politician who will step back from a fight with an enemy who can fight back (public sector) but will attack those who can’t fight back (private sector).

    And so May capitulates to the public sector vested interest quite simply because she’s are too spineless to risk a fight with a well organised and well resourced vested interest concerned only with their pay, pensions and early retirements.

    How does the private sector fight back against May? I for one will fight back by :

    One. Never voting Tory again until we get a Tory as our leader.

    Two. Adjusting my behaviour to minimise my tax payments. Therefore, I will work less and therefore pay less tax. Moreover I will cut any transaction in which I am targeted with a greater tax hit

    It is becoming evident that we have a government that is now as interventionist a government as we have seen in many a decade past.

    The nefariously political nature of this PM and her clan is of great concern to all of us who embrace freedom and liberty.

    • Bob
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      “I for one will fight back”

      Welcome to the club Duncan.
      Will you fund the BBC?

  9. Peter Wood
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,
    May I suggest you save your efforts for now; there’ll be a new PM and Chancellor by December for you to talk to.

    It must be clear now that the PM is simply not up to the task of taking the UK out of the EU; falling for the Boris trick simply confirms what we all know, she’s easily distracted by the irrelevant and inconsequential, focusing on the last bit of trivia that’s dropped in her lap to misdirect her efforts. The 1922 must act swiftly if they are to save the Conservative Party, and they will.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Let us hope we do have a new PM and Chancellor very soon to replace the current appalling wrong on everything dopes, but that it is not Corbyn and Mc Donnall with the SNP wagging the dog.

      • Hope
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Hammond now making veiled threats there cannot be a no deal! Goodness me these Tory remained die hards have no scruples, values, morals on electoral democracy.

        JR, are you and other Tory MPs going to make a complaint against May for her letter to Tory associations advocating her capitualtion paper to the EU? The U.K. will be a vassal state without a voice or veto, the U.K. subject to ECJ and EU law will have primacy over U.K. courts. To maintain she has kept faith with the referendum or vote is a lie. The document is untruthful and deliberately wrong in fact. This is not an embellishment, sophistry or an exaggeration it is a lie. Is this not against the minister code as well?

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope so Peter but none of them seem to be rushing to rid us of her. Let’s hope they are just biding their time and waiting for the right moment which hopefully will be soon.

    • NickC
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Peter Wood, You are right about Theresa May. It is possible that her excessive deference to Olly Robbins is Stockholm Syndrome. Even if not, there is a grave constitutional issue where the civil servants appear to regard our elected representatives as mere nuisances to be managed. Of course that infection has come directly from the rotten EU.

      • mancunius
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        NickC – Is it yet proved that TM is merely being deferential to Robbins?
        Is it not more likely that she is giving the orders, and using them as a tool to enact her clandestine treachery?

        • mancunius
          Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          sorry, I meant ‘using *him* [i.e. Robbins]

    • mickc
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Err….no they won’t! They know this government is moribund but will keep supporting it and hoping something turns up.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink


      So what is the alternative Mr. Corbyn?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink


        It would be quite a laugh having Corbyn as PM and watching the establishment and the EU try to control him

  10. Adam
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Reduce them then!

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Imposing IR35 on freelancers working in the public sector just means they have to pay for work hotels and travel out of taxed income. So they are less likely to take such engagement, and their families get to see less spending money.

    It’s a very high rate of tax when you are forced to work via an umbrella company, pay full tax and No via PAYE, and in addition pay for accommodation and travel for working away from home.

    The government should be encouraging a flexible workforce not hammering them with so much tax.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      NI not No

    • libertarian
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      This government absolutely hate small and micro business with a vengeance. They have been attacking us with taxes, over regulations and an utterly crap education system ( starving the workforce) for years.

      We need a new political party fit for 21st century. The old left/right paradigm is dead , we need democracy so that people can choose policy from a “menu”

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed over high taxes do huge economic and political damage. This especially when the receipts are usually spent so very inefficiently indeed. There is massive waste in the state sector. Indeed much of government spending does far more harm than good and is hugely misdirected, plus there is considerable corruption, backscratching and fraud. Even before the damage done by extracting the Tax to fund it has been considered.

    HS2 and the renewable tax payer subsidies are certainly in this category. Especially when the people whose properties are being taken off them for HS2 are not being compensetated either fairly or promptly it seems.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Problem is John the Government is spending so much, so it needs to raise taxes to cover it all, and Government think like all else it does, is to think more and more is the answer, when often less and less is what is required.

    The Government always seems to get a bad deal from its expenditure, just look at the cost overruns of almost every project it gets involved with, from computer systems, to ships, railways, motorways, aircraft, power stations, hospitals, Military Equipment, and almost every construction project it gets involved with.
    Then we have in inefficiencies of the State run services, HMRC, NHS, Benefits and Social Services, the Justice system.
    Not to mention PFI programmes !

    Afraid a complete new mindset of exactly what the Government should be responsible for is required, but for that you need a complete new set of politicians, as most of the present ones seem blind and dumb to change, the present Brexit farce being an excellent example.

  14. stred
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    JR. You are providing the opposition to a socialist europhile government. Few read your blog except supporters and eurotrolls. Why don’t you get together with some other real conservative MPs who actually want to leave the EU and start a new Conservative Independence party. Thousands of real conservatives would contribute in order to get rid of the welchers.

    • Bob
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink


      “start a new Conservative Independence party.”

      You mean like UKIP?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        No nothing like UKIP

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink


      Interesting proposal, I would agree we you there…

      UKIP are “probably dead in the water”, but a new Conservative party could be the way to go.

      • Chris
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        The Real Conservative Party ?

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Or join forces with UKIP – the real Conservative party. Their membership numbers have gone up in the thousands since May’s Chequers proposal. All the socialists in the party such as May and Hammond should be cut adrift. They are not Conservatives.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Membership numbers up? For a party with no history of electoral success except in EU elections – Does UKIP know the UK’s funders is not going to exit?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink


      Its not another ( vote splitting) Conservative party that is needed. Its something entirely different. We dont need 19th century centrally controlled political parties any longer. We need iDemocracy , a party that is founded bottom up and who’s policies are dictated by its members and supporters and are asked using digital tech to contribute to the formulation of policy

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        You need a Lenin to deliver it-to destroy utterly what already exists.I don’t see any such person in the Tory ranks despite Boris apparently consorting with that self-confessed Leninst,Steve Bannon.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          There is no one currently in the ranks of any party

          As always with groundbreaking innovation, the impetus comes from outside.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Thousands of real conservatives would contribute in order to get rid of the welchers.

      So, you’d have the ‘Real Conservatives’, the ‘Pretend Conservatives’ and, if Labour split as it should, ‘Real Labour’ and ‘Pretend Labour’ – and the Lib Dems and the Greens.

      This would lead to a coalition of Pretend Conservatives + Pretend Labour + Green + Lib Dems – with the Real Conservatives and Real Labour consigned to the margins where they belong – with less than 10% support each.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    You make a compelling argument for more sensible taxes that will help deliver growth. It will, however, fall on deaf ears. Those who should be listening, notably Hammond and May, have their heads firmly buried in the sand.

  16. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    If Hammond cannot read the writing on the wall then he really shouldn’t be in his job. How much of these taxes rises and other things that penalise the hard working class will he introduce so that he can make people feel Brexit might be the cause? I noticed the BBC couldn’t wait to say the word Brexit on the news last night in relation to sterling going down against the dollar. No, they couldn’t investigate and find that perhaps it’s something to do with the US economy booming. That would be too much like hard work. Let’s just do what our Lord and master has instructed us to do and harp on about Brexit. I am truly sick of people trying to do things to undermine this country to get their own way. The UK could be a great place. As Trump says ‘Lets make America great AGAIN’. When is someone going to see there are ways to make Britain Great AGAIN like it has been in the past?

  17. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Off Topic. I am sick of hearing about the remarks Boris made while sticking up for people looking like whatever he called them. When the public was asked about it they were all on his side and said it made them feel he was speaking for the many and not the few. It’s what everyone thinks but nobody dares to say it. All more proof the government is totally out of touch with the people on many things. Leave the man alone!!

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Having now read the full Boris article, it’s written in typical Boris style prose and the only area that I disagree with him is:

      “those in authority should be allowed to converse openly with those that they are being asked to instruct”

      It’s not just those “in authority” but also the general public that should expect anyone not to deliberately hide their identity in any public place as is the established culture in this country.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    More anti Boris, anti free speech drivel from Tracey Crouch MP (Minister for Sport and Civil Society) this morning. Is this bile being coordinated by someone like T May?

    Bravo Boris says the Spectator today. The article is spot on.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed. So transparent and another example of being out of touch and, frankly, making themselves look stupid. If I was Boris’s campaign adviser I would be rubbing my hands with glee!

    • Richard1
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The humbug over this issue is extraordinary. MPs from all parties and others have criticised the burka, including Remain supporting Conservatives who seem to the most vocal. Good to a number of Muslims come out and agree with Boris, and the majority of the public also.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      There are some really dim MP’s around these days. Boris will be PM in the not too distant future and all these idiots gobbing off will then go into full reverse ferret

      In the last 8 years

      Harriet Harman, Thornbury, Ken Clarke, Soubry and others on both sides of the house have said exactly the same as Boris. Other high profile MP’s have called for banning the Burkha ( as many EU countries already have) . Not a word

      This is a co-ordinated political attack to stop Boris.

      Sadly for them the public in large numbers like Boris, because he ISN”T a virtue signalling, pc robot like the rest of them . If he keeps his nerve he will be PM

    • Oggy
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Agreed LL and not just Tracy Crouch. All the remainer rebel Tory MP’s now using Boris’s rightly expressed opinions to try and remove the threat they see in him becoming PM and delivering the Brexit we all voted for.

      I also see Dominic Grieve said he would quit the party if Boris ever became leader. Best news I’ve heard in a while – bring it on !

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      In my view this attack on Boris Johnson is n attempt to discredit him (as a prominent Leaver) ahead of the Brexit sellout that May is planning. This ellout will result in the UK being negotiated into the status of a vassal state. There is no other rational explanation for the concerted effort to discredit him at this time.

      The chance that this will split the Conservative party must be high. May and co probablyl want him banned from the party and the party conference so that he cannot use it to appeal to his supporters and use it to mount a leadership challenge. Time will tell if I am right about this.

  19. formula57
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    “The Treasury is always threatening some group or other with the possibility of new or higher taxes.” – quite, and a damaging thing but it does familiarize us with what it will be like when Corbyn’s Labour takes charge.

  20. Ian wragg
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I see May has sent a letter to the party members trying to sell her Chequers cop out.
    Having read it, it takes the phrase lying politicians to a new dimension.
    Every paragraph is a bare faced lie.
    Time to go methinks.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


      I wonder why this campaign has been organised before we have ANY agreement with the EU, or was something agreed with them before Chequers ?

      What is the point of trying to sell an awful proposition, and indeed the worst of both Worlds, to try and get people to change their minds, or come on board, when it still has to be agreed by the EU.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Lawyers for Britain know her plan is not worth the paper it is written on and will not allow trade deals around the world or comply with WTO rules!!!

  21. sm
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    A government may be able, for a short time, to threaten people into better behaviour, but in the long run it will simply build up future problems, as you have indicated.

    Does government wish to reduce the welfare bill? Why not incentivise people to provide more for themselves, as suggested so often on this blog, rather than taxing the living daylights out of those who can afford to, partially or wholly, look after themselves?

    Does anyone – politicians or civil servants or SpaDs – in Whitehall and Westminster ever look
    at a policy (whether about tax or anything else) and say “no, it worked out so
    badly last time that not even major tweaks will help it work this time”?

    OK, I know the answer, and it’s ‘NO’. It’s all about getting the right tweets today, and a 10 second nod from the media.

    Any Tory Leader in their right mind would have made you Chancellor years ago, John.

  22. JoolsB
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    We won’t get lower taxes until we get a Conservative Government instead of this bunch of socialists masquerading as Conservatives.

  23. JoolsB
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Socialist Governments such as Mays do not care about the Laffer curve which has proved when taxes go up, production goes down and when taxes go down, production goes up. Like all socialist Governments, their only thought is how to find ever more ways to help themselves to peoples’ hard earned money especially the wealthy because they must be punished for doing so well.

    They should also be thinking about the extra tax burden they have placed on successful English graduates who could see their tax take with NI as much as 71p in the pound. They will up sticks and take their skills abroad. Any sensible Government would be scrapping fees for all STEM subjects on condition they keep their skills in this country. May admitted fees (England only of course) were the second highest in the world even without the punitive 6.1% interest and yet did what she does best and kick the can down a very long road.

    If you do not get rid of this Socialist PM and her Socialist Chancellor John, I fear the Tories are heading for a fall come the next election.

  24. Richard1
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    This is certainly right. One reason surely for the current aenemic growth rate and general sense of foreboding is the absolute lack of positive leadership, direction and vision from the top of the government. The Govt need to be pointing to a super competitive U.K. post Brexit. This would have the knock on benefit of encouraging the EU to be more cooperative. Let’s hope the new Italian Govt shake up the system by progressing their 15% flat tax idea.

  25. graham1946
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Governments of both shades have never liked the self-employed, despite what they say, because they cannot be easily controlled and have similar chances with taxation as bigger firms – they can find all kinds of things to reduce tax and don’t pay every week/month before they even get paid, like those on PAYE.

    The higher the taxes, the bigger the black economy. Who can blame buyers and suppliers for not wanting to pay VAT at 20 percent on everything, especially stuff which costs fairly large sums of money. I had a new set of tyres recently and the amount taken by the government to waste is obscene.

    The other big tax which I totally resent is Council Tax. We get virtually nothing for it – just the bins emptied every two weeks, (Except for green waste which I pay extra for which is weekly, of course). We don’t get the streets swept, have no police, they are stationed eight miles away, no street lights (don’t want those anyway) and we pay more than the townies with all their services all based on some chinless wonder’s idea of how much our property was worth in 1992, not at all on affordability. Take everything in income tax and scrap all the rest, then the public will see just how much they pay – probably about 90 percent of average people’s money I would guess.

  26. DUNCAN
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    By turning leftwards this fool of a PM is affording Corbyn’s brand of politics a degree of legitimacy. It’s almost an admission by May that Corbyn’s position is morally superior to the historical Tory position

    If we moved away from Marxist Labour it would highlight the extremist nature of what Labour’s become. Voters would then ask themselves serious questions about voting for a party that’s become infected by hard left fanatics

    If May isn’t deposed she will destroy this party and you Mr Redwood and your colleagues who voted for this grotesque leader will be responsible

    By continuing to support May you John, yes you John, are supporting socialism and liberal left authoritarianism

    • Chris
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Bluntly put, Duncan, but you are right.

      With regard to Boris, does the PM and her team not realise that 4 days in the news for Boris is just splendid for PR purposes, particularly when apparently a majority agree with his right to express his opinion on how burkas look to him

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink


      You voted for Theresa May in the 2017 General Election.

      Consequently Duncan, yes you Duncan, are responsible for this current fiasco of a government!

      • Timaction
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        I didn’t as I know not to trust the legacy parties! How many times do they have to lie on the EU, immigration, taxes, provision of public services before you give up trust?

  27. Anonymous
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Indeed. It reaches a level where working extra becomes pointless. We now have high personal tax rates on salaries which do not qualify for mortgages on starter homes in average areas.

    Overtime becomes punitively expensive to do, especially where extra commuting is required. Say, coming in at a weekend. We’re not even talking Laffer effect at a high level of earnings anymore. It kicks in at blue collar level now.

    It’s stifling our economy.

    Then we have “We treat all communities equally and must be impartial” from the police when faced with a town being ripped up by *visitors*.

    If our services are so monumentally useless as to be a danger to us (we’d be safer without this sort of police force in fact – it’s only a matter of time before protection racketeering becomes the norm) then I can see potential for huge tax savings.

    The biggest savings could be made in Westminster for all it’s worth. Scrap the Royals too.

  28. William Long
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It is amazing that people who call themselves Conservatives cannot see this and act upon it. As well as a Conservative message it is a liberal (the small ‘l’ is deliberate) message and, interestingly in the context of the existing Liberal Democrat party, it was a song that Joe Grimond was singing long before Mrs Thatcher learnt about it and put it into practice with the success we all know about. But it is also worth remembering what a battle she had to fight.
    Something I have always found it impossible to understand is why many people think there is some sort of moral rectitude in paying taxes. The thought of tax cuts was one of the anathemas of those opposed to Mr Trump and I am quite sure would feature in the same way in opposition to the any implementation of the policies you suggest. Socialists of course love high taxes as they are a means of control by the Government. The revenue that comes from them is secondary and they do not worry if it reduces. They just borrow more.

  29. Walt
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Thank you, John. Chancellor Hammond increased the new state pension for the self-employed such that their prospective benefit from it is the same as that of an employed person with the same earnings and years of contribution. Why should not the contribution rates be equalised too?

  30. oldwulf
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    We need to encourage spending and job creation as well as providing an incentive to work. The high rates of Value Added Tax, National Insurance for employees and employers and Income Tax are the main problem. Everything else is tinkering around the edges.

  31. Peter Martin
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    There is a case to be made for more taxation and/or less Govt spending if the economy is overheating and high inflation is an issue. I’d say the opposite is the case at the moment. The economy, especially in the regions, is too sluggish.

    The balance between Govt spending and levels of taxation has largely to be a matter of political choice. There is no ‘right’ answer in that respect. But increased spending does have the added benefit in that it can be better targetted towards the less prosperous areas where it likely won’t cause inflation.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Peter Martin

      Please point me to an example in the UK where targeted government spending has increased the long term prosperity of a region

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 11, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink


        • libertarian
          Posted August 11, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          That would be Salford that is part of the already prosperous Greater Manchester … OK if you say so

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Before development of Media City and the Quays it was a very run down, left behind part and it’s a stand alone City not within Greater Manchester.

            They do a lot wrong in Manchester, there needs to be a big, free park and ride scheme on a linked Tram running every 5 – 10 mins from Cheshire. The Airport links needs vast improvement especially from Cheshire West and East. Christie’s Hospital needs its own tram stop with good connectivity.

            If you go to an evening concert then try to get out of the Concert car park give up an hour of your life or more the higher you are in the Arena car park, so people travelling in just stop going.

            There is no thoughtful grass parks (like those regularly in London) to break up the over high building in Central Manchester, it’s just oppressive and people I know just stopped going in.

            They should have sorted transport out first and not try to fit in in once it’s over developed lumps of concrete and glass.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 11, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        If you go back a bit, Warrington

      • Peter Martin
        Posted August 11, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Liverpool. Heseltine’s plan worked well enough.
        Swansea with the DVLC.
        Barrow. The local economy is very dependent on the submarine building.
        The prosperity of London very much depends on its being the seat of Govt.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 11, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          Peter Martin

          Oh please you think the DVLC bought prosperity to Swansea lol, have you ever been there?

          The prosperity of London is based on it being the Worlds number one Financial Centre, and the Worlds number one centre for Digital Business

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Just as an aside, how can Theresa May have the brass neck to tell Tory party members that under her Chequers plan we would be taking back control of our laws, when the new treaty that she wants would bind us to follow all EU laws which the EU might determine to be somehow related to goods – their production, marketing, sale, transport, import, export, disposal, etc – as adjudicated by the EU’s Court of Justice, just as surely as the existing EU treaties which bind us to follow all those EU laws?

    OK, of course Parliament could still exercise its sovereign right to disapply any of those laws within the UK, and indeed on May 16th 2006 she herself voted for ministers to be empowered to do that:

    but that would be breaking the treaty; and it is one thing for an opposition MP to cast a demonstrative but practically ineffective vote for the willful contravention of a binding international treaty which has been negotiated by the UK government and approved by the UK Parliament and finally ratified and come into force, but is another thing for the Prime Minister to publicly moot that the UK could conceivably act in bad faith from the very outset, before negotiations on the new treaty had even commenced.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I now read at the end here:

      “Over the last two years we have examined every possible vision of Brexit.”

      That will be apart from the possible vision where EU laws would only apply to our exports to the EU, the 12% of UK GDP produced by 6% of UK businesses.

      After all that is the reality, not just a possible vision, for the rest of our exports.

  33. NHSGP
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    30% of taxes go on the debts.

    Now since you don’t report on the vast majority of state debts such as the 10,000 bn pound pension debts, you have a problem.

    You’ve got to tax more and cut services [the definition of austerity], to pay the debts.

    Hide the debts and you have nothing to blame. People conclude you’re nasty.

    Reveal the debts and its shoot the messenger.

    You are damned one way, damned the other.

    And all the time this goes on the public is screwed.

    So what’s needed?

    1. Fraud prosecutions and long jail terms. Start with the accountants and the treasury
    2. Publish the debts. That means sending everyone a personal statement, along with the break down. How much to civil servants, redistribution for the state pension, …
    3. Allow people the right of consent.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    As another aside, it is being claimed that the increased chance of a “no deal” exit from the EU has been enough to drive the pound down to new lows, so out of interest I looked to see how recent movements fit into the longer term picture, say over the past twenty years, and here is a chart of the sterling effective exchange rate index over that period:

    I would say the two most striking features on that chart are the massive, nearly 30%, drop from early 2007 to the end of 2009, followed by the smaller, about 20%, drop from the summer of 2015 to late 2016, with the EU referendum in June 2016 actually having had very little impact on that already established downwards movement.

    Apart from those two major events there have been many other, more minor and shorter term, fluctuations in the external value of sterling, of which the recent variations have so far been just another example of no particular long term significance.

  35. mancunius
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The ‘flow of buy-to-let property investment’ was and is not a beneficial trend.
    Being generously rewarded by the tax system for multi-borrowing from the bank has permanently removed the lower-priced tier of properties from the market in most cities, while pushing up prices: it has had a deadening effect on private leasehold and freehold purchase in many cities – and not just for first-time buyers. I know one mature buyer who was trying to downsize, looking for a small flat in London up to £1.1m, who has stopped looking after nearly a year, as ‘there is so little stock on the market, and the stamp duty makes it so expensive that I can’t afford to buy something I may want to sell a few years down the line’.
    SDT, subsidies for BTL (including housing benefit and student loans), and selective tax-relief for the commercial buyer: all these distort the property market. At one end, families in council housing have unearned shelter for a lifetime of low or no working activity. At the other, the absentee wealthy keep large houses empty and avoid paying any taxes at all.
    In the middle, those of us who bought when stock was plentiful scarcely notice the trends.
    For many who have been unfortunate in their choice of parents, emigration may be the only solution

    • Edward2
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      You are not generously rewarded.
      You were able to place the costs of borrowing as an expense
      As you are if you were in other trades
      Now you are not
      The tax changes will reduced BTL
      Which will reduce available rental property
      And increase rents.
      Fine you might say if the State was to step in and provide alternative housing
      But they are not.

  36. Christine
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I publish a book on Amazon. From the £2.99 sale price, I pay HMRC £1.27 (tax & VAT), I pay Amazon £1.62. This leaves me with 10p. Will I write another? Probably not. High taxes and greedy corporations stifle innovation and hard work.

  37. Mick
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Off topic
    All these people calling for Boris to apologise and be kicked out of the party for saying what most of us are thinking, that’s how far out of touch politicians are with the general public, and as for grieve saying he would stand down if Boris is made PM, good stand down and take the rest of your Eu loving buddies with you, and go live in your beloved Europe bye bye you’ll not be missed

  38. Dan H.
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    One simple thing which the Government can do which will greatly assist with taxation is to reduce the number and variety of taxes. A case in point here is duty on alcohol. Taxing alcohol, a luxury good which people do not have to buy, should be a simple enough thing to do. One rate per ml of ethanol in a potable drink ought to do the trick; the more ethanol people buy, the more they pay.

    The actual alcohol duty system has no fewer than fifteen different rates, differentiating between different source ingredients, different strengths of drink, and so on. Fifteen different rates just to tax a simple luxury good!

    This sort of thing goes on everywhere in the tax system. Income tax is another case in point; several different rates plus National Insurance are levied when a simple tax-free allowance and a flat tax for everything else would work equally well, save for putting a number of tax accountants out of business.

    Finally, simply abolishing Inheritance Tax would be a vote winner. The poor don’t pay it, the rich generally dodge it, and the ones in the middle try their best to dodge and often get caught. Abolish it and reap the electoral benefits!

  39. acorn
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Have a look at this ONS Chart.

    You will see that in 2017, the Household sector went into deficit. That is, its outgoings were greater than its incomes; first time for decades. In fact, in 2017, all sectors were running deficits (called borrowing) to pay for the imports. Everything above and below the zero line sums to zero.

    The General Government sector is the currency issuer; all other sectors are currency users.

    The General Government sector budget deficit is getting smaller by the year via Osborne-Hammond Austerity; that is, transferring public debt to the private sector. Financial corporations were creating some deposits (credit/loans) in customer accounts.

    The General Government budget deficit is scheduled to go into surplus circa 2025. So tax cuts will have to be matched by spending cuts and more. So who is going to pay for the imports? Assuming the Rest of the World is still prepared to get paid in Sterling and save it in Sterling denominated assets.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      The rise of buying cars on monthly finance PCP plans is partly why debt figures seem higher.
      Over 80% of cars are now “bought” this way.
      Anther reason is the use of credit cards and contactless cards by most people for all their daily purchases.
      Billions of extra debt is recorded.

      • acorn
        Posted August 11, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Doesn’t matter what mechanism they use to borrow or spend cash or credit; it is all aggregates to a deficit for the sector.

  40. Flatwater Fran
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    John- I read your Diary avidly. It seems you are one of the few politicians actually in touch with reality. I applaud and appreciate your efforts to make the Treasury remove their lips from the teat of tax succour. We are overtaxed to the extent that the laws of diminishing returns are all too obvious.
    Please keep up the good work!!!

  41. Chris S
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve just sold one BTL property (the one with the lowest CGT liability, obviously), and will sell another in the next financial year. This is in anticipation of the loss of tax relief on mortgage interest. How a Conservative Government can decide that Mortgae Interest on a let property is not a legitimate Business Expense is quite beyond comprehension.

    Both properties wil go to better of owner occupiers and will thus deprive two less fortunate families a nice home to rent.

    Is that really what Hammond and May want to achieve ?

  42. DUNCAN
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Now Brandon Lewis is investigating Boris Johnson.

    I have had enough of this party and its leader’s attempt to destroy all Brexit influence


    It’s bad enough having liberal left fascists, Marxists and anti-semites in Labour, a once decent and moral party now destroyed by entryism but now our own party IS DYING IN FRONT OF OUR VERY EYES

    The British body politic is now a cesspit of vile, unprincipled , scurrilous leeches on all sides

    We look to decent Tories like you John. Don’t let us down fella

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink


      Agreed, the Conservative Party seem to have a death wish !

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Sadly Duncan, I lost faith in Mr Redwood long ago. He seems to prefer to keep his head well down when there’s trouble.

    • Steve
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink


      Couldn’t agree more. But I think they won’t sling May out either because the penny hasn’t dropped and they don’t realise the people will bury the conservatives, or those who do think she should be removed won’t do anything because their self interest is best served by keeping their mouths shut, at the expense of democracy.

      Disgusting, isn’t it.

      They also seem to not realise that when they cause anarchy to kick off they will need to go into hiding – that is how potentially serious this is.

      Heath et al got away with selling the country out, but this bag of traitors will find themselves having to run for their lives.

    • Gary C
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately Duncan I think decent Tories are out number’d by traitors 🙁

  43. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Your party certainly has a death wish – formally investigating Boris Johnson over burka remarks. This is more about Brexit and future leadership than about burka. You seem beyond hope.

    • Andy
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed there is no point in having an investigation. Immediate dismissal would be much more appropriate.

      • mancunius
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Oh but Andy, surely even the restoration of the death penalty would not be an adequate punishment for suggesting in a newspaper that the burka should not be banned – as it is banned in France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Bavaria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Turkey, Tajikistan, China, Morocco, and several other states.
        Kenneth Clarke has called it ‘a bag’ and Labour’s Jack Straw – among several other MPs – admitted he would always demand a constituent uncover her face before he would agree to interview her in his MP’s surgery.

        But as you say, no punishment is enough for one who does the same while being in favour of Brexit… ;-))

        • Edward2
          Posted August 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Well said mancunius

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      What a pathetic shadow of a once great party. Making a horlicks of Brexit and now trying to ostracise one of the best politicians in the country.

    • Steve
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson

      Just goes to show how despicable May is.

  44. Curt
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Taking money from one. Used by some-one of Dissociative Identity Disorder to collectively “agree” what is best for one.
    One day, it(s) may work

  45. Build the Wall!
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The Player of Words is government. Even now, they are earnestly attempting re-definitions.

    As if stealing our money, calling it Taxing, is English. Tax is what the Roman Empire levied on its subject states. Didn’t it work well!!

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Actually it did,the Roman Empire survived until the mid 15th century and that is widely attributed to it’s fiscal soundness,notably a land tax,payable by all provinces,even if the number of provinces under imperial control was in a state of constant flux after the demise of the western half.

      • Build the Wall!
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel. I sometimes attempt a very broadly speaking…satire. In my case, I’m obviously not anywhere near competent. I need to better my English, I’ll try.
        In fact, I’m sub-consciously attempting the Russian genre of True-Myth. The masters of the genre are literally my heroes.

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh look, somebody is actually citing chapter and verse of WTO rules.

    But, no, it’s not Andy or any of his EU loyalist ilk supporting their rather venturesome claim that if we trade with the EU on WTO terms then under WTO rules we will have to have a hard border with the EU:

    Instead it’s a Professor of International Economic Law at London University brooding that Theresa May’s Chequers plan may contravene WTO rules in at least two ways:

    “There is a risk that the FCA procedure could breach the National Treatment obligation of GATT Article III.1 because it imposes burdensome tracking obligations on imported goods which are not imposed on equivalent domestic products … ”

    “Some aspects of the FCA proposal may transgress WTO rules on subsidies … the rebates paid to exporters for goods destined for a lower-tariff jurisdiction … may be construed as prohibited export subsidies under the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) … The rebate payment would probably fit within the definition of a subsidy under Article 1 i) of the SCM … The rebate would appear further to satisfy the requirements of a prohibited export subsidy under Article 3 … The subsidy is deemed to be specific because it is contingent on export under Article 2.3 … the SCM does not require any demonstration of actual adverse effect to exporters … ”

    Well, maybe, but apart from all that my objection is that the scheme is plain daft and was only conceived to keep us tied in with the EU for political reasons, while the principle EU objection as stated by Michel Barnier is that they would not trust us to operate it properly once we were no longer “subject to the EU’s governance structures”.

  47. Den
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Our current Government acts more like Liberals than Conservatives. So when I voted Conservative I expected to help elect a Conservative Government but got something completely different. What has happened to this country?

  48. AndyC
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Tax, brexit, burkhas… May needs to be removed, and removed now. I say that as someone who was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. No longer. Every day she remains is a day wasted for anyone wanting good for this country.

    What would Margaret Thatcher have made of all this, eh? She’d have boxed their ears. What percentage of the current intake of Tory MPs has even heard of ‘Stepping Stones’, let alone read it?!

    • Andy
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Thatcher created the single market. She would have backed Remain Andalusia have been appalled by Brexit. She would have no truck with the hard right which is destroying her party.

      • AndyC
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        You’ve not understood my point. I was talking about economic strategy, hence Stepping Stones. I guess you’ve not heard of it either.

        Re the EU, that’s not an accurate reading of Thatcher’s view at all. She did create the single market, but never saw it as a springboard for political union. Quite the reverse, hence the line she drew in the Bruges speech in 88. She was distinctly lukewarm about the single market by the time she wrote her memoirs in 92/93, and became even less enthusiastic as time went on. To claim her as a remainer is plain daft.

        Brexit =/= hard right. Ask Jeremy Corbyn for example, or read up on his old mentor, Tony Benn.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I read a lot of ridiculous posts from you andy but claiming Lady Thatcher would have voted remain is the most ridiculous.

        The single market started as a decent idea but it has been hijacked and turned into a protectionist bloc.

        You then end with your hard right smear on those MP’s who want to actually leave the EU
        Are those vocal MPs who want to remain therefore hard left?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink


        As you are only 15 you have no idea what Thatcher would or wouldn’t do, say or think

        Brexit PANIC as Andalusia region begs EU to save them from economic MELTDOWN

        SPANISH tourism, finance and agriculture could be badly damaged if the EU fails to broker a deal with the UK over Brexit, the regional officials have warned.

      • NickC
        Posted August 10, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Mrs Thatcher was horrified at the EU’s centralised single market and said so in her Bruges speech of 1988. As you have been told many times.

  49. Pravda
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The best strategy, and the only one for present Tory MPs ( you can only work with the….ones you’ve got ) is get Boris as Leader, win the next Election and then undermine him.
    A strategy quite unknown to politicians.

    • Pravda
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      PS Well it sure as apple pie worked for the Republican Party in the USA.

  50. L Jones
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Dr R – there appears to be a huge amount of anger here from usually fair-talking, balanced commenters. Surely the message must be getting through by now that Mrs May and her ilk (Oily Robbins, etc) will be the death of your party?
    ”Who will rid us of this turbulent…..” etc

    • libertarian
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      L Jones

      You would think so, but consider this. Almost the entire Labour Parliamentary party hates Corbyn, yet they’ve done absolutely nothing. They meekly go along with it all terrified of losing their seats.

      Same in the Conservative Party

      We have no politicians that have the bottle to lead

  51. GilesB
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    It would be good if we could tax social media.

    Say one penny per post, or per email. Two pennies if they have an attachment. Three pennies for downloading a video, or per hour for streaming. Get the social media cranes to devise workable definitions and avoid VPN workarounds, track the statistics and collect the tax. Most people won’t notice a few pounds per month.

    It could also kill the spam email industry.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      What a brilliant idea, GilesB! This would certainly concentrate the minds of those who think they’re well-informed because they ”read”, for example, InYourFacebook.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Giles B

      Doh, you do know that the internet is global right? You do know that since the introduction of GDPR more than 1,000 US websites have blocked access from the EU.

  52. GilesB
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    cranes! should be companies

  53. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Without wishing to cause any embarrassment to my alma mater, which I will therefore not identity, and possibly also compelling our sanctimonious hypocritical politically correct left-liberal Prime Minister to issue yet another virtue-signalling public condemnation, this is from its regulations:

    “Clothing obscuring an individual’s face is not allowed on any of the College’s campuses, except when required for health and safety or work-related reasons. Motorcycle couriers must therefore remove their helmets before entering College buildings. For ease of identification, employees, students and visitors should not wear clothing in such a way that it obscures the face. In applying this Policy, consideration should be given to weather and environmental conditions, and the location on campus.”

    It seems to me that your party has a death wish, JR, a wish which may well be granted.

  54. Steve
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, but relevant.

    On the news today Cressida Dicks says there was no offence in Boris’ comments. So that’s sorted. Now the anti-English PC brigade can shut the hell up.

    JR, I should draw to your attention the fact that your party has been infiltrated by leftists. I don’t know how loudly we need to scream from the rooftops ; for christ’s sake get May out NOW !

    Replace her with someone with the balls to stand up to Europe.

    Sitting on your arses hoping May will go of her own accord will not work, moreover when the lid blows off in this country anyone who allowed May to stay in office will also be held responsible.

    We’re sick of being told what and whom we should like, sick of being told what we can and cannot say, sick of all the political correctness.

    And….we’re disgusted that countries we liberated from tyranny twice in the last century can blackmail and threaten us with impunity all because none of you have the guts to do anything.

    Trust me on this; if May is not removed immediately but allowed to stay and capitulate at every opportunity, things will get very nasty.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, Steve. It is beyond galling that the Germans, having been guilty of instigating two world wars, should dictate to the rest of Europe, and try it on even with us now. They were culpable in that dreadful carnage and bloodshed and agony and displacement of so many peoples. (And I say this BECAUSE I have many friends in Europe.) And it is galling that the French (politicians) should have so little regard for their own history.

      The EU is Germany, and everyone knows that. They are still trying to achieve ascendancy (and have, mostly). ”Mitteleuropa”.

      Thank God we voted out. Let’s distance ourselves from this ”organisation” as soon as possible. Why are our politicians trying to bind us to such dangerous people?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      No. It’s over. They really think we’re going to turn out and vote for them again.

      Prepare for Corbyn.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Steve. Yes, it is sickening that countries we liberated choose to treat us as they do.

  55. Original Richard
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I now believe that the Treasury and Mr. Hammond, the “beating heart of Remain”, are pursuing policies to cause economic and political damage to the UK in their cause to thwart Brexit.

    This why their policies are appear to be inexplicable and illogical.

  56. Chris S
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Personally I don’t want to see Boris as PM but this latest contraversy is ridiculous. By demanding Boris apologises, Mrs May and Mr Lewis are setting themselves against the vast majority of Party Activists and a large majority of the public.

    Heaven knows what will happen if they decide to suspend Boris.

    All Boris has to do is state that this is yet l another example of perverse Political Correctness. He will immediately have a large majorty of Party Members and the public on his side.

    Mrs May will then find herself on tbe wrong side of Party and public opinion. This cannot end well for her.

  57. Ken Moore
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    I have a question for Dr Redwood and his followers.

    The UK has a pro-Remain government trying to negotiate a “Brexit” that they don’t believe in. I’m not sure if they are (a) trying to make it a disaster out of pique, (b) trying to stop it happening, or (c) just monumentally incompetent.

    Is it a) b) or c) ?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Ken. I think all three.

  58. Iain Gill
    Posted August 10, 2018 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I am very disappointed to see Brandon Lewis announcing the Conservatives are mandating candidates lists be 50/50 men/women.
    The political elite have lost the plot and need to watch some Jordan Peterson videos and learn how badly incorrect they are on gender equality issues.
    The Conservatives have gone full throttle New Labour and this is throwing votes away.
    In any case more public school and Oxbridge females IS NOT EQUALITY, rather it is white working-class men who are the real under represented group, as a proportion of the population they are very high, as represented in politics and journalism they are hardly seen at all nowadays.
    This nonsense is going to lead to multiple layers of disaster.

    • 37/6
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      They’ve tried that in other industries.

      Staff shortages now worse than ever, for various reasons.

  59. libertarian
    Posted August 10, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh my word

    Your chancellor is now proposing an internet transaction tax to and I quote “level the field for retail”

    How monumentally ignorant is the government ?

    The tax will be paid by customers, so there you go the chancellor wants inflation

    How exactly will it level the field?

    The internet doesn’t compete on price it competes on availability

    I go into a shop to buy a blue shirt , they dont have it in blue or they dont have it in my size. On the internet not a problem

    I drive 10 miles to a town high street and find I can’t park as no spaces, not a problem with the internet obviously

    I dont have to struggle to get large items in my car boot if I buy on the internet

    You can’t uninvent technological innovations, why keep trying to “save” industries that have been innovated out.

    Why dont we have a level playing field with HS2 , place a large tax on trains to ensure that the horse and cart freight market is saved?

    Your chancellor raised tax on retailers in the first place by increasing business rates not such a big problem for the internet

    This truly is the worst Conservative government that has ever been in power

    • Edward2
      Posted August 10, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Well said Libertarian
      By all means help high street retailers.
      There are many things one could do.
      But don’t damage another growing industry.
      Perhaps it is just yet another tax on us.

  • 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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