The government taxed more than it spent in July

This week the latest figures for UK borrowing showed that in July the UK government collected £2bn more in tax than it spent. As predicted here, the four month figures for the year to date also showed continued outperformance of the borrowing target, with borrowing so far in 2018-19 £8.5bn below budget. The favourable outcome was entirely down to a further surge in tax revenues as the government continues with its budget strategy based on big boosts to tax revenue. Tax receipts were up by 6.6% in July.

The position could be even better if the government would reduce some of the tax rates it imposes. It could collect more higher rate income tax, more Stamp Duty and more CGT if it lowered the rates.

What I would like it to do is to increase public spending in the priority areas I set out recently, increase tax revenues by cutting over high tax rates,, and reducing spending in other areas. The government’s financial position could be transformed if it leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement payment. It could  be further transformed if it cancelled HS2. Just leaving the EU without a Withdrawal fee  would save £39 bn, allowing tax cuts for all of the kind where there is a cost to revenue, spending increases on schools, NHS, defence,a universal  digital signalling expansion of railway capacity, more and better road capacity , and elimination of the deficit.

My critics here complained I just wanted to spend more and didn’t care about the deficit. It would be easy from here to cut taxes for all – as well as cutting tax rates that do raise more revenue – increase spending and have a lower deficit.That is what I am recommending.


  1. Mick
    August 23, 2018

    Let’s just leave and tell the Eu to go whistle for the £39 billion which would be best spent on our people
    I wouldn’t let labour run a bath let alone go anywhere near the negotiating on our withdrawal they would turn over and give in on everything so as to keep us in, labour up north are finished

    1. Denis Cooper
      August 23, 2018

      Here is a letter I’ve sent to the editor of CityAM this morning in response to his leading article entitled “Ministers must clarify the no-deal message”, my email being headed “Letter to the Editor – No deal on what?”


      It is indeed about time for ministers and other politicians and commentators to clarify what they mean by a “no deal” departure from the EU, and in particular whether that would mean no deal on anything at all, not even on minor administrative matters which would not need a formal treaty deposited with the UN, or it would mean just no new special or preferential trade deal between the UK and the EU.

      As far as the total no deal scenario is concerned that must be feared on both sides, as after forty-five years so many of our legal arrangements have become predicated on the UK being a member state of the EU, and while it would be perfectly possible to sort out such legal technicalities that would require a negotiated deal.

      On the other hand there is little to fear merely from a decision to eschew any special or preferential trade deal to replace our present membership of the EU Single Market, which has in reality had only a marginal impact on our overall GDP one way or the other.

      The basic “deal” for the UK to trade with the EU on WTO terms already exists in the form of the WTO treaties which are already in force, and however hostile the EU might choose to be it could not deprive us of our trading rights under those treaties.

      Indeed it is very questionable whether it is even worth trying to improve on the WTO terms by negotiating a special trade deal like CETA, which despite all the time and effort it has required will benefit Canada by only a fraction of a percent of GDP.

      Yours etc.

      I added supplementary material to support my claims, references which I’ve given on here mor than often enough, so maybe he will pay some attention.

    2. Richard
      August 23, 2018

      Whitehall wants the UK to pay whatever Brussels calculates. This could well greatly exceed £39Bn.

      1. Hope
        August 24, 2018

        A trade partnership does not involve one side paying the other £100 billion! You keep forgetting UK assets. Why? No money, we want our assets back after all there is a £80 billion trade deficit in our favour not theirs!

        Grow a pair and tell them to take a hike. I no longer want a deal before March 2019. Any deal to be considered thereafter. Leaving was not about a deal. Security should come at a high price, not unconditionallly like the dope May proposes.

        1. Richard
          August 24, 2018

          You misunderstand me. The UK has no legal or moral obligation to pay the EU anthing. The report in the link above (& see posts below it) & the HoL made that clear. Only the capital & retained prior year profits at the EDB remain on 30 March 2019.

          I was complaining about the Daft Withdrawal Agreement.

          1. Hope
            August 25, 2018

            I agree with you Richard my comment was to JR

    3. Lifelogic
      August 23, 2018

      “I wouldn’t let labour run a bath”

      Interestingly both the EU and UK even have bonkers rules on “running a bath” (it’s ‘elf and safety mate). These force companies and people to install temperature limiting mixer taps and showers (these are often rather unreliable and very expensive to install and to repair). Furthermore they often prevent one from raising the temperature of the bath to the level required without letting most of the water out and refilling. This is of course very wasteful on energy, water and money.

      Well done government!

    4. Lindsay McDougall
      August 23, 2018

      I think that we should use the £39 billion as a bargaining chip. If the European Commission and the EU Member States impose ANY non-tariff barriers (delays etc) on UK goods and services exports to the EU, we will withhold ALL of the £39 billion exit fee.

      Come to think of it, we need to be able to control this process. Pay the £39 billion in 10 equal annual instalments, adding interest but cancelling an instalment if the EC imposes non-tariff barriers in that year.

  2. Mark B
    August 23, 2018

    Good morning

    I would like to see government reduce its spending, tax take and QE / money printing. All this to maintain a small surplus to reduce the National Debt. A Debt that, even with historically low interest rates, is taking an increasing proportion of GDP.

    I would also like to see government abolish tax on insurance and private healthcare. The latter to increase competition. We also need to look at brining on competition into the public sector. All this will drive down costs and increase efficiency.

    1. Hope
      August 23, 2018

      Would it be better from Raab rather than trying to scare people of the extra costs of buying from EU if a deal is still not agreed to instead encourage consumers to buy from outside the EU and (say goodbye to) the EU27 ?

  3. Steve
    August 23, 2018

    Good article JR, but your suggestions would never be put into practice as long as May and her ilk are in government.

  4. eeyore
    August 23, 2018

    Tax less, spend more. Sounds like an election-winning slogan to me.

    1. Rien Huizer
      August 23, 2018

      No, most people are too smart for that..

      But the only way to truly reduce gvt share is to “starve the beast”. So you start by cutting taxes and spending more, step 2 you discover that there is not enough revenue, step three is you cut spending in emergency fashion, so that no one has a clue of what happens. Basically the same as what happens in the US, you take measures that do not benefit the common man but Trump causes so many distractions that no one notices they are being conned. Works once in a generation. Bush the elder called this voodoo economics once.

      The UK ain’ t no USA..

    2. JoolsB
      August 23, 2018

      But to do that we need a Conservative Government don’t we and that won’t happen until we get rid of the current bunch of socialist incumbents masquerading as Conservatives.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 23, 2018

        Indeed. NO CHANGR NO CHANCE as John Major showed if anything May is worse still.

  5. Lifelogic
    August 23, 2018

    Indeed it could all be far better still. Just get a sensible PM who appoints a sensible chancellor to replace the tax to death, grim reaper and electoral liability Philip Hammond.

    The double taxation of interest on landlords, stamp duty rates at up to 15%, IHT at 40% (still ratting on the £1M threshold promise), CGT at up to 28% without even indexation and income tax at 45% (without even a personal allowance) are particularly damaging.

    “I am favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it’s possible”. Milton Friedman

    I see that Hammond got just under 1% support as next leader in a Conservative Home survey. Far higher than I would have expected for such an economic liability, electoral liability, PPE graduate and personality lacking dope.

    August 23, 2018

    We want to see reform not political cowardice which is what more state spending equates to. More spending is an admission that the public sector is beyond reform.

    Stop financing Labour’s client state. You’re storing up real problems for the future.

    The Tories must confront the march of hard left politics that as taken hold across the public sector and its unions

    By refusing to reform you are simply encouraging and indeed financing the expansion of their numbers

    The public sector is now one of Labour’s political power bases. It is highly political and nigh impossible to reform

    Abolish the opt-in system in the public sector and force Labour to seek funding in the private sector in the way the Tories do.

    Stop pandering to the Marxist unions.

    Cut the unions and Labour’s funding options as they always seek to feed off the taxpayer

    Slash income tax for those with incomes of less than 30k. Target the largest number of employees

    Up the retirement age in the public sector to 65

  7. bringiton
    August 23, 2018

    But we already agreed the outline of the withdrawal agreement as far back as last December, including the money, movement of people, and the Irish border, ..if we don’t conclude this agreement now then there will be no chance of a new deal and no new FTA.. and some think that this is ok that we don’t need a new deal and we can go straight to WTO rules, even bypass the divorce? Yes- but am afraid that leaving EU without settling the account will not work for a successful future relationship with them or indeed with anyone else either mainly because of reputation considerations but also because we will be tied up in litigation for decades to come so there’s little point in going on ad infinitum in this fashion. On another point it’s also a great pity that government did not have the foresight to prepare and bring out these technical papers a lot earlier.

    Reply There is no legal requirement to pay this money, and after March29 their court no longer has power over us anyway

    1. Stred
      August 23, 2018

      Facts4eu has the figures showing the huge increase in EU expenditure, how we uniquely get little black, and confirms that they have carried on after they knew that one of their biggest members was leaving. Perhaps they knew that their friends in the establishment big business and politics would guarantee the money. May has even committed our defence expenditure to their PESCO army, run to suit the plans of our unelected ever High Representative Mz Moggherini. Birds of a feather flock together.

    2. Andy
      August 23, 2018

      It is money your party agreed to pay nearly five years ago when it agreed the EU budget – at a time the Conservatives were pro-EU. Before they sold out to the kippers.

      1. ian wragg
        August 23, 2018

        Rubbish, the budget period ends in 2020 and we will continue to honour that agreement. It is nothing like £39 billion which the EU wants on top of any routine payments.

      2. Richard1
        August 23, 2018

        But there has since been a referendum in which the Remain side failed to persuade a majority of the electorate that you need to have political union in order to have friendly relations, free trade and easy travel between European countries, which is what has support in the UK. Instead, then as now, they focused on increasingly absurd scare stories.

        1. Andy
          August 23, 2018

          And, since 2016, there has been a general election in which a bigger majority % voted against Mrs May’s proposed hard Brexit than voted for Brexit in the first place. So soft Brexit EEA it is then.

          In this country we do democracy through general elections, not through advisory referenda.

          1. Edward2
            August 23, 2018

            Nonsense again Andy.
            Over 80% voted for parties that had manifestos promising to leave the EU
            The two parties that promised to remain got nowhere.

          2. Keith Chegwin II
            August 23, 2018

            Maths obviously not one of your strong points. The Labour party also supported Brexit at this election.

          3. libertarian
            August 24, 2018


            ONE party campaigned against Brexit at the 2017 general election they got just 7.4% of the vote which using YOUR logic means 92.6% of UK were IN FAVOUR of Brexit

            In this country we SHOULD do democracy through general elections and referenda ( oh and on that note as you dont count referenda , guess you are saying that Scotland should be independent as the vast majority of Scots voted SNP at the last general election )

      3. Know-Dice
        August 23, 2018

        Isn’t that £39 Billion over and above the annual subscription agreed in the EU budget?

        1. acorn
          August 24, 2018

          Yes. The UK Government estimates that the costs for the UK will be around £35 – £39 billion, but it is not possible at this stage to reach a definitive figure. The UK agrees to contribute and participate in the EU budget until the end of the current budget cycle (2020) as if it had remained in the EU.

          The UK will also contribute its share of the financing of the budgetary commitments entered into before the end of the current budget cycle but not yet disbursed at the end of 2020 (the so called ‘reste à liquider’. (Herbert Smith Freehills)

  8. Alan Jutson
    August 23, 2018

    Increase the annual personal tax allowance to £15,000 and start cutting the VAT rate, that should help most people across the board to have more in their pocket, which would then go further if they spent it.

    1. Dave Andrews
      August 23, 2018

      I’m not sure increasing the personal allowance is a good idea. Removing people from paying any income tax renders them disconnected from government spending concerns.
      Rather than cutting the VAT rate, which also promotes imports, reduce business costs of corporation tax, business rates and employer’s NI, helping to make UK businesses more competitive.
      Some VAT categories could be removed, for example domestic services like electricians, builders, plumbers and gardeners. Small traders that keep under the VAT threshold currently enjoy an unfair advantage over larger concerns.

    2. Adam
      August 23, 2018

      Income from work is good, so tax should not penalise it. Tax is better applied to consumption of resources, so a purchase tax enables more choice fairly. Reducing VAT would stimulate increased consumption.

    August 23, 2018

    As an aside, the government could start introducing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) throughout the public sector which has the potential to transform productivity and reduce the public sector wage bill by billions

    Yes, it will involve continual strike action by the hard left unions as they fight to preserve their grip on how the state provides services but I don’t pay taxes to finance the activities of Marxist agitators

    We want to see radicalism not political cowardice. If Labour achieve power they will be absolutely radical in how they intend to consume the entire UK and its productive capacity. Nor will Marxist Labour apologise for destroying the private and productive base of this country

    As Labour would re-construct an entity that would beyond reform we need to construct an entity that is beyond hard left political infection

  10. Nig l
    August 23, 2018

    In the last ten days we have had more questions about the competency of the CPS, a report showing police services across the country had a myriad of computer systems that did not speak to each other let alone with other key agencies, prisons in crisis and last night a Channel 4 expose on Carillion by the excellent Liam Halligan all demonstrating in one way or another massive incompetence by Ministers and their civil servants.

    When you were a CEO there is no way you would have countenanced such waste and inefficiency yet a a politician you happily assert more money should be spent.

    I know you have touched on efficiencies in the past but there is no overall sense from Whitehall that this on any agenda let alone at the top where it should be,

    Clean out the stables and then spend my money please.

    1. Sakara Gold
      August 23, 2018

      My sentiments, exactly. I smell another defence procurement disaster in the offing with the recent “resetting” of the Type 31e frigate contract. The MoD wants five of these to come in at £250m each, max. With the specification issued, the defence industry has not been able to meet this part of the requirement – even with the proposed installation of “government furnished equipment” to be scavenged from warships to be paid off! Inevitably, a fudged solution will be found which will result in less capable ships and almost certainly, fewer will be built.

      The MoD has had a knack in recent years of producing hugely expensive white elephant defence projects. The massively over budget and very late Astute class hunter-killer submarines were built with obsolete nuclear reactors and gearboxes. As a result they cannot “sprint”, and though they will not require refuelling for 25 years and are very quiet, they cannot keep up with the new QE2 class carriers or the Vanguard nuclear deterrent. This attempt to save money has resulted in huge deployment problems for the RN and in any case, there are not enough of them to fullfil all the roles required.

      This sort of incompetence benefits nobody except the Russians. As I have blogged on here many times with the permission of our kind host, we need to resolve the issues surrounding the highly inefficient Mod/BAE Systems/RR cabal that has let our servicemen and women down so badly with such poor quality kit.

  11. MickN
    August 23, 2018

    LBC just now had Kier Starmer asked what his biggest worry of a no deal is. There are many, as you would expect, but he is most concerned about the ending of cooperation in matters of serious crime and criminal gangs in the country.
    My take on history must be a bit different to his. I seem to remember that he was part of the government that opened the doors and gave them free movement into the UK as well as encouraging them to come here to “rub the right’s nose in diversity” as Mandleson put it.

  12. Richard1
    August 23, 2018

    MPs should make clear that the £39bn will be paid if and only if there is a comprehensive FTA on the table for the period from January 21. Mrs Mays proposal for complete vassal statehood for 21 months from March 19 and then partial vassal statehood thereafter is worse than remaining in the EU. It is becoming clear that under the Chequers proposal the U.K. would not be able to run an independent trade policy, which is the main potential economic upside of Brexit.

  13. Newmania
    August 23, 2018

    I can`t see that walking away from international obligations is a serious option for this country and I am unlikely be much interested in some on line opinion on the matter one way or another so that’s that .
    I similarly have found some of the assertions on this blog, for example that we write off QE and convert it to helicopter money, to be either entirely disingenuous or at least misleading.
    The plain fact is that at vastly lower levels of borrowing John Redwood argued this country was dangerously over extended, in my view quite rightly .He has demanded higher spending lower taxes and more borrowing since the referendum by any argument that comes to hand. He has claimed this gear grinding volte face could be reconciled by the EU dividend. … well … at this stage one mentally walks away

    On positive Brexit note there is finally evidence that the government is getting grips with the No Deal Ice Berg and is at least providing what life boats it can . I fer to the very sensible pass porting back stop / transition .

    Reply I have not advocated higher borrowing!

  14. rick hamilton
    August 23, 2018

    JR you are preaching to the converted on tax cuts but where is the will in your party to do what you recommend?

    Labour’s policy is to increase taxes on ‘the rich’ which millions of people will vote for. No party that I can remember since Thatcher has ever had a policy of lower taxes, smaller government and less intrusion in peoples’ lives. Which is what real conservatives will vote for and the Conservatives never offer.

  15. oldwulf
    August 23, 2018

    July and January are the two main months for individuals Self Assessment tax payments. I would expect the government to be in surplus for these two months. What about the other ten ?

  16. Peter Martin
    August 23, 2018

    “The government taxed more than it spent in July”

    OK, but is that a good thing?

    If the economy is losing money to pay our net import bill, which it still is , notwithstanding the recent fall in the pound’s value, then we do need that money to be replenished from somewhere to make up for that and keep the wheels turning.

    The only other option is increased private sector borrowing which isn’t a good alternative IMO.

  17. Adam
    August 23, 2018

    History assesses former Chancellors on the basis of their figures vs others.

    Philip Hammond seems more focused on how history will record his figures than the quality of his decisions on the outcomes of the people they affect.

  18. Dr GP
    August 23, 2018

    Pity the debts went up by 2 bn in just over a day.

    Another 28 bn needed each month to get a fiscal balance.

    Reply Debt went down last month

    1. Lifelogic
      August 23, 2018

      Down due to massive over taxation, which is hugely damaging the economy.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 23, 2018

        What value do the public actually get back from £1 of taxation after all the costs of collection, the corruption, the distortion of the market, the cost of the tax avoidance industry and compliance, the waste and the misdirected spending on insanities like HS2, the 60% of degrees that are pointless, all the green crap subsidies and the likes? About 20p perhaps?

        Worse still much of it is spent inconveniencing and distracting the productive doing positive harm.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 23, 2018

          Forcing smart meters on them for example or pushing up their energy or employment/HR/tax compliance costs for example.

    2. Richard1
      August 23, 2018

      I think you are a bit confused Dr GP. if the govt raises more tax in a month than it spends, debt goes down, if less then debt goes up. Over a year if the govt is a net borrower, debt goes up and there is a fiscal deficit. there is still a deficit, but it is now 10% when Labour left office.

      1. Richard1
        August 23, 2018

        A bit appears to have got cut out when I pressed post I meant the deficit is now under 2% against over 10% under Labour.

  19. bigneil
    August 23, 2018


    Can you tell us how the NHS claiming money back off those who are not entitled to it scheme is going. I am seeing no govt trumpeting of it’s success so assume the UK taxpayer is still having to pay for anyone who turns up from anywhere, has their treatment ( with taxpayer funded translators as well of course ) then walks away laughing. Clearly the NHS itself doesn’t care about it’s funders, just keep demanding more.

  20. Denis Cooper
    August 23, 2018

    “Just leaving the EU without a Withdrawal fee would save £39 billion”

    It’s not a withdrawal fee, it’s the last parts of our membership fee. Putting that another way, if we had never joined then we would have saved ourselves a vast cumulative sum over the past forty five years. Around £500 billion gross, £184 billion net, according to the Sunday Express on March 26th 2017:

    And likewise if we had voted to stay in the EU then of course we would have continued to pay in ever increasing sums, that £39 billion and an awful lot more besides.

    To be honest, I’m dividing that £39 billion to be paid over in full and final settlement by 45, spreading it over another 45 years of membership if we had voted the wrong way, and thinking that less than a billion a year on average is soon going to become an insignificant footnote to the national accounts.

    The preponderance of legal opinion is that the EU treaties do not create any liability for the UK to pay anything on or after withdrawal, however the preponderance of political opinion is that for the sake of goodwill it would better to negotiate a settlement with the EU on the finances along with the negotiations on tying up the other loose ends.

    Obviously if we flatly refuse to negotiate what would amount to a severance package to moderate the immediate financial damage to the other countries then they may be less obliging about sorting out the legal technicalities of our departure.

    Note that I am not talking about paying them a bribe to get a trade agreement, not least because I don’t believe there is enough to be gained from a special trade agreement like CETA to justify any concessions to the EU:

    “In reality that EU-Canada trade deal is economically insignificant for both sides … ”

    I see the £39 billion (or as little as may be negotiated) as a goodwill payment to lubricate the process of sorting out all the legal loose ends so that we can be sure of a smooth and orderly and fairly friendly (or at least neighbourly) withdrawal.

  21. libertarian
    August 23, 2018

    I mentioned to Andrew Neil & Robert Peston on Twitter when they posted rightly that wages are barely going up, the following.

    More than 16 million people work for SME’s , thats over half the workforce. In the last couple of years the COST of employment has gone up dramatically. Increases to minimum wage, addition of workplace pensions, vastly increased business rates , flexible working directive, paternity leave, increased sickpay more regulation and compliance such as GDPR etc have ALL taken away what could have been wage rises for workers. This idiot government now wants an Internet Tax and Corbyn a Tech Tax. Both of these will be paid by consumers therefore making the wage situation worse still.

    Sorry but as each day goes by I despair at the total disconnection from the real world of our politicians

  22. JoolsB
    August 23, 2018

    You are talking to the converted on here. It’s those two socialists in charge of our hard earned cash you need to be talking to.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 23, 2018

      Indeed worse still to be followed by Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP and Venezuela if May is not removed.

  23. georgeP
    August 23, 2018

    After listening to Raab today it is clear that government has an overiding priority to get a deal and with the EU also working towards the same we can deduce an any deal scenario is preferred..probably then the divorce and the new arrangement will all happen together…so the technical documents are just about project smokescreen🤣

    1. Hope
      August 23, 2018

      Raab gives the impression the govt will accept any deal at any cost. After all Raab is only the spokesperson for Robbins, he is not the negotiator at all. May made that clear on the last day of parliament. Fox has made it clear he has done absolutely nothing of substance for two years! And it begs the question why Davis was so slow on the uptake on what was really happening.

      JR, is there any intention to rid May from office? Alternatively are you content for what she wants to happen but are going through the motions to make noises to appease some Tory supporters?

    2. Denis Cooper
      August 23, 2018

      Still it was good to see him offering reassurance that our sandwiches will not be at risk and nor will it be necessary to call in the army, even if he is a bit too late to stop those and many other scare stories gaining traction … anyway I looked up to see when I sent David Davis and his media unit an email asking if there was anybody at home, given the silence, and I found it was over a year ago:

      “Off-topic, JR, I’ve finally come to the end of my patience with David Davis and his now massive department and so I’ve have just send this email to the so-called “media unit”, copied to him and to the “correspondence unit” in the Cabinet Office:

      “Hello, anybody at home?”

      “Day after day, week after week, I see pro-EU, anti-Brexit propaganda flooding into the mass media, but I never see any response from you lot … ”

      So I have just dragged it out and forwarded it to Dominic Raab, saying:

      “Not that I put the blame entirely on you, because this complaint was made to your predecessor, see the email below from over a year ago, and he did nothing about it. Is there any precedent for a government not only failing to defend its official policy against attack, but actively promoting propaganda against it?”

      I’ve got to the point where I have to put the TV controller out of easy reach in case it gets grabbed and thrown at the screen, I am so angry at the way Theresa May and her civil service favourite have been deliberately messing up Brexit.

  24. Derek Henry
    August 23, 2018

    Any first year economics course will tell you

    The government budget deficit is the household, business. foreign sector savings

    The national debt are just those savings moved into gilts.

    You’ve lied about for coming on 40 years so why now stop now ?

    Brexit is the perfect oppertunity to start telling the truth but you won’t you’ll keep putting straight jackets on government spending whilst at the same time handing more money creation to the banks and thus more private debt and interest payments on the backs of the population

    Private debt is what matters and it is quite clear to me that is the only way you know how to grow an economy.

    Good luck with that we’ve all been here before and the electorate are on to you and why Corbyn is surging in the polls.

  25. Den
    August 23, 2018

    HS2 is a political vanity project of ultra expensive proportions.
    Valid comparisons have been made with the French TGV and others which show running losses each year. The only profitable HST networks in the world are in China and in Japan, where they maintained low development costs and keep existing running costs down. They also cover enormous distances making time saving an important factor for travellers.
    To commit >£30 Billions to save just 30 minutes is just an outrageous proposition for the British taxpayers to contemplate. Much more sensible and realistic is to upgrade our existing networks to achieve the improvements. HS2 is a terrible waste of OUR money.

  26. Eh?
    August 23, 2018

    Oh I actually DID have those jobs at the time

  27. Yawning Height
    August 23, 2018

    “The government taxed more than it spent in July”
    Now there’s a thing.

  28. Martin
    August 23, 2018

    If we got rid of all those extra civil servants stamping forms post brexit how much would that save?

    Apart from that have some of you on here no family or friends who are going to be caught in red tape mess if there is a no deal situation?

    1. Jagman84
      August 23, 2018

      There is no ‘red tape mess’ with the other 88% of our export trade (that is non-EU) so why should there be, after a WTO default deal, any for 100%? I recommend less exposure to BBC bias. It’s a fact-free zone.

  29. Hard Slog
    August 23, 2018

    Labour’s Chuka Umunna on BBC says Mr Raab is, and I quote,”sweating”, then
    LibDem Tom Brake on BBC says Mr Raab is, and I quote “hot”. Hmmmmmmmmmmm
    They are correctly observing in tiny but nevertheless most important detail a resultant phenomenon of Hard Work. Their Science teacher will be proud of them. We all are.

    1. Hard Slog
      August 23, 2018

      PS Very Seriously speaking:
      the prioritisation in observation by individuals and groups breaking their own social protocols in public expression of it, is one of the major indications that those expressions are by persons themselves suffering extreme stress and even the beginnings of the greater malady, hysteria.

    2. Know-Dice
      August 23, 2018

      And Lib Dem man says that after Brexit those that Import/Export to the EU 27 will have to deal with them in 27 different ways…

      No I don’t think so, trading with the EU 27 will be different, but, the same for all 27…

    3. Steve
      August 23, 2018

      @ Hard Slog

      Chuka Umunna can simply be ignored, he’s an ambitious minority of the PC mob.

      A waste of space who commands very little publicity.

      He is also naive enough to believe he is destined for higher things, but the nearest fly zapper will thwart him for sure.

      1. Hard Slog
        August 23, 2018

        Chuka Umunna is just one of too many. Their naughtiness is not that they are extremely intelligent and very able indeed. But that no-one could have those attributes and think the way they say they do.
        In any event they should be able to play Devils’ Advocates rather better than they do. Poor play!

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    August 23, 2018

    You need to be a little cautious. You rightly identify more tax revenue from reducing the top rate of income tax, CGT and the top rate of Stamp Duty. As far as I know, the argument doesn’t apply to any other taxes.

    It would do no harm to keep fiscal policy tight until we have reduced State Debt from the current high of 80 odd percent of GDP. It’s futile to say that some of that debt is QE and some of it is Notwork Rail’s accumulated deficit. It’s still debt. Getting State debt down is essential because even Mark Carney recognises the need to increase interest rates. If you look at UK public expenditure, interest on State debt is already a big item.

  31. hefner
    August 23, 2018

    If one wants to be sure they got a silk purse and not a sow’s ear, why not have a look at the original papers on “How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal”, I guess it should be a compulsory reading before commenting.

    1. Edward2
      August 23, 2018

      Not really hefner.
      It was prepared by govt staff who would prefer the UK to remain in the EU.
      Did you not know that?

  32. margaret howard
    August 23, 2018

    ” Just leaving the EU without a Withdrawal fee would save £39 bn, allowing tax cuts for all of the kind where there is a cost to revenue, spending increases on schools, NHS, defence,a universal digital signalling expansion of railway capacity, more and better road capacity , and elimination of the deficit”

    Did any of that happen before we joined the EU? And will our roads have fewer potholes once we leave?

    1. Know-Dice
      August 24, 2018

      Maybe if your beloved EU allocated a bit more of OUR funds back to us then there would be less pot holes.

      We could do with some of this –


      Near the bottom of this page if you are interested:

  33. Denis Cooper
    August 23, 2018

    Oh look, Philip Hammond is still pretending to Nicky Morgan that the government is able to reliably predict dire long term economic consequences if we leave the EU just on basic WTO terms, that is to say without any special or preferential trade deal:

    Even though he knows that it failed miserably with its pre-referendum predictions of the immediate economic consequences of a vote to leave the EU, in fact we now know out by about 10% of GDP after two years:

    How dishonest is that? And this man is in charge of the government’s finances … but of course he is acting with full approval from Theresa May when he pushes out this stale old rubbish, a blatant attempt to deflect people from supporting a clean Brexit and instead move them towards accepting the gross betrayal embodied in both her Chequers plan and the draft withdrawal agreement.

    At least Jacob Rees-Mogg is on the case:

    “Jacob Rees-Mogg pens explosive “chuck Chequers” letter to turn Tory grassroots against May’s plan”

    And so he should, so he should, because it is plainly an attempt to neutralise Brexit, as far as she dares to attempt that at present.

  34. Richard
    August 23, 2018

    Off-topic, but since Mr Clark “has held urgent talks with officials in Dublin on an emergency agreement to keep the lights on in Northern Ireland”, I thought that the obvious solution might be to keep both the AES Kilroot and AES Ballylumford fully open until 2021 at least:

    “This decision effectively shuts down 36% of Northern Ireland’s electrical generation capacity. Such an outcome will be a disaster for local jobs and security of supply.”

    Lifelogic may especially appreciate this one …

    1. Richard
      August 23, 2018

      AES Kilroot and AES Ballylumford power stations

    2. stred
      August 23, 2018

      Apart from anything else, shutting down carbon generation from NI would leave SI without power during a long wind lull. This minister must be an engineering innumerate but somehow has risen to the top of public office. How!

  35. Steve
    August 23, 2018

    I tend to agree with JR; it would be better for us to leave without a deal and keep the £39Bn in the country.

    Some have suggested May, Hunt et al are prepared to do any deal rather than no deal. If they do that, well let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

    1. Keith Chegwin II
      August 23, 2018

      We will hopefully leave under the terms of the WTO. This is not a no deal.

  36. FrankG
    August 23, 2018

    The government is in a state of paralysis for a long time now..there’s nothing normal about anything now..including taxation vs spending

    Am afraid project fear is taking over..we did not vote for a deal so don’t know why they keep going on about long as we leave like we voted for. We did not stockpile medicines before we joined the EU so why should we have to do now. Australia and NZ don’t stockpile medicine or anything else

    1. Hard Slog
      August 24, 2018

      In short, in realpolik, covering the entire globe, any large, massive disruption by bureaucratic or practical means of the supplies to any country would bring the EU regime to almost immediate downfall with catastrophic consequences for all EU nations.
      The entire planet would be obliged to impose economic and political sanctions on the EU for their own well-being.
      The EU is in quite a fix when its opposing negotiators need to pretend it has some kind of important leverage that it itself would never use even if it had it.

  37. ferdinand
    August 23, 2018

    I would have thought all those who comment on your pieces would have known about the Laffer curve. Why do people think that reducing taxes means less Government income in every case. Strange.

  38. Norman
    August 23, 2018

    I seldom listen to the radio these days, but was on a long car journey home this evening and tuned in to the BBC PM programme. It was nice to hear that short clip of your reassuring words, JR, amidst a veritable tsunami of Project Fear Mk II. The Government’s ‘no deal’ posturing appears to be a total charade.

  39. Mick
    August 23, 2018

    Bloody BBC, isn’t there any chance of shutting this Organization down, all it’s been all day is fake news and negativity with a topping of project fear, don’t these people ever give up with there constant project fear, the sooner we’re out the better then a kick in the teeth for the 21 century lord haw haw employees of the Eu loving muppets

    1. Prigger
      August 23, 2018

      Yeah. It particularly today the BBC has been on hyper-drive with a permutation of nonsenses.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      August 24, 2018

      Agree Mick. I turned off BBC news tonight because I am sick to death of the fake Brexit news. That’s all we’re going to get now. We may as well take our overdoses now! Honestly, what a load of tripe.

  40. margaret howard
    August 23, 2018


    1. Hard Slog
      August 24, 2018

      well argued!

      1. Know-Dice
        August 24, 2018

        Maybe you should read the “The Five Presidents’ Report” to find out where the EU is going before making that claim…

        Here –

        Also, there doesn’t seem to be a provision to cancel Article 50 once submitted, so how much would rowing back on that cost?

        Loss of rebate, have to join the Euro, who knows…

    2. Denis Cooper
      August 24, 2018

      Well done for producing a punchy, if nonsensical, comment which gets published, rather than wasting your time on any lengthier factual or reasoned material which lingers moribund in moderation limbo before finally expiring …

  41. Trumpeteer
    August 23, 2018

    This medicine thing and the EU.
    I thought USA companies were the largest producers and distributors of medicines. Also all sound-a-like EU companies are massively owned by US shareholders? It is rhetorical question.
    Israel too has quite a generic drug output, ultra cheap. We shall have to invent aircraft just in case.

  42. Paper Boy
    August 23, 2018

    Mr Hammond. Looks like he will need a job at the Evening Standard pretty soon. He’s done the apprenticeship.

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