Tax rises would hinder recovery

There was some strange briefing in  the Sunday papers, purporting to come from unnamed people in the Treasury. The argument went that the budget deficit has ballooned to £400 bn so the budget would need tax rises to cut it. Various ideas of new taxes and tax rate increases were discussed, usually to raise relatively small amounts compared to £400bn. The individual proposals typically would cut the deficit  by 1-5% only on the figures given.

The truth is the huge deficit is not sustainable, and needs to be brought down by getting the economy back to work. it will be recovery that makes huge cuts to the deficit, not tax rate rises. The deficit will tumble as soon as the controls are removed from social distancing so  hospitality, travel, leisure and entertainment can flourish again. Let us hope vaccination and the decline of the virus allows the government to let this   happen soon.  There is a double benefit for the deficit. Spending will fall sharply as furlough ends, special help to small businesses and the self employed ends and the extra money for health reduces with the job of vaccination done. At the same time tax revenues rises rapidly from low levels, as people spend money again, as businesses pay their rents again, as incomes of individuals and companies pick up from recovery.

It is most important that tax and benefit policy does everything possible to restore the lost 10%of national output and income the anti pandemic policies have taken away. Tax rises will deter investment, deter spending, reduce taxable profits  and generally get in the way of recovery. They sap confidence and can even result in lower revenues if they hit transactions and activity. The country can afford the one off hit of a bad year with a massive deficit which everyone understands was a one off related to health policy. It is now important  for confidence that there is a good prospect of early and sustained recovery to bring the deficit down  by the reverse of how it rose. It went up because activity suffered such a bad hit,  not because the tax rates were too low.


  1. Mark B
    February 8, 2021

    Good morning

    You cannot take away that that isn’t there.

    1. MiC
      February 8, 2021

      A one-off wealth tax wouldn’t hurt.

      I’m comfortable enough.

      I’d pay my share.

      Why ever wouldn’t people with hundreds of times my wealth?

      Seems to be a global problem.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        February 8, 2021

        I don’t like the way government(s) spend tax monies collected.
        That is why I would object. Plus I don’t have enough anyway. People in receipt of benefits seem to be able to claim more than I earn.

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        February 8, 2021

        How do you calculate wealth?

      3. No Longer Anonymous
        February 8, 2021

        Why wait, MiC ? You can pay more now. There’s a form for you to be able to do it.

      4. a-tracy
        February 9, 2021

        MiC – you can make a donation via the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt and the Donations and Bequests Account to reduce the national debt.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2021

      “Hinder” the recovery is rather understating it. Tax increases for the current, hugely over taxed position would be absurd. Expensive & intermittent energy is also absurd, tax complexity is absurd too (a huge additional burden on the productive sector), zero net Carbon is absurd as are the current levels of red tape and the restrictive employment laws. Then we have banks which are inflexible and totally uncompetitive. (40% personal overdraft rates for example regardless of credit risk thank to the FCA.) Then we have the counter productive lockdown and all the overhanging covid loan debts and deferred PAYE and VAT.

      The recovery should go well! Yet the Gov. will not even Cancel the green lunacy and the insane HS2 project. Must surely be corruption surely they are not really so daft? Corruption is surely therefore the only explanation.

    3. Hope
      February 8, 2021

      JR, speciously tries to hide the failings and utterly poor decisions of his Govt by claiming: “…..a massive deficit … a one off related to health policy!”

      Fake Tory govt has failed to deliver on its repeated promises to be elected and targets for ten years. That was not a one off health policy. Balanced structural deficit by 2015, 2017, 2020 then kicked into touch. That is not a one off nor was it claimed on one occasion. Last March budget was a big spend budget two weeks before catastrophic lock down. Three lockdowns! Not one. Lord Hammond will be laughing his sockes off that JR is spinnng utter false rubbish for him!

      According to Taxpayers Alliance taxation at 70 year high!

      JR tell the truth, be open and transparent. No one is fooled by your propaganda.

    4. adenw
      February 8, 2021

      Correct. But that doesn’t stop them trying.
      What we need is tax rebates. Massive rebates.

      Lets start with the NHS. We have been denied treatments. That’s a failure to deliver, its actually one of the things where a complaint would succeed. Failure to treat, failure to refer are the only two medical grounds that you can use. So lets have a refund.

      BBC, people have exercised their right of consent, and defunded them. Why pay for repeats.

      So the state owes us money, massive amounts, not the other way round.

      For example did you know they had run up £550,000 of pension debts they intend to force you to pay?

    5. NickC
      February 8, 2021

      Mark, The government thinks otherwise. Not only have we been impoverished by lockdowns which don’t work, the government is spending £trillions extra to implement less efficient and more costly heating and transport. King Boris is like King John . . . . he will take away what’s not there. We are in for a ghastly statist resurrection of the 1950s with less technical competence, more taxes, more exhortations, and more fuel poverty – a “re-peasanting” of the economy.

  2. oldwulf
    February 8, 2021

    Agreed but we do need an overhaul of the tax system (including business rates). No more mere tinkering around the edges.

    Lower tax rates on jobs (employer national insurance) and on jobs (VAT).

    Everyone should pay their “fair share” (whatever that means) including online retailers and also charities.

    HMRC probably needs more resources to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      February 8, 2021

      HMCTS certainly needs more people to address the probate delays. I’ve now been waitiing for 8 weeks.

      1. Ian Wragg
        February 8, 2021

        We’ve been trying to pay a CGT bill since se. It’s quite substantial but we can’t distribute the funds until It’s paid.
        HMRC is a farce.

      2. a-tracy
        February 8, 2021

        What is causing the delay on probate have you been told? I read that everyone working at home is more productive. “More than half of workers (58 per cent) have reported that they have been more productive while working from home, according to a new survey. The study – from internet provider Talk Talk – has also found that bosses agree that working remotely has had a positive impact on the working day, and on their employees.” 17 Sept 2020 Independent.

        “Working From Home Increases Productivity According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year” Businessnewsdaily

        and the BBC, the Economist all say the same, so if Probate staff are all working from home….

        1. Narrow Shoulders
          February 9, 2021

          @a-tracy you are so right to be sceptical about the “productivity” gains of working from home.

          When people complete their work day and get home earlier than if they had to commute they will feel more productive but that “feeling” has not measured output nor management time involved in organising direct reports.

          All my interactions with remote working support have been a shadow of what I would expect from a call centre (which really is strange as all a call centre is is a computer network which can easily be replicated remotely). This suggests to me that managing and following up remote workers’ issues is where productivity is falling down and hurting service.

          A hybrid operation, in three days – out two probably gives the organisation the output they need while pandering to the workers’ needs.

      3. NickC
        February 8, 2021

        Ahhh, Sea Warrior, that’s because of covid – the new all round excuse for poor service.

        1. Sea_Warrior
          February 9, 2021

          Indeed. British Gas postponed a service a couple of weeks ago, ‘because of COVID’. No mention by them that their engineers were on strike!

    2. oldwulf
      February 8, 2021

      Oops “and on spending (VAT)”

    3. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2021

      Fair share indeed. 20% of income is a fair share. The more you earn the more you pay. 20% of GDP is more than sufficient to fund sensible government, many countries show this and have no other taxes. No IHT, no CGT and no sales tax.

      It would of course be 20% of a far higher GDP too. We actually have taxes (up to) – Income tax 45%, NI 24% (boths), fuels duties 80%, stamp duty 15%, Inheritance tax 40%, landfill taxes, car taxes, congestion taxes, renewable energy taxes, carbon taxes, rates, council taxes, flight taxes, alcohol duty 80%, CGT 28% and no indexation so can be far higher, various licence taxes and fees, landlord taxes (often over 100%) and yet they want further tax rises even from here still . The highest taxes for 70 years is not enough for these tax, borrow and piss down the drain socialist.

      Tax rises (0n top of lockdown and the expensive energy lunacy) deter investment, deter spending, reduce taxable profits and generally damage recovery. They destroy confidence, export jobs, industries and people and lower revenues further.

    4. Wonky Moral Compass
      February 8, 2021

      What would you change to get charities to pay their fair share?

      1. Lifelogic
        February 8, 2021

        I would probable get rid of tax relief for “charities” often they are scams with very little real charity involved at all. If taxes were more like 20% of GDP as they should be the reliefs would not be needed.

      2. oldwulf
        February 8, 2021

        @Wonky Moral Compass
        I’m not advocating the wholesale removal of charitable status. However, some might say that now is not the time for diverting large amounts of tax away from our public services into the hands of the charities. Perhaps there should be a degree of selection, depending on the social value of the primary purpose of a charity ?

        For example, I am not entirely clear why certain entities even have charitable status. I am thinking particularly of universities and schools such as Eton 🙂

        As we all know, tax relief is available to individuals in respect of “gift aided” donations and a greater % tax relief is given to high earners than to basic rate taxpayers and to non-taxpayers. Is this fair ?

        I believe a significant tax cost is the business rates discount available to charities. However, the government may currently be looking at the whole business rates system ?

        A particular concern is where a charity uses its tax/business rates advantages and its access to free labour in order to compete against “normal” businesses both in terms of selling product and also having the capacity to pay a higher rent. Our “normal” high street businesses (which have to pay their taxes and their staff) need all the help they can get. There are lots of things which could be done although politically, some might be difficult.

      3. Narrow Shoulders
        February 9, 2021

        I would make them pay corporation tax on the sums they pay their executives.

  3. SM
    February 8, 2021

    Sir John – you are far better placed than the rest of us ordinary mortals to comprehend the mentality of The Treasury, so I pose the following question:

    Why is it that Government’s first reflex action to virtually any situation is “let’s raise existing taxes, let’s introduce new taxes, let’s make the whole ruddy system even more soul-destroyingly complex than it already is”?

    Briefly, I want the State to protect my country from outside threat, to offer justice and to police safety at home, and (having grown up in a Welfare State) yes, I want basic Health, Education and Pension/Social Security service, and I expect to contribute funds to pay for all that.

    And after doing all that, in as efficient a way as possible, I would like the State to credit us all with some common sense and leave us to get on with our lives. Instead, what has happened increasingly for decades is that we are all treated like children, and then the authorities are amazed when apparent adults start behaving like irresponsible teenagers.

    1. Alan Jutson
      February 8, 2021

      Good points well made.

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      February 8, 2021

      The Welfare state health, education and pensions, are the weakest delivery in the world. The NHS has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt, parents know how bad education is (etc ed), and we have the lowest pensions in the civilized world. State pensions destroy the saving for retirement culture and also the demand for honest money.

      Taxes need to be slashed! The State must live within its means which means the number of civil servants needs to be halved and the productivity of the half that remain must quadruple. There must be no place for the, to hide – they need to do a days work for a days pay.

      CGT needs to apply to short term city-gambolling-type gains, not long term assets which can’t then be sold. Stamp Duty should be reduced to a flat 1% – the diminished sales achieved by overly high stamp duty is proven by the receipts during this ‘holiday’ for low priced houses even during a lockdown. The Govt needs the revenue that a released housing market would bring. They need to stop trying to skew the housing market in favour of the new-build-corporations (no chain) and against the ‘second-hand-homes’ where there is a chain of sales.

      The green-crap, which attracts 2.7% of the vote must be kicked into touch.

      This will need at least 2 sentient people in government, so basically I’m whistling in the wind.

    3. turboterrier
      February 8, 2021

      S M

    4. Walt
      February 8, 2021

      Well said, SM

    5. bigneil(newercomp)
      February 8, 2021

      ” I want basic Health, Education and Pension/Social Security service, and I expect to contribute funds to pay for all that.” -Agreed but should we be expected to wave in literally thousands a year who have not contributed anything, have NO intention of doing so – and through needing translators for the rest of their lives ( WE have to pay for them ) cost us mutiple times the cost that would if they even bothered to learn the language? All their freebies stop US getting what we pay for. Plus we have to pay for their housing etc.

    6. Hope
      February 8, 2021

      The quango finance bodies think there is no choice but to increase tax. The thought this was said at the last select committee!

      Tories claim, No more austerity, no more tax. Oh well, back to that magic money tree I suppose. Johnson makes Corbyn look thrifty does he not?

      The only policy Fake Tory has to get elected is scare people. They did it in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019. No key policy promised to get elected ever delivered. None.

    7. adenw
      February 8, 2021

      Pension/Social Security service, and I expect to contribute funds to pay for all that.
      OK, your share of the pension debts is £550,000 rising at over 10% a year. [ONS numbers]

      The real question is can you afford to pay? If every tax payer can’t pay, then granny loses her pension

      1. SM
        February 9, 2021

        The State Pension scheme was formulated and developed (rather like the basic NHS concept) at a time when the relationship between the number of people in work (and therefore contributing taxes) far outnumbered the number requiring retirement income and/or medical treatment. Amongst other factors, medical advances have inverted the pyramid, and OF COURSE both the State Pension’s and NHS’s organisational and financial concepts should be rethought.

        Find me a group of politicians both intelligent AND popular enough to design and implement such changes though!

    8. Timaction
      February 8, 2021

      Good comment. The first thing the Government should do is review what they are doing now and make a list of the musts, should and coulds that they currently do or spend money on. In these austere times with huge debt get rid of the coulds. HS2 is the obvious one followed very quickly by further reduction to foreign aid and redefining to emergency aid only. Its not Governments place to develop the foreign world but aid as and when needed. Post EU it should be trade not aid! It’s failing us let alone the rest of the world. Illegal immigrants should also be deported fast and get rid of legal aid for them. If the left wing lawyers want to help them, they pay, not me! Review all the shoulds to ensure value for money. The Environment Agency springs to mind, as does the BBC tax in this age. The numbers and actual activity in all public services, Councils in particular, the Home Office and Foreign Office, particularly behind the scenes support. If they weren’t needed during lockdown but worked from home walking the dog, cutting the grass, watching the tv etc, like some of my neighbours. Are they really needed? The NHS and all its “backroom” activity, that outnumbers its frontline. Review and get rid. Particularly the useless management in NHS England who totally failed to plan for the pandemic. Why are we only blocking our airports after almost a year? Incompetence off the Richter scale! I think you know there is plenty of “low fruit” before more tax.

    9. Your comment is awaiting moderation
      February 8, 2021

      High taxes and benefits suppress economic activity.
      One wonders whether the govt really want a dynamic economy or whether they would prefer communism with all of the social controls that come with it?

      1. Iago
        February 8, 2021

        plus one world government, I suspect.

    10. DavidJ
      February 8, 2021

      Indeed SM but would Boris and Co ever listen?

  4. formula57
    February 8, 2021

    All good if we get a sustained recovery but now some scientists tell us Covid will feature for years so more lock-downs are in prospect as we panic in the face of the unexpectedly virulent new Ruritianian strain, due about July I would think, and so on, ad infinitum.

    1. Ian Wragg
      February 8, 2021

      Socialist experts with a not too hidden agenda.

  5. Ian Wragg
    February 8, 2021

    Under this quasi socialist government tax rises are the cure for everything.
    More green taxes to make us uncompetitive are really needed just now (not) but of course princess nut job has decreed.
    Sorting out the blockade in Northern Ireland would help to reduce the deficit.
    Controlling the Channel Taxis would reduce expenditure but neither will be done.
    2p on petrol will sort it.

    1. Hope
      February 8, 2021

      Reported in the press Home Office offering 1.3 million illegal immigrants, aka Channel taxi people, offered vaccine jab with immunity not to take action for illegally being here! Burn those barracks, free four star hotels, free pocket money and free legal advice only.

  6. Sea_Warrior
    February 8, 2021

    The single most important tax change Sunak needs to make is to sort out the business rates debacle, by reducing the amount paid by the high streeet and increasing the amount paid by the online merchants. This might be viewed as stifling innovation and progress, but it would be positive on a whole range of other measures, such as employment. It reflects badly on the government that action has been a long time coming.
    In his budget, Sunak needs to take a red-line through the vast sums of government waste. Tax rebates for pension contributions are an enormous drain on public finances. (And yes, I took full advantage of them.)
    Perhaps they should be severly curtailed for the next three years. Balancing the books is easier when you stop giving away borrowed money.

    1. a-tracya
      February 8, 2021

      SW – are you on a defined benefit pension?

      Tax rebates on pensions I thought were because you pay tax on your pension when you draw it, why would anyone pay into a pension if you curtailed it for three years?

      Any action taken on private pensions can’t be taken on public (defined benefit) pensions. Perhaps it is time that everyone is on the same pension saving scheme and not relying on future taxpayers, or hits on rate payers to top up council workers pensions to cover the extra taxes. Until we’re all in the same pension savings vessels I don’t see how Rishi can get away with this again.

      1. Sea_Warrior
        February 9, 2021

        Yes, my Armed Forces pension is ‘defined benefit’ – but I also have a SIPP to ‘money purchase’ another. In my last few years of service, I was getting 40% of tax relief on my SIPP contributions. It is that that needs to be ‘severely curtailed’ while we get on top of our fiscal emergency. I am still shy of civvy retirement age and will be drawing my SIPP down early, partly because I know that Sunak needs all the tax he can get!

        1. a-tracy
          February 9, 2021

          A £100,000 pension pot at 65 with spousal transfer will currently buy you a pension of around £3700 pa, so a £500,000 SIPP when that is all people can rely on now at 65 would get you £18,500 pa and that is a very large pension pot and you’re suggesting the government takes more out of those savings vessels. So the feckless get rewarded with pension credits but those squirrelling away, many in the latter part of their working careers because they couldn’t afford to save in the earlier years when they had children to raise is quite typical of people with safe ‘defined benefit’ pensions that don’t have to rely on the market.

    2. Richard II
      February 8, 2021

      Business rates/online merchants: Yes, absolutely, and this is doable right away.
      Government waste: In principle yes, but it’s been tried so often before that I don’t have much hope. It would take too long anyway. This economic and fiscal crisis created by lockdowns is urgent.

  7. DOM
    February 8, 2021

    ‘Smash the private, protect the State, destroy our freedoms’. Now, isn’t that a far more of an accurate catchphrase than the guilt and fear inducing tedium we are bombarded with every night by the shameless, unprincipled, ‘stand for nothing’ Tory government and their new Socialist friends in the NHS

    Hit the private with taxes we can ill afford because you can and know we can’t fight back

    Protect the unionised public sector and all State employees who now abuse their position in a time of strife and

    And our freedoms. Deliberately targeted for removal to prevent a backlash, destroy opposition and to ram home the lies and deceit being rammed down out throats 24-7

    Sunak will no doubt bore the world with his worthless, insincere praising of unionised, job for life, protected public sector workers while in the private sector millions suffer fear and uncertainty

    We need massive public sector reform. We need union reform. We need lower taxes not more taxes demanded by the Treasury leeches who feed like rats.

    We need common sense policies not policies driven by a Marxist agenda with social control and behaviourial manipulation at its heart. Don’t play us like were guinea pigs in an experiment

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      February 8, 2021

      Dom you are correct in what you are saying. The public sector hasn’t had to worry about how they are going to keep a roof over their head or feed the family. Those that I know think nothing of taking full advantage of sick pay and nice pensions together with what is often a laxidaisy approach to work knowing that getting fired is not on the cards. They have enjoyed full pay throughout the pandemic while others had to make do with 80%. Some, nothing at all. I am fed up with politicians telling us what we want to hear before getting elected and then doing nothing or the opposite. Immigration is one big thing and expecting the taxpayer to foot the health bill for foreign tourists. Stop all the unecessary surgery for cosmetic vanity too. Subsidies for green energy should also stop. I expect we will see the motorist heavily hit and those that enjoy a social drink will find it more expensive. That is if this lockdown ever ends. The last thing people need in tge private sector is to find their incomes shrinking to pau for governments vanity projects and climate change unless it’s to fund worthwhile actions to mitigate flood damage etc.

    2. David Magauran
      February 8, 2021

      We also need the government to end public sector final salary schemes and replace them with defined contribution schemes; just like the vast majority of the private sector.

    3. Everhopeful
      February 8, 2021

      And the ONLY reason they are getting away with this is because they have politicised the police.
      Might does NOT make it right.
      Turning attack dogs on those who pay your wages!!! ( And the dogs’ wages).

    4. a-tracy
      February 8, 2021

      Perhaps Dom this raid will be the straw to break the camels back.

    5. Timaction
      February 8, 2021

      Indeed. How about reducing the number of MP’s by about 250 to 400 max. A review of their pay, expenses, pensions and their contributions to come in line with the rest of the world for a part time unqualified position. SNP are a prime example in all they say and do. How about reducing the Lords from over 850 to about 300 and making them professional across areas of expertise to cover Government provision of services and not political appointees. How about getting rid of the devolved administrations unless England get’s one as well. How about getting rid of the regional and City waffle mayors. Cutting the number of Councillors and their allowances. Then start looking at the senior management of those Councils where their pay and allowances bare no resemblance to skills, ability or risks involved. Getting rid of all those jobs where diversity, climate, union is in the title. The waste and lists go on and on.

    6. John Hatfield
      February 8, 2021

      We need a small c conservative government.

  8. J Bush
    February 8, 2021

    If the government seriously wants to reduce the deficit it has caused, it should:
    – End furlough (especially the % difference between public and private sector workers) and let everyone get back to work
    – Get rid of SAGE and Hancock
    – Halt all its vanity projects, like HS2
    – Halt wind-power subsidy’s and u-turn on the zero carbon bunkum
    – A bonfire of Quangos (long overdue)
    – Overhaul of the H of L, only 200 peers max and those are selected via a national election, or better still return to the way before Blair trashed it, when the peers did it for free
    – Stop the expenses scandal caused by greedy politicians
    – Government contracts are ALL put out to tender, not given to their friends and party donors
    – Uphold the conflict of interest principle, which even parish councils are legally required to follow
    – Stop all illegal immigration
    – All literature for e.g.benefits, should be in English
    – immigrants cannot claim any sort of state benefit until they have paid into the system for 5 years
    – Outlaw medical tourism (if doctors insist on providing medical care to foreigners, they should fund it, not the taxpayer)
    – If the patient/claimant can’t speak English then the individual pays for a translator, not the taxpayer
    – Complete overhaul of the NHS, HMRC and the civil service. The latter run along the lines how the private sector operates – cost efficient, not jobs worth bureaucratic red tape overdrive
    – Stop behaving like an authoritarian nanny state and butt out of peoples lives

    I suspect there will be lots of other suggestions your readers can provide without the need to taxing the ‘little people’.

    1. Sharon
      February 8, 2021

      J Bush

      Well said!

      We can but hope.

    2. Dave Andrews
      February 8, 2021

      You list of savings are commendable, but rather small beer.
      In order to make decent savings, it’s necessary to tackle the big ticket items like benefits and pensions, health and education.
      I for one would rather not reduce education spending or healthcare for people whose medical needs have prevented them from earning a generous living. Benefits and pensions could be rationed according to how well the country is doing and the healthcare bill by putting the treatment of lifestyle diseases into the private sector, covered perhaps by insurance. Allow companies to implement private healthcare schemes with government support, rather than calling it a taxable benefit; that will save the NHS something, and please the cooperative arm of the Labour party.

    3. turboterrier
      February 8, 2021

      J Bush
      Well said. A lot of the things that you mention are already practiced and enforced in Spain where I lived for a number of years.
      Nothing taken out of the system till monies paid in.
      All government documents in Spanish
      Supply and pay for your own translator.
      No state treatment in hospital unless proof of working and paying taxes and NI.

    4. Ian Wragg
      February 8, 2021


    5. Mark J
      February 8, 2021

      Well said and I totally agree.

      However, as always there is ‘no will’ to deal with the above. Just take the ‘easy option’ and tax people more.

      It is little wonder that an increasing number are becoming fed up with both the Conservatives and Labour – as neither ever seem to do anything about anything. Just spend years talking and arguing about what they would do.

    6. Mike Stallard
      February 8, 2021

      And you expect any of this to happen? When there is an appeal for money for our local church, everyone piles in to blame everyone else. And everyone suggests who ought to pay. Very, very few actually provide any cash.
      Reform happens when a crisis strikes.
      Money is given in exchange for things.
      Rich people are rich because they look after their goods and chattels. Poor people are poor because they (we) don’t.
      Here endeth the lesson.

    7. Mike Durrans
      February 8, 2021

      I agree with all of that! we must start to look after ourselves FIRST.

    8. Qubus
      February 8, 2021

      Quite right. Not a very revolutionary change to the NHS, but why not pay GPS according to the number of patients they treat per annum, i.e. the number of consultations, rather than simply the number of patients they have registered with them.

      1. J Bush
        February 8, 2021

        Good point. Looking back on my dealings with GP’s, and I am being generous, on average I see then maybe once a year.

      2. turboterrier
        February 9, 2021

        Great idea . Payment by results.
        It has been around in industries and companies for years. Cannot be so bad as jobs are still be advertised today with those conditions..

    9. DavidJ
      February 8, 2021

      Great points J.

    10. glen cullen
      February 8, 2021

      Gets my vote

    11. Fedupsoutherner
      February 8, 2021

      J Bush. How about reform the Barnet formula?

  9. Shirley M
    February 8, 2021

    There are many ways to save money on non-essentials. Processing asylum seekers more quickly would save a lot of money, rather than paying for 4 star lodgings and all the other perks they receive. Even more disgusting and upsetting is that many UK citizens and families are homeless and living in one room bedsits while criminals (they are illegals after all) have the luxury of a 4* hotel. Even better, prevent illegal immigration wherever possible. I suspect very few are genuine asylum seekers, else they would use the proper channels instead of the English channel to gain entry.

    1. J Bush
      February 8, 2021


      Also emove the right of ‘asylum seekers’ to claim UK taxpayer funded legal aid. If their claim fails, deport them. Make them pay for their own legal costs, this would go a good way of reducing the number of dodgy applicants.

      If the government baulk at this, use the foreign aid fund, but set with a modest budget total.

      Cease just giving away our money to other countries. Only offer practical help, supplied by British only workers.

    2. Andy
      February 8, 2021

      Cost of asylum seekers = negligible.

      Cost of pensioners = huge.

      If you care about money you are aiming your wrath at the wrong group.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        February 8, 2021

        Cost of asylum seekers = a cost we do not need to bear.

        Cost of pensions = a contract

        1. J Bush
          February 8, 2021

          Well said.

          Not only was the cost of pensions a contract, but it was also one which the recipient paid into. When I eventually retired I had put in over 47 years of contributions. Despite my contributions exceeding the requirement by 17 years I get no extra payment.

          If an ‘asylum seeker’ pays little or nothing into the system how can the cost be “negligible”?

      2. a-tracy
        February 9, 2021

        Andy do you actually know what asylum seekers cost in total, including housing, schooling, policing, administration, legal fees, translation services, transportation, healthcare the whole kit and caboodle. Where do you get the figures from to decide whether it is negligible or not?

  10. Roy Grainger
    February 8, 2021

    Windfall taxes on those who have profited from lockdown would seem perfectly fine – Amazon for example. Why not ? Some financial institutions too. Also, I think you’re being very hopeful by calling it “a bad year” – restrictions will last much longer, the scientists are already lining up to demand restrictions in summer, next winter, and one of them is calling for big sopting events to be banned “for several years”.

    1. Sea_Warrior
      February 8, 2021

      Those companies doing well in the crisis – usually because they have provided for our needs – can be expected to have increased their profits and, as a result, pay more corporation tax. That’s a windfall for the Chancellor. I feel that he needs to introduce specific windfall provisions.

    2. Philip P.
      February 8, 2021

      They aren’t scientists, Roy. They’re mainly social psychologists, computer modellers and public health management bureaucrats. But I’m sure you’re right that as long as they’re allowed to call the shots, restrictions will go on for the foreseeable future. As will Big Tech’s profits from lockdown. (That’s just a coincidence, of course.)

    3. Christine
      February 8, 2021

      Amazon doesn’t even pay normal taxes never mind a windfall tax. We need legislation that forces a company to pay taxes in the country where their goods are sold, not in the Irish Republic and Luxemburg. This would bring in a huge amount of money.

  11. DOM
    February 8, 2021

    Restrictions on large gatherings likely for ‘the next few years’ — Mail

    Social control in all but name. We thought dictatorship in the UK was impossible. Well, it’s arrived and delivered to you by the party and the opposition you voted for. Well done, the British people have elected the devil

    1. Everhopeful
      February 8, 2021


    2. No Longer Anonymous
      February 8, 2021

      The destruction of sport and the music industry.

    3. Qubus
      February 8, 2021

      Why are we breaking our necks to go green when Germany, for example, is opening a further 28 coal-powered power-stations and also planning to increase their gas usage by importing from Russia with a second pipeline; and thereby giving seccour to Putin?

    4. John Hatfield
      February 8, 2021

      Perhaps Dom if we hadn’t elected the devil, we would still be in the EU.

  12. Sakara Gold
    February 8, 2021

    I’m all for low taxes. Spending a goodly portion of the £50b Brexit savings we have been promised on tax cuts for the front-line nurses and the privatised hospital cleaning auxilliaries would be an excellent use of resources.

    1. Roy Grainger
      February 8, 2021

      Why would that be an excellent use of resources ? Tax cuts for specific jobs is a divisive idea. Why are you penalising supermarket check-out staff ? Why don’t they get a tax cut ? Why are only public sector workers getting a tax cut which private sector workers have to pay for ?

      1. Sakara Gold
        February 8, 2021

        Because thousands of them caught the virus doing their jobs and hundreds of them paid the ultimate price. The nation should reward them for their bravery and devotion to duty

        1. J Bush
          February 8, 2021

          Funny how the supermarket workers, who are also essential frontline workers, are not considered worthy of your consideration, only the public sector ones…

        2. Fedupsoutherner
          February 8, 2021

          Salary do they do this for our armed services? I don’t think so.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            February 8, 2021

            That should be to Sakara

    2. NickC
      February 8, 2021

      Sakara, Where was it promised that there would be £50bn savings from Brexit? You’re just making it up, as other Remains do.

  13. Ian Kaye
    February 8, 2021

    The Bank of England has been very foolish in issuing some 450 billion pounds of index linked gilts, if inflation takes off servicing this debt could be a problem. I have no other worries because the interest bill on the national debt is likely to stay well below 50 billion pounds per annum, I e the current level. Raising taxes would be entirely the wrong policy

    1. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2021

      The first thing Sunak did even before Covid did was to cull entrepreneurs tax relief by 90%. He then used the money to pay people 50% of their bills to eat out, continue with the appalling HS2 disaster and the renewable energy isanity. He clearly is a tax, borrow and piss down the drain socialist from heat to toe.

      Leaked policy documents show they now want to give even more power to the health secretary over the state monopoly NHS. Wrong again, more (indeed some would be welcome) power to customers of the NHS please and some real and fair competition, innovation and real alternatives. It is a dire state monopoly rationing service that kill competition and has failed appallingly during this Covid period. It was failing dreadfully even before this. It kills thousands and fails millions every year.

    2. Mike Stallard
      February 8, 2021

      Inflation is a very effective way of dealing with debt though. As the Germans discovered just 100 years ago. As Zimbabwe and several other Afican countries discovered more recently.

    3. Roy Grainger
      February 8, 2021

      Yes. A bad idea. Means they have less scope to inflate away their massive debt in time-honoured manner.

  14. Everhopeful
    February 8, 2021

    If the tories had done as they should…kept immigration right down, sorted out the COVID Health System and kept Drs surgeries open etc THEN NONE OF THIS NEEDED TO HAVE HAPPENED. ( Unless the govt. was just “following orders” (Like they said at Nuremberg I think!).
    Of course the powers-that-have-no-right-to-be will not let this carefully-crafted opportunity to further impoverish us slip by. Window tax? Shoe tax? Tooth in yer head tax?
    It always amazes me that the tories spent so much effort convincing people that they were not “ The Nasty Party”…Oh….probably to fool people rather than reassure them?
    Turns out they just wanted to incarcerate us all…how nice!

  15. jerry
    February 8, 2021

    I wish I was so confident, if there is any reduction in spending it is likely to fall far slower, after all it is quite possible such has been the change to British Social norms, when furlough and SEISS ends (especially if done abruptly) there’s likely to be another wave of UC claims from certain economic sectors. As for the NHS, post crisis testing and vaccinations will be an ongoing year-round effort, I foresee the retention and an increase in purpose Covid test/vaccination centres, staffed separately from hospitals and GPs.- not forgetting the public are now all to well aware of the historical underfunding, and under-staffing, of the NHS and will expect the govt to make up and make good.

    The govt needs to re-schedule the debt built up during the Covid crisis on a more long term repayment path, just as govts have always done in the past. I agree that knee jerk tax rises will do more damage than good, but so would knee jerk tax cuts too, if we are to recover from Covid and build upon Brexit there needs to be a system of tax rebates/penalties when certain conditions have been met, such as for investing in UK head-quartered companies and start-ups for example.

  16. Everhopeful
    February 8, 2021

    Boris Johnson May 25th 2006
    “Restrictions on Free Speech”.

    “Britain has something far more precious and more important to give the world than the £4.6 billion of overseas aid, and that is the idea of freedom. It is not shortages that cause famine, but tyranny. No tyrant can survive for too long in the face of a free press and a free civil society. The sad thing is that we are losing our moral authority to export our greatest asset.”

  17. Mike Wilson
    February 8, 2021

    I hate to harp on but you only have to look at the Taxpayers Alliance web site to find thousands of examples of government waste.

    How about Mayors’ cars? Do we really need to provide fancy cars for a silly, self-important person with a big chain around their neck to attend local events. It is this sort of constant piss-taking waste of money that makes my blood boil. And the £350 a day allowance for signing in at the House of Pomposity.

    Bot NOTHING is ever done and meanwhile politicians bleat on about the deficit and tax rises.

    The Tories have proved that austerity does not work. What does work is a busy economy and not wasting money. A busy economy comes from making more of the stuff we need here. So, now we are out of the bloody EU, start encouraging manufacturing here. First order of business is to get the mine up North working flat out to provide cheap energy for our steel plant. Second order of business is more steel production here. Who cares if it is ‘uncompetitive’! Make it here and use it here. And don’t buy it from countries who pay workers a dollar a day.

  18. Andy
    February 8, 2021

    There’s an interesting report on the BBC website about a fish wholesaler who now has to complete 72 pages of paperwork to export to the EU – his main market. It used to be 1 or 2 pages.

    Can somebody please remind Michael Gove that he promised to cut red tape and ask him to explain why he actually created masses more of it. The company involved may have to take on two extra people just to complete the bureaucracy, but this would entirely eliminate their profit.

    They probably voted leave. Please tell us what they should do.

    1. Richard1
      February 8, 2021

      In that case It is the EU not Michael Gove who demands 72 pages of forms. Is this story meant to be an argument for EU membership?!

  19. None of the Above
    February 8, 2021

    Wholeheartedly agree with this post, Sir John.
    A period of stability in terms of taxation would be helpful.
    May I suggest the odd tweak here and there as business and employment needs to be encouraged?

    1. A minor reduction in corporation tax and or business rates.
    2. A modest reduction in Employers NI contribution.

    Both of these may be a little expensive in the short term, (a drop in the ocean compared to the current expenditure), but should pay dividends in the medium term.

  20. ian@Barkham
    February 8, 2021

    Good morning Sir John
    ‘Tax rises would hinder recovery’ Agreed.
    Only the ‘left’ believe tax and raising it is the way forward. They are just stumped were tax itself comes from.

    Any one that pays tax would highlight the way it is imposed, applied and administered is unnecessarily cumbersome. Its all tweaks and special perks to make up for the unfairness and irregularities.

    We need to start seeing tax as the way we ‘all’ contribute to the health and wellbeing of the country. There is the rub WOK-ish Government wants to be seeing as rewarding some and incentivizing others, when in reality that means punishing those that cant find the right avoidance system. In a nutshell the UK tax system is broken and not fit for purpose in a modern cross border trading world.

  21. Richard1
    February 8, 2021

    Certainly it would be very foolish to strangle recovery and wreck confidence immediately post-Brexit with tax rises. Especially the tax rises under discussion – corporation and capital gains tax. If you want less of something you tax it, which is why we tax cigarettes and discuss taxing carbon emissions. We do not want less investment, innovation and entrepreneurship, we want more, so we should tax them less not more.

    Even the Labour Party has called for no tax rises.

    Conservative MPs also need to make sure Kwasi Kwarteng does not bring forward this absurd proposal to introduce criminal liability for errors in company statements. It would be catastrophic for business confidence and lead companies, investors and entrepreneurs actively to scour all possible alternatives to the U.K.

  22. ChrisS
    February 8, 2021

    There are two sides to this problem :

    1. The current account deficit

    2. The additional debt that has and will be incurred over the worst of the 18 month period of the pandemic.

    The current account deficit should go back to its average amount relatively quickly, so does not represent an immediate problem however it is interesting that, if it were not for Wales, NI and Scotland, England alone would have almost no deficit at all : Our deficit was running at only £74 per person in 2019, that is, less than one-third of the Foreign Aid budget.

    The overall deficit for the three provinces is £34.6bn a year compared with just £4.9bn for England which has 85% of the population and whose taxpayers subsidies everyone else.

    Real effort needs to be made to redress this imbalance and I do not mean more public sector jobs in the three provinces, there are far too many of those already. A united Ireland would be one solution everybody could benefit from as the NI deficit alone is £5,000 per head or £10bn a year. Perhaps Sleepy Joe could put his hand in his pocket and help Eire to take on Northern Island ?

    The additional debt does need to be reduced but with interest rates at a historic low, does this really need to be addressed quickly ? It could be allowed to run on for a decade or more by which time growth and inflation will have reduced it naturally.

  23. turboterrier
    February 8, 2021

    Totally hissed off with the media reporting on yet again unnamed sources to provide them with a story.
    Whether or not it is true it starts the chain effect of drip feeding misleading information that as was said years ago “if you tell a lie often enough for long enough the people will believe it”
    Shades of climate change and all the other bad (for us) policies that the ministers keep pulling out of their hats.
    First, second and third things they should be addressing is waste,waste,waste. All the broken promises of what they were going to end nothing but words and gestures

  24. Michael Keating
    February 8, 2021

    Is he winding us up for a laugh or has Kwasi Kwarteng gone completely mad? His plan (as reported in the press) to increase the liability of company directors is bonkers. He should scrap it without delay. His focus should be on ways to boost business and entrepreneurial activity not dampen it.


  25. majorfrustration
    February 8, 2021

    More taxes – Governments always take the easy answer

  26. Bryan Harris
    February 8, 2021

    Raising taxes would be a disaster for the average person. It would demonstrate the true intent of the government in relation to CV.

    The government literally threw money at the problem with no questions, no evaluations – God knows how much was wasted on frivolous or useless exercises. In this alone the government failed to use our money wisely.

    Recently, a leaked memo from Whitehall claimed that the government was considering economy-wide carbon taxes. Amongst the most troubling of these interventions were demands from academics and campaigners that the price of domestic gas, meat and cheese must be increased to change our behaviours.

    With all kinds of threats coming from the climate change religion, and those that want lock-downs to become permanent, it is totally clear that we are entering a new age, one in which we will be made to comply with the globalist’s establishment agenda.

  27. Bob Dixon
    February 8, 2021

    Can we replace VAT with a sales tax? Can this include the likes of Amazon and other off shore businesses?

  28. William Long
    February 8, 2021

    It seems as if the ‘Unnamed people’ in the Treasury are making a concerted effort to make Mr Suanak toe their line. I found one of the more interesting article in the Sunday papers I read was a report in the Sunday Telegraph that the Shadow Chancellor, Anelise Dodds, is urging the Chancellor not to impose large tax rises. I have often wondered if an initiative to become the ‘Low tax party’ might one day be Labour’s secret weapon. After all, they would not have to be very low tax,to be better than what we have now.

  29. Mike Stallard
    February 8, 2021

    What are we Brits good at? Well, we provide good, courageous, skilled management all over the world. Men and women who can be trusted with money and who can take controlled risks and turn up on time. We make things work. And we have a decent family system too which brings children up in love.
    We are living on top of a coal mine and a gas pipe. We are living surrounded by fish in a grass green country that produces a lot of meat and veg and bread to strengthen man’s heart. We provide whisky, whiskey and superb beers too. And we have a sober and sensible religion (when we get back to it again.)
    Let us rip! Push the lefties out of the way when they just say no just for the sake of it. Shut them up when they drone on about the vulnerable when they themselves are nicely off thank you very much. Laugh at them when they fly in on a private Leah to lecture us about climate change.
    Release the British lion!

    1. hefner
      February 8, 2021


  30. Mark J
    February 8, 2021

    When people vote Conservative they expect a Government that is careful with the UK’s finances. Not one that carries on like a socialist 70’s labour Government – higher tax and wasteful spending.

    As always the ‘easy answer’ is to raise taxes, not do anything to deal with the massive amounts wasted by Government and its various departments – as that would be too much ‘hard work’ for Politicians and the civil service.

    Did I consent to the Government splurging millions (of OUR money) in ‘finders fees’ (largely to their friends) for PPE equipment? A job that should have been done by the relevant Government Department. After all isn’t that part of the responsibilities we pay them to do?

    Did I consent to a ‘free for all’ Furlough scheme, that has resulted in £billions being lost to fraud? Including businesses and people claiming it who should not of been. Yes, Furlough is needed, however seemingly no checks being made whatsoever towards eligibility. Just hand it out and deal with problems later – except the money has been spent by that time.

    Did I consent to a ‘Eat out to Help Out’ scheme that has done very little to keep the industry it was designed to help, afloat.

    The answers to the above are NO. However, I am forced to contribute towards the costs of these hairbrained schemes, that have cost a fortune, not been properly regulated and have been open to abuse, through increased taxation going forward.

    Top top it off, we find out today that estimates of 1.2 million people are now in the UK illegally. How on earth have successive Governments been so inept at dealing with this issue early on, as so to avoid having a problem, as we do now? The Government clearly has an issue in saying No/Not allowed/Not entitled to certain people.

    It is becoming somewhat clear (in my opinion) that Westminster has a fair number of individuals who do not have a clue, fail to act on, and deal with important issues (either through unwillingness, or through fear of being criticised), dither and delay.

    People want real change, not more of the same old, same old, that will still be talked about as being a ‘problem’ in 20/30+ years time. For example, how many years has the NHS been deemed as being in a crisis? Since the 80’s at least. None of the Governments since then have done anything to sort it properly.

    However, there are days in which I wish we could return to the 80’s – as the Government (and opposition) was far more competent then, that what it is now.

  31. glen cullen
    February 8, 2021

    If this government was serious about recovery they’d cancel corporation tax, VAT, employer NI, insurance tax, transportation tax, environmental tax and business rates on SMEs for a period of 12 months…..that’s if they actually want SMEs to survive and keep employing people

  32. Al
    February 8, 2021

    A windfall tax on Amazon and online businesses that have profited at the expense of closed local shops would be productive.

    If you’re going to raise general taxes, first cut government waste. A reduction in the number of civil servants and contractors working for the civil service administration would be a good start – retraining them as nurses would solve another problem – but dealing with the unions will be a lot harder than trying to take money that most people simply do not have.

  33. Christine
    February 8, 2021

    We need to cut waste and take advantage of all the new trade deals Liz Truss has signed.

    I still don’t understand this so-called level playing field whereby we still import fish, meat products and cheese from EU countries but they ban ours. Hopefully, shoppers will see the injustice in this and buy British produce. It’s great to see Morrison’s supermarket awash with British meat and their extensive fish counter. It was heart-breaking to read about one Cornish cheesemaker who had lost its EU and Northern Ireland market and was going to have to throw away its stock. Luckily the power of Twitter saved them with hundreds of on-line orders for their cheese. Are our Government departments helping these companies find new markets? We know Asia loves their fish and there was a huge boom in crab meat exports to China until the row over Hong Kong. There must be other countries that would love our cheese which I consider some of the best in the world.

    Taxing our way out of the recession is not a viable solution. Boosting our exports is. Boris needs to stop being so weak with the EU and impose the same restrictions they have.

  34. Simmons
    February 8, 2021

    In the seventies when we were deeply in deficit, all the tax increases drive the wealthy from our shores, putting more pressure on the working class who became increasingly impoverished!
    And then the change of government brought in a breath of fresh air, and taxes were lowered, enticing the wealthy back to our shores, and within the year we were back in profit!!!!!!

  35. Julian Flood
    February 8, 2021

    Tax the wind farms.


  36. Narrow Shoulders
    February 8, 2021

    “The most expensive purchase you ever make in your life is not your home, as many people think, but your government. For a typical middle class professional over the course of his or her life, the bill totals £3.6 million – considerably more than a house. You will spend a full 20 years of your life or more in obligatory service to the state. On a time basis, the state owns as much of your labour as the feudal lord did of the medieval serf, who gave half his working week to farm the land of his lord in exchange for his protection.”

    Dominic Frisby, excerpt from Daylight Robbery – How Tax Shaped our past and will change our future.

    We need no more taxes.

  37. hat man
    February 8, 2021

    ‘Vaccination and the decline of the virus’ will not end restrictions on people and our livelihoods. It will be a political decision, as it was when those restrictions were imposed. It will be taken when the government sees finally that otherwise the country is hitting the wall.

    1. glen cullen
      February 8, 2021

      Its alway been a political decision just as the virus is just another type of flu

  38. BW
    February 8, 2021

    Sir John. I do hope you get this message across to Wokingham borough council. I have no doubt whatsoever that they intend to increase council tax based on your property and not your income. There will be an announcement in a few weeks. Have a word with the Council leader on your thought of less taxation.

    1. glen cullen
      February 8, 2021

      Good point – Council tax will go up in every area of UK even though their service has been reduced during the past 12mths

  39. acorn
    February 8, 2021

    Remember, the government sector’s so called debt, is the non-government sector’s savings; to the penny! If you want to decrease the government’s, mistakenly called debt, stop hoarding it and spend it! The more you spend the more Transaction Taxes it will encounter, whence the government will take some of its own money back. The faster the government’s money circulates in the economy, the quicker it gets it back, by taxing it a bit at a time, and reduces the amount of its fiat currency (it simply created in a spreadsheet) that is hanging around outside of the fiat currency issuing Treasury National Loans Fund (where the magic money tree lives 😉 ).

    Worth having a read of the US FED blog
    The BoE does not publish M0 (M zero) anymore, nor does it publish the Velocity of Circulation of M0, the Monetary Base. The latter consisting of Pound Notes and Coins in circulation plus the government’s spending, called “reserves” by the BoE. M0 has ballooned since last March for obvious reasons; but, don’t worry about it. The Treasury is never going to run out of Pounds Stirling to keep the economy afloat; and, it can wait till the end of time to get its money back; ask the Bank of Japan. There is no requirement to increase taxes to reduce government debt. Taxes don’t fund government spending, nor do Government Bond sales. But that is another story.

  40. Jackie
    February 8, 2021

    At this time taxes have nothing to do with recovery because we are well and truly screwed- caught between the vortex of brexit and the covid- like after WW2 it will take us decades

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