My contribution to the Finance (No. 2) Bill debate, 13 April 2021

I strongly support those MPs from Northern Ireland who are urging the Government to move on and make sure that we can restore the important trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It has been damaged. The EU is being too intrusive. The Northern Ireland protocol clearly sets out that the United Kingdom is a whole and has its own internal market.

It states that Northern Ireland should be fully part of that market, and that is not true today, so I urge the Government to take control over all trade that is internal—trade from GB to Northern Ireland and not going on to the Republic of Ireland, therefore not of concern to the European Union—and to ensure that it runs smoothly.

That is just one part of a much bigger picture that we need to fuel a strong recovery.

Of course I agree with the Government that the current level of deficit is unacceptably high and we cannot go on with deficits on that scale indefinitely. I also agree with the Government that it must be a one-off, and the Government did need to be very generous, given all the damage being done to individual livelihoods and businesses by the health measures being taken to combat the pandemic. But all the time that restrictions and adverse measures are in place for health reasons, the Government should continue to be generous. People and business need support.

We want people to be available to go to work and businesses to be available to produce goods and services as soon as they are legally allowed to do so.
It is a big cost, but it is manageable. We are seeing around the world that many Governments are having to do the same thing, interest rates have stayed very low and, so far, the debt has remained affordable.

I encourage the Government to understand that the deficit will collapse very rapidly as soon as the controls are off and all those policies in place to promote a fast economic recovery take effect. We are going to have a much faster recovery than normal once the controls are off, because we had a much bigger fall thanks to the controls themselves, which, in an unprecedented way, stopped people working and stopped businesses trading. The Government should take some encouragement from the United States’ example.

The United States’ monetary stimulus and fiscal stimulus are huge. If we adjust for the size of the economies, the stimulus under the Federal Reserve Board’s actions and President Trump and now President Biden is about twice the scale of the UK stimulus in monetary terms and is considerably higher in fiscal terms. Perhaps the US is taking more risks with inflation than we would like. I am not suggesting that we need to match the American numbers, but I am saying to the Government that we are nowhere near the American numbers, so worry not. This is the time for stimulus—this is the time to make sure that the economy is properly supported and people can get back to work.

With that in mind, I urge the Government to look again at the idea that we need tax rises in the years ahead. If we threaten too many tax rises, it will damage confidence. We will put people off investing here and make people nervous about spending and make them want to save more. This is the time when we need people to spend, to recreate those jobs and get businesses going again. This is the time when we really need businesses to want to come to the United Kingdom or to stay and grow in the United Kingdom, because we need that massive investment. We are short of capacity in all sorts of areas. We have had too much deindustrialisation over the last few decades, and now is a great opportunity to promote it. The Government recognise that with their short-term measures to boost investment, but they may need to show that we are going to have a very benign climate on business tax after the initial impetus and stimulus is offered. If people think that we are going to gravitate to the average or to a higher tax regime, it will put them off.

I pray in aid our neighbour the Republic of Ireland, which has been extraordinarily successful by having an extremely low corporation tax rate. It is 12.5%—a knockout low rate—and what has happened? First, the Republic of Ireland collects far more as a proportion of its total tax revenues from business than us or other European Union countries, because so many great companies have gone there and book a lot of profit there, since the rate is obviously agreeable and favourable.

The Republic of Ireland also has a much higher GDP per head. It is more than twice the EU average, and it is considerably higher than the United Kingdom’s. That is entirely because the Republic of Ireland has this extremely attractive tax policy, which has been so successful in attracting a lot of inward investment, a lot of jobs based on that, and a lot of turnover and profit booking, particularly from great American corporations.

I do not know how that will work out now that President Biden is encouraging a minimum rate, which would mean almost doubling the Irish rate; we will have to see. However, in the meantime, if anyone doubts the power of lower rates to generate prosperity, greater GDP per head and, above all, greater tax revenue, they should look at the Irish example, which is very vivid.

I would like to see the Government speed up with their freeports and be very generous with both the number of freeports and the areas they cover. I also urge the Government to be as friendly as possible to business on taxation and on permits over what to do with the land and how to create all those extra jobs we wish to see. It is an interesting initiative, and the sooner it is rolled out the better. Surely, this is the time we need it—when we need to promote recovery.

I also say to the Government that we need our small business community to get back on its feet and to be able to trade again successfully. Small businesses have had a lot hurled at them, and some of them did not manage to benefit from all the schemes that the Government put forward, so they have been particularly hard hit by up to a year of lockdown or impediments to their trading and their normal work.

I do not think this is the time to be looking at new taxes on small businesses and the self-employed. I do not think the IR35 idea is a particularly good one. It would be good if there were more forthcoming to promote small businesses, which we are going to need. They will have flexibility and the ability to respond. If every self-employed person were able to take on an extra employee, it would transform the employment position, but that requires patient work on ensuring that it is affordable and that the administrative burden is not too great, obviously without undermining important protections for individuals as employees, which we rightly value.

We need flexibility and support from the Treasury and the rest of the Government to understand how important small businesses and the self-employed will be to trigger this revival and to build back in a different way—to build back better, as they are saying on both sides of the Atlantic and as this Government are saying. That implies doing different things, and it requires the innovation and the productivity-driving measures that can come from small companies and the self-employed, who need to be flexible.

There is a huge amount to be done, but the Government should be of good cheer. There can be a very rapid recovery. They have not done too much on the deficit or the monetary stimulus and have fallen quite a long way behind America in the size of the stimulus.

They should be ready to do more, be generous if the controls have to go on longer than we would like, and work with the small business community and the big business community on what is a sensible tax regime. There are issues still to be solved on business rates and VAT. The whole purpose of the reviews should be to promote a strong recovery—better jobs, more better-paid jobs, more small business—and then the revenue will flow. Think of the jobs, the incomes and the prosperity, and the revenue follows. Thinking too much about the revenue first, in the mood of putting everybody’s taxes up, will be a great dampener on the recovery we need.


  1. Grey Friar
    April 14, 2021

    The whole point of the Protocol is that because all have agreed there will be no border between Ireland and N.I. there is no way to know what trade is only going from GB to Northern Ireland and not going on to Ireland. So there has to be a border between GB and N.I. That is what the Protocol says! That is Boris’s oven ready deal! You voted for it! Will you ever accept responsibility for it?

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 14, 2021

      Firstly there is a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, you can see it in the picture here:

      Oh no, sorry, that’s not the border with the Republic, it’s the new border at Belfast, which looks a bit of a hard border but cannot really be hard because the protocol avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland and Belfast is definitely on the island of Ireland …

      Here’s a picture of the land border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic:

      and it is not hard but would become so if the installations at Belfast were transferred there.

      Secondly it would be perfectly feasible to gather sufficient information about what goods crossed the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in both directions without having stern faced customs officers stopping the traffic as in the propaganda image here:

      As an Irish journalist wrote recently:–2282070/

      “After decades of yielding to violence from all quarters, involving horrendous compromises for an imperfect peace, it should be inconceivable to risk restarting the Troubles over inspecting packets of ham at Larne.

      We are not even inspecting ham for ourselves but for the EU, which claims without reason or evidence that its single market would otherwise be swamped via circuitous smuggling of food through Britain and Northern Ireland.

      Could Jonathan Swift have dreamed up a more absurd reason for conflict? Inspecting the big or little end of eggs, perhaps?”

      1. Alan Jutson
        April 14, 2021

        Agree a complete and utter farce at the moment.

        If we are not bothered what comes from the Irish Republic (no hard inspections) then why are we bothered what goes there, let the EU handle, monitor, manage and police that in their own Irish territory.

        Simples !

        1. Bitterend
          April 14, 2021

          Yes but exports also go the other way and also through Dover To Calais we are obliged to work with the treaties we have signed up to including the NI protocol- we cannot just go round giving rude hand signals to all and sundry and think the world is going to absolve- so time to grow up- why are we bothered you say- well we are bothered because we have no choice now- we are bunched

          1. Alan Jutson
            April 15, 2021

            Yes but we do not have a border at Sevenoaks for all goods going to Kent, which may then by chance go or not go onto France, it’s at Dover and Calais which happens to be the border of both Countries, when it is then known where the eventual intended destination is to be.

      2. Bryan Harris
        April 15, 2021

        Excellent links – but JR why are these allowed when you always delete my comments that contain links?

    2. MiC
      April 14, 2021

      Read an interesting comment, that significant “loyalist” gangs are up in arms largely because the new checks are disrupting their hitherto lucrative drugs imports trade.

      The political claims are simply things behind which to hide their real intent – the reinstatement of that money supply.

      It is they who are are urging – or worse – the young to riot.

      It seems highly plausible.

      1. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        I did a google search, MIC, re your statement ‘that significant “loyalist” gangs are up in arms largely because the new checks are disrupting their hitherto lucrative drugs imports trade’
        Google says ‘It looks like there aren’t many great matches for your search’

        1. Denis Cooper
          April 16, 2021


    3. Mark B
      April 15, 2021

      The thing I want to know is, if UK goods cannot flow between the mainland and Ulster, how does the Eire manage to sell their goods here, in the EU (they have to use our ports and roads) and the rest of the world ?

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 15, 2021

        Goods can and do flow from the mainland to Ulster, but only if they pass the EU’s checks and controls at the points of entry. Here is a 3 minute BBC video with reporter Emma Vardy hitching a lift on a truck:

        “What it’s like driving across the new Irish trade border”

        “One of the most contentious aspects of the deal was the introduction of new checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Figures obtained by the BBC show that exporting goods over the Irish Sea now costs an extra £50 to £350 per pallet. It can also add an extra four hours turnaround time per lorry.”

      2. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        MarkB, well Eire has no restrictions from the UK government until next January 2022 now, and they are still in the EU? The British public can support our own producers better now their markets have been restricted, no more Lurpak who sell 3 to 1 butter packs in the UK, no more Irish 🇮🇪 meat needs be on our tables to protect British farmers and their supply chain, check the most popular brands of cheese some Cathedral City soft cheese is French but the Hard cheese is made in Cornwall. We need to turn the tables if Boris and his negotiators are too feeble to protect us and Barnier and the EU has put up blocks.

  2. formula57
    April 14, 2021

    A sound contribution and a great pity it needed to be said at all for surely the thinking and thence actions of Government ministers ought to have reflected your words long since.

    Where is our own Ludwig Erhard when the need is so urgent and crucial?

    1. MiC
      April 14, 2021

      The obvious comment is that Eire has been fully able to introduce its tax regime whilst a full, positive member of the European Union.

      That is, if the UK had ever wanted to do the same, then its own membership was NEVER what prevented it, so it was never necessary to impose the disaster of brexit to achieve it – just like the case of the blue, Polish-made passports too.

      Rather, it looks like it is the US, which will influence these things to a far greater extent.

      1. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        Yes Eire also doesn’t have to put up 2% of their GDP towards NATO but Northern Ireland does.

  3. Len Peel
    April 14, 2021

    Yet another of your lists of unrealistic and undeliverable aims. Brexit goes from bad to worse but you will always find a way to blame someone else – here government Ministers – for not producing your fairytale Brexit

    1. DavidJ
      April 14, 2021


    2. graham1946
      April 14, 2021

      But still it gets more popular, the more the EU muck us about.

  4. glen cullen
    April 14, 2021

    Good speech but in particular you last paragraph ‘’ Thinking too much about the revenue first’’

  5. SM
    April 14, 2021

    The last time I recall The Treasury acting rationally was during the 80s.

  6. Denis Cooper
    April 14, 2021

    “The EU is being too intrusive”

    The EU thinks not, the EU thinks this is what the UK government and Parliament has agreed to.

    “Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland”

    “Main elements of the Protocol”

    “Alignment with EU rules: as of the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland is subject to a limited set of EU rules related to the Single Market for goods and the Customs Union. The Union’s Customs Code, for example, applies to all goods entering or exiting Northern Ireland.”

    (Note that it applies to “all” goods entering or exiting.)

    “Necessary checks and controls must take place at Points of Entry on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom or any other third country. This also means that the UK, acting in respect of Northern Ireland for the implementation of the Protocol, must ensure that, amongst other things, the relevant sanitary and phyto-sanitary (“SPS”) controls are carried out.”

    (Note the word “must”: “necessary checks and controls must take place”, “the UK … must ensure …”)

    “EU customs duties apply to goods entering Northern Ireland from any other part of the United Kingdom or any other third country unless those goods are not at risk of moving on to the EU. The Protocol contains a presumption that all goods entering Northern Ireland from a third country (i.e. from any other part of the United Kingdom or from other third countries) are at risk of moving on to the Union … ”

    “In order to live up to their responsibilities pursuant to Article 12 of the Protocol, EU institutions and bodies must be able to monitor the implementation of the Protocol by UK authorities. Article 12 (2) therefore provides for a ‘Union presence’ during any implementation activities by the UK authorities.”

    Note that word “must” again; as far as the EU is concerned this is a matter of law, not some optional extra.

    It is difficult to see how the EU will ever trust the UK sufficiently to voluntarily decide that it no longer needs checks and controls, or at least the capacity for checks and controls, at Belfast and Larne and other points of entry into Northern Ireland.

    Therefore with the present protocol there seems to be no realistic prospect that any goods will ever again “be able to move as easily from Liverpool to Belfast as from Liverpool to Birmingham”, as you demand.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 14, 2021

      “MEPs stall EU-UK trade deal ratification — again”

      There is still the opportunity for the government to do the right thing and revoke our ratification.

      1. a-tracy
        April 14, 2021

        I agree with Denis, it is the only way to level the playing field.

        Also, John, why is it so difficult to give people for free the certification they need in the UK to get their products into Northern Ireland, how many businesses in the UK do this, what products are they, why not find a simple way to certificate them, this would also then certificate the producers to export to the RofEU.

        Rather than bashing your head at a closed door why don’t you figure out a way to open the door to UK exporters. You could facilitate cheaper freight movements from the UK for British truckers and British Ferries to enable this movement to take place seamlessly.

        The department for Trade need to keep things simple for our exporters and apply the same rules from July to the EU, so that if it starts to trouble their exporters they might start to relax some of their demands.

      2. DavidJ
        April 14, 2021

        Indeed; we need rid of all vestiges of EU control.

      3. Grey Friar
        April 14, 2021

        No, Denis. What is not yet ratified is the trade deal, agreed in 2020. The Protocol is part of the Withdrawal Agreement, from 2019 – that was Boris’s oven ready deal, that is ratified and it is law, both international law and UK law

        1. Denis Cooper
          April 14, 2021

          Unfortunately that appears to be the case.

          1. MiC
            April 14, 2021

            Why “unfortunately”? You voted absolutely for it at the last General Election, surely?

          2. Denis Cooper
            April 15, 2021

            No, I did not vote for this at the last election. As it turned out thanks to Nigel Farage changing his mind at a late stage there was no candidate standing here in the Maidenhead constituency who believed in Brexit and so I only went to the polling station to spoil my ballot paper.

        2. John Hatfield
          April 14, 2021

          Then we should rescind the Withdrawal Agreement and Nothern Ireland Protocol on the basis that they do not respect the human rights of the Northern Irish.

      4. acorn
        April 14, 2021

        After three years the EU hasn’t ratified the EU-Canada CETA Agreement yet either. The EU Commission chose Article 217 TFEU as the legal basis for the conclusion of the UK Agreement. This requires the unanimous agreement of the Member States in the Council and the consent of the European Parliament. It is worth having a read of the “Questions & Answers: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement” at

        Last I looked only sixteen of the twenty-seven EU members had ratified the UK deal, Cyprus voted against it.

        1. a-tracy
          April 15, 2021

          acorn, interesting why did Cyprus vote against it? This should be reported in all the newspapers.

          1. acorn
            April 15, 2021

            The UK’s Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus are in a similar position to Northern Ireland and Ireland, there is a protocol for it. A few sweeteners from the UK and EU should fix it’s objections.

          2. a-tracy
            April 15, 2021

            So are you saying that UK residents on the British bases in Cyprus face customs problems getting Cyprus goods into their bases? What exactly is the problem? If there is no deal though then what are we abiding by?

      5. Andy
        April 14, 2021

        The Northern Ireland Protocol is in the withdrawal agreement – which has been ratified by everyone.

        The world is watching the Brexitists making a mess of all of this. It is highly entertaining.

    2. Nig l
      April 14, 2021

      Thank you for summation. Certainly looks as if they have us by the boleaux.

      I would be interested to hear from Sir JR why he thinks otherwise. Gove, of course representing the government must have agreed it when he was our man to allegedly sort it out some months ago.

      I remember an excoriating demolition of the ECJ by him in the Sunday Times before even the referendum but when the opportunity came to get back into the heart of government as Mays lapdog, as ever he wagged his tail and defended what he trashed a few years earlier.

      Looks like he has been at it again.

      1. Andy
        April 14, 2021

        Do you think Gove actually knew what the ECJ is and what it does? That’s make him fairly unique among Brexitists as most don’t have a clue.

        But let me help. The court you really don’t like is the European Court of Human Rights as this is the one you all, incorrectly, thinks only helps terrorists and people in dinghies. Despite being based in Strasbourg and have European in its name, the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU. And the government gave a commitment to the EU to not withdraw from the ECHR.

        The ECHR was founded in the ashes of WW2 by British lawyers and is based on the values of Churchill. It says a lot about today’s Conservative party that it is so far removed from these Churchillian values that it wants to disown them.

        Meanwhile I have still yet to find a single ECJ case any Brexitist can name to which they can actually object. If this court you don’t understand is so big and bad you’d have thought there would be a plethora of cases you could cite which the UK had lost which would prove your point. As it is none of you can name any cases you object to, which is really rather pathetic.

        Reply Hundreds starting with Factortame

  7. William Long
    April 14, 2021

    The Northern Ireland situation should never have been allowed to happen; ‘No deal’ would have been infinitely better than what we have got, which was entirely foreseeable given the known attitude of the EU.
    Your other points all as usual have the underlying ring of common sense which will probably make them anathema to the ‘Elite’ which sadly still seems to call the shots and for some reason thinks there is some virtue per se in higher taxes. Also I am afraid that the idea of ‘Flexibility and support’ from the Treasury seems like a contradiction in terms. I suspect the mandarins have by now got the measure of Mr Sunak who would have needed to sweep cleaner than he has shown any sign of doing, if he wanted to achieve any new thinking from that institution.

    1. glen cullen
      April 14, 2021


    2. Denis Cooper
      April 14, 2021

      According to Boris Johnson we have got a trade deal worth £660 billion a year, or 30% of GDP.

      In his address to the nation on Christmas Eve, here:

      According to others it might be worth £3 billion a year, about 0.15% of GDP, to the UK, while according to the EU it might be 0.75% of GDP, and according to George Osborne five years ago it could be 1.3% of GDP.

      Liz Truss has refused to publish any economic assessment of this fantastic trade deal which is so valuable that it is worth risking the integrity of the UK and triggering riots in Northern Ireland.

      1. Andy
        April 14, 2021

        The government publishes impact assessment tests when it builds a new road or railway. It is a routine part of government that decisions are made on the basis of the best available evidence and when the impact has been modelled and assessed. A sensible way of doing business right?

        They did no impact assessments tests on their Brexit deal. At least none that they are prepared to publish. If the impact assessments had been positive they’d have published them and we’d have heard no end of it. They did not do this because they knew the impact was negative.

        This is why some of the Brexitists will end up in prison. They knowingly harmed our country and our children’s futures. Not in 2016 when they voted for their fantasy. But as the details became clear over the subsequent years they deliberately perused a policy to damage our country. They did this knowingly. They deserve to be locked up – and one day they will be.

      2. Lengy
        April 15, 2021

        Denis, quite right. You have now fully grasped that Brexit is based on the economics of the madhouse. Time to start asking some hard questions about the motives of those who pushed for Brexit in 2016

        1. Denis Cooper
          April 15, 2021

          What I grasped, long ago, and said here and elsewhere, long ago, is that it was not worth making any significant concessions to secure Boris Johnson’s favoured “Canada style” trade deal.

          For example, from September 2018:

          “A deal like CETA, with the UK playing the part of Canada, would:

          a) Do nothing to solve the fabricated problem of the Irish land border;

          b) Be only marginally better for the UK than falling back on WTO terms;

          c) Put the UK in the weak position of a supplicant during the negotiation.”

          “… the same kind of special trade deal with the EU might be worth 0.7% to 1.4% of UK GDP.”

  8. Heljut
    April 14, 2021

    Right at this moment talks are on-going between EU and UK to ease the difficulties brought about by the NI Protocol so no point in saying more until we see the outcome- in the meantims MPs Sammy Wilson and Jeffrey Donaldson should pipe down and not be adding fuel.

  9. Barbara
    April 14, 2021

    Btw, Sir John. This is off topic but you may be interested in pathologist Dr Clare Craig’s comment (re your question yesterday about why the Covid death rate in the UK appeared to be higher than some others):

    “The deaths per case should be purely a function of the disease plus the vulnerability of the population.

    Where countries over diagnose cases, like Norway, they have fewer deaths per case.

    The UK over diagnoses deaths and has higher deaths per case.“

    The comment can be found on her twitter account, should anyone wish to check it.

  10. Mike Wilson
    April 14, 2021

    and the Government did need to be very generous

    I have to say, Mr. Redwood, that I find the use of the word ‘generous’ (which you have used several times recently in the same context) is, to say the least, rather irritating.

    The government took away people’s livelihoods and, even in non-pandemic times, takes best part of 50% of many people’s earnings and, to be frank, pisses away much of it.

    So, to describe borrowing money and distributing it as ‘generous’ is galling. Can you use another word or phrase like – ‘the government needed to take action to mitigate the decimation to people’s livelihoods caused by its hysterical covid response’ – something like that.

    Reply Good criticism

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      April 15, 2021

      Excellent post

  11. Mike Wilson
    April 14, 2021

    As for Northern Ireland, your government signed us up to this absurd state of affairs. We wanted to leave the EU. You didn’t. We have this appalling half-way house.

    1. Peter
      April 14, 2021


      Johnson will not move to WTO terms and the EU know it.

      So we only have posturing and empty statements to deflect criticism.

  12. Alan Jutson
    April 14, 2021

    Agree Northern Island trade deal is a mess and should be scrapped.

    Agree Tax rises the last thing the economy or its workers and businesses need at the moment.

    Will be interesting to see if President Biden has any influence over the Irish Republics taxation policies, given he seems to love his personal/family association with the Country.

    1. Lastgasp
      April 14, 2021

      We cannot just scrap the NI Protocol it is part of the WA an international treaty- instead we have to try to work with it- gone are the days of British gunboat diplomacy. Sixty per cent of the NI people voted to remain in the EU but we dragged them all out. One hundred years ago 80 per cent of the total electorate in Ireland voted for Sinn Fein and independence and yet instead we created the border- we have a big responsibility in all of this- The time for scrapping things to suit is long gone

      1. dixie
        April 15, 2021

        The EU were prepared and willing to scrap the treaty over vaccines but stopped short at the last minute. Why is the EU the special case in the agreement that they can “just scrap the NI protocol” but the other party cannot.

      2. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        Lastgasp – “Sixty per cent of the NI people voted to remain in the EU but we dragged them all out.” Reading what has been written here by all the remain supporters we didn’t drag them out at all, they’re still in they just couldnt have both.

  13. a-tracy
    April 14, 2021

    Boris needs to just come clean about why the EU demanded from day one on UK exports into the EU and Northern Ireland (whose people want to keep their EU passports, free movement, erasmus etc. so they need to understand there is a price for that) and yet he has given the EU an advantage of total free trade no certification required into the UK, what benefit for the UK did he gain for this concession as an alternative to WTO terms?

    1. David Brown
      April 14, 2021

      “whose people want to keep their EU passports, free movement, erasmus etc. so they need to understand there is a price for that”
      The price for that should be paid for by taxation as it always has been and I pay my tax and happily pay more tax

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        April 15, 2021

        I will never happily pay more tax.

        Taxes introduced are rarely rescinded, income tax was introduced as a temporary measure until it was realised how much it raised which could then be spent by governments.

        I spend my money on the things that are important to me better than the government does.

      2. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        David Brown, the price for this shouldn’t be born by UK manufacturers trying to move their products into one of the territories of the UK, Northern Ireland, this cost Boris and Gove put on our exporters should be born by the government and this then allows our best exporters to have a wider market in the rest of the EU as the paperwork would then work all over and we can get back to selling.

        If the government won’t deal with this then the public will continue to block EU purchases themselves, everything from Danish Lurpak to French Wine and start buying more UK and RoW products. I have found out today that Cyprus have not ratified the agreement I’d like to know why, what are they protecting?

    2. Lengy
      April 15, 2021

      No tariffs. Boris did well to get that, it’s much better than WTO terms. It is still a lot worse than EU membership, but you voted for that, even though you never understood the economics of international trade

      1. a-tracy
        April 15, 2021

        Lengy, I actually understand why the border is in the Irish sea, because N Ireland wanted to stay in the EU connected to Southern Ireland and everything that entails.

        What I don’t understand is why this government hasn’t facilitated free paperwork and checks for UK exporters whilst they are allowing the EU a year to not have to produce any paperwork or checks to come into the UK. This should be stopped in June and the playing field levelled and the government needs to make exporting to N Ireland and the EU painless this year until our producers are on equal footing.

  14. John Hatfield
    April 14, 2021

    Far too much sense for this bunch socialists that call themselves the “government”.
    You should be prime minister, John.

  15. Sir Joe Soap
    April 14, 2021

    Surely we shouldn’t be allowing all those goods produced under the Irish EU sweat-shop low Corporation Tax rate regime into Northern Ireland and the remainder of our single market? That 12.5% rate leaves so much in the pockets of exploitative businesses to re-invest in the business or indeed in other new businesses. Our single market needs protecting – it will surely be compromised by goods made cheaply in such a low tax environment.

    1. hefner
      April 14, 2021

      Sir Joe, you won the funniest comment of the YTD. Your concern for the Irish sweatshop workers is simply admirable. Kudos indeed.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        April 15, 2021

        Truest words are spoken in jest @hef

  16. Martyn G
    April 14, 2021

    John, you say that “thinking too much about the revenue first, in the mood of putting everybody’s taxes up, will be a great dampener on the recovery we need”. It caused me to reflect that because of increased taxation of one of our colonies, we lost America.
    It’s a pity that more MP’s don’t bear in mind that lesson of history.

  17. David Brown
    April 14, 2021

    The current Gov signed up to a border in the Irish Sea, so they knew exactly what they was getting into.
    Any amendments will mean legal action by the EU, I also hope both the EU and USA impose trade pressure on the UK Gov if there are any Westminster changes.
    I agree with low Corporation Tax.
    I don’t agree with 1% individual wealth population having a cut in tax. Individuals should pay an asset wealth tax as right now they are not being generous enough to the treasury.
    Its good for the GOV to support business and jobs, providing MP’s don’t get involved in the private sector. We don’t need any more media headlines about lobbying etc.
    MP’s are public sector employees paid for by the tax payer. They should be treated like all senior public sector employees and banned from any Private Sector involvement of any description.

  18. XY
    April 14, 2021

    Yes, IR35 is a terrible idea. Precious few people actually understand it or how the tax system works (or doesn’t), but it won’t stop a horde of ignorant responses talking about “tax dodgers” and such.

    Many freelance people can choose to work all of a tax year, some of it, or none of it. Once they get into higher rate taxes (while also paying both forms of NI) many currently can’t be bothered to work to give the government money to chuck £39bn at the EU. This is one of the many meanings when it’s said that tax rises result in “changes to behaviour”.

    If you want them to be part of a recovery then incentivise them to do so – incentivise them to keep working past the point where they’ve earned enough for the year but if they workl more then their tax bill will be at a stupid level. The key thing for tax receipts is how much they pay in total, not what % they pay. Would you rather have £10,000 paid at 1% or £10 paid at 90%?

    If the green-eyed monster in you says “£10, because it’s ‘fair’!!”… then you’re part of the problem.

  19. agricola
    April 14, 2021

    Correct on NI/ UK trade. It should be unimpieded. Do what is necessary for UK/ EU trade that involves the Irisb border.

    Incentivise via our burdonsome tax regime all commercial activity, put another way lower taxes considerably. Look to increased activity to resolve the defecit and national borrowing. Going on the way we were forced to while in the EU will kill initiative , enterprise and the Brexit promise.

  20. JoolsB
    April 14, 2021

    John Redwood – the best Chancellor we never had and the only Tory remaining in the Conservative Socialist Party. You’re in the wrong party John. Tax, spend and wasters the whole lot of them.

  21. Ian Pennell
    April 14, 2021

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    Your argument about the Government helping to support the economy is sound, but the National Debt is now 100% of GDP and bond yields have risen sharply recently. If Inflation rises as the Currency Markets get suspicious about the Bank of England monetising Government borrowing the Conservatives’ reputation for economic management will be damaged. Electorally-harmful fiscal measures will be required to satiate the Markets and get things back under control: Not great when Boris Johnson promised the “End of Austerity”!

    However, there is a radical way of averting this disaster- all while making sure the Government can continue to support the Economy whilst paying down debt and guarding against Inflation: It’s called the Money- Printing Gold/ Platinum Buying Scheme and it works like this: The Bank of England prints money to buy up Gold and Platinum shares and securities and it also pegs over £200 billion of the money already in circulation (and in savings) to the over £200 billion worth of Gold bullion in the Bank of England. This helps forestall Inflation.

    Next, the Bank of England prints money at a rate of 5% of GDP per annum but uses it to buy Gold and Platinum shares and securities from UK-based exchanges. This helps Sterling retain its value as the Money Supply increases leading to real-terms economic growth of at least 3% a year (some will leak abroad in Exports): The productive capacity of the Economy could probably cope with this. That also leads to a real-terms £30 billion increase in revenues to the Exchequer each and every year so borrowing can be reduced whilst extra ££ billions becomes available for Levelling Up, more money for the NHS, Social care, the Armed forces and Income Tax cuts .

    The National Debt would soon fall as a percentage of GDP with growth of 3%, Bond yields would fall. This will give the Government scope to respond to the next “Unforeseen Crisis” in a few years’ time.

    You will, Sir have heard of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT): Of course, without something to back up the new money MMT is dangerous, but if Gold and Platinum Securities are bought to back-up the new (and existing) money it would work- without the disastrous Inflationary side-effect! Surely, its worth looking into and sharing with your Conservative colleagues because, in Elections, “Money Talks”: The Party that has a credible way to offer the biggest goodies to the largest number of voters will win the next Election- and why would you want Labour to enjoy that accolade?

    Kind Regards

  22. Bryan Harris
    April 15, 2021

    …the deficit will collapse very rapidly as soon as the controls are off and all those policies in place to promote a fast economic recovery take effect.

    THIS will only happen if ALL restrictive measures related to CV are exposed and done away with.

    Certainly we need a tad more innovation from the Treasury than we’ve seen of late — IT cannot be all about penalising us all with more taxation because of government spending, a good deal of which was a mockery of targeted or even useful spending.

    A total revamp of the tax system is badly needed and would greatly stimulate the economy if it was done effectively without dogma, one fit for the next century, not the 18th.
    A fair tax system would be based around ability to pay were it more focused on the purchase of luxury items rather than day to day survival items….But I’m not holding my breath waiting for this to happen.

  23. X-Tory
    April 15, 2021

    So, let’s see:

    i. You are not happy with the government’s betrayal of NI and their decision to destroy the unity of the UK, in order to become a vassal of the EU. I agree with you.
    ii. You want a bigger fiscal stimulus, centred around support for British businesses. I agree with you.
    iii. You are opposed too the increases planned in corporate taxes, and suggest we compete more agreesively with our main rival, Ireland. I agree with you.
    iv. You believe that, given it is now well over a year since the government took power and still the freeports have not taken effect, the government is being too slow and incompetent on this issue. I agree with you.
    v. You believe the government is harming, not helping, small businesses and the self-employed. I agree with you.

    So, in summary, we both agree that the government has betrayed the nation, is slow and incompetent and is mishandling the economy. That’s why I am an ex-Tory. The question is, why are you still supporting this government in the lobbies?

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