Coffee House

Tinkering with tax isn’t enough

22 February 2013

Should the 10p tax rate be brought back? Should the top rate be higher, or lower? Can the personal allowance be raised further? Is a mansion tax a good idea? Should the fuel duty rise be scrapped?

These are the questions that are rearing their heads again — as they do every six months or so, in the run up to a budget or autumn statement. The problem is that they are all considered — in so far as they’re considered at all — in isolation. We focus on one aspect of the tax system, fiddle with it a little, then move on to another.

And, as Institute for Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson bemoaned this week,

‘the general quality of political and public debate is limited, allowing poor policy to be passed off as good all too easily, resulting in an unhelpful focus on specific parts of the tax system, and often making change politically difficult. Very specific elements of the system – notably rates of income tax – achieve totemic significance far beyond their true importance, while changes to other parts of the system are often given wholly inadequate attention.’

The result is, to put it mildly, a mess. We end up with the highest earners facing a marginal income tax rate of 50p, but those earning £100,000 to £116,210 facing a higher 60p rate (due to the withdrawal of the personal allowance). We end up paying 20 per cent VAT on a pasty that’s been kept warm, but none on one that’s just come out of the oven. We end up with someone in a house worth £20 million paying only twice as much council tax as someone in a house worth £200,000. We end up with separate allowances for income and capital gains, rewarding those who have both over those who rely on one or the other.


The leader in this week’s Spectator highlights the proliferation of new taxes in recent years — most of them introduced without much thought of how they would interact with the others — and the unintended consequences that can follow. On Tuesday, Isabel suggested that an overhaul of the tax system could do more to tackle tax avoidance than the tinkering going on at the moment.

In 2011, the IFS published the Mirrlees Review report, which contained recommendations for how the UK might move towards a ‘good’ tax system. They included merging income tax and National Insurance (something the government is, to its credit, considering), replacing council tax with a proportional tax on the current value of houses, scrapping stamp duty, replacing business rates with a land value tax, replacing fuel duty with a national congestion charge system, making interest on bank and building society accounts tax-free, and taxing capital gains above a ‘rate-of-return allowance’ at the same rate as other income. It also advocates ending zero- and reduced-rating for VAT — and calculates that this could pay for a package of reforms (including cutting the main income tax rates from 20p to 18p and from 40p to 38.5p) that would leave each household as well as off as it is now and cut the deficit by £3 billion.

These are the sorts of big, bold changes a truly reforming Chancellor would advocate. Of course, care would have to be taken, particularly around the transition process from current taxes to new ones. And, of course, there will always be a great deal of debate over whether certain taxes are fair or economically sensible. But even though we might disagree on what a ‘good’ tax system looks like, we can surely agree it’s not the one we have now. For one thing, it’s not even really a system, but rather a jumble of individual policies.

In fairness, this government has done more than most to correct the problem, having set out a ‘new approach to tax policy making’ with a focus on predictability, stability and simplicity (to which end it established the Office of Tax Simplification). But it’s already delayed or cancelled fuel duty rises on four separate occasions and, as Isabel reported this morning, is considering doing so again.

And you can bet that the 2015 campaign will once again focus on headline-grabbing measures (‘bring back the 10p rate’, ‘cut the 45p rate’) rather than setting out a strategy to improve the tax system as whole. But taking a holistic approach is what will actually strengthen the economy and level the playing field. And that is the standard against which manifestos — and budgets — should be judged.

Join us after Osborne delivers his Budget to discuss ‘Whatever happened to the recovery?’ Andrew Neil, Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth will discuss what the 2013 Budget means for Britain’s economic future on 20 March. Click here to book tickets.

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  • Tom Tom

    Moody’s strips UK of AAA rating tonight……what is Osborne’s next party trick ?

  • BoiledCabbage

    Osborne has failed to cut the State or the Debt and taxes will rise as a consequence. The way to send a signal to this cloth-eared government is to move money out of sterling and out of the UK. Call it voting by IBAN code. But be quick – capital controls will be re-introduced after £sterling crashes, in the first week of the Lib-Lab 2015 Government.

    • Newsbot9

      Ah right, shorting this country to make a quick buck again. Thanks for illustrating why your corporatism is bad.

  • Russell

    Merging NIC and Income Tax isn’t great for pensioners who have small private pensions, as they would then lose another 12.5% of their meagre income!

  • Newsbot9

    “that would leave each household as well as off as it is now and cut the deficit by £3 billion.”

    Except the mythical average household dosn’t exist. It would raise the poverty premium dramatically, and we’d be looking at international food aid for the poor, if starvation was not to be an massive issue.

    It’s all about shifting the tax burden downwards still further, nothing else.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Here we go again. Everytime a problem arises the inhabitants of the Westminster Freakshow make the wrong choice. Resolving the annual budget deficit is not about ‘reforming’ the tax regime (however much it needs rationalising and slashing not least because Government would use such an exercise to increase the tax burden on the electorate. What the debate should be about is not taxes but about government accepting that it is living way beyond its means and has to make the tough choices that Labour, Conservatives and Libdems have so far refused to do.

    • Newsbot9

      Yes, you keep arguing that countries finances are the same as a household’s, showing that you don’t even have basic economic training.

      And of course you want a tax cut, regardless of anything else. Never mind the damage it will cause to Britain.

  • RKing

    I’m old that means I’m a pensioner. I’ve seen several comments (not here) that pensioners should have some of their “benefits” withdrawn.

    BUT if I was an immigrant or unemployed I would get my “benefits” untaxed and at about twice the amount that I receive!

    My “benefits” are what I worked for and paid into.

    An immigrant doesn’t have to pay in a penny!

    So if I receive “benefits” why the F*** am I paying tax?

    I’m bitter because I have just received my new code number and my tax has been increased for the following tax year which will practically wipe out any pension increase and I don’t get any help with the community charge either.

    So Cameron and Osbourne you won’t be getting my vote again you can go and get stuffed!!

    UKIP it is.

    • Newsbot9

      How can you vote UKIP as a foreigner?

      After all, in the UK, unlike your home, most benefits are taxed. Neither do we have a community charge.

      • RKing

        daft sod I’m british!

        • Newsbot9

          So you claim. But you don’t known the basics.

          I’m unconvinced you’d pass the Tories citizenship exam.

  • Daniel Maris

    For me, a good tax system would mean a good tax, welfare and workfare system:

    1. A flat rate of income tax (probably around 20%) with no personal allowances, balanced by a Citizens Income receipt from the state (probably around £3,000 per adult citizen).

    2. A graduated property tax.

    3. A graduated inheritance tax.

    4. A graduated sales tax.

    5. Appropriate environmental taxes (taxes on landfill, waste incineration, air polluting activities etc)

    6. Stamp duty used to finance energy independence, energy efficiency measures and domestic energy generation (thus reducing energy bills).

    7. The right to work for those who are unable to find the work themselves, and a duty to support yourself if you are not incapacitated.

    8. Relieving businesses of the costs of parental leave through a state and parent funded contributory scheme.

    9. A single compulsory pensions scheme for all employees and employers not covered by employer schemes.

    10. Earned child benefit i.e. child benefit only to kick after a woman has contributed to a scheme for five years of employment. A limit of three children on receipt of state benefits for children.

    • Tom Tom

      Well Daniel, I hope you are very young and well below the voting age because your naive enthusiasm will be dented as you grow up in a country like Britain. You must enjoy your fantasies. Taxes are based on Lobby Politics and who in particular (behind the curtain) does not want to poay them and how easily they can be shunted onto people who seem not to notice

    • Newsbot9

      Flat tax countries have far higher tax rates than that. Moreover, they tend to have far higher social taxes – the flat rate tax states in Europe have an average higher tax rate than the progressive tax states!

      7. Forced minimum rate labour, right
      9. Hence taking money many poor people need for food.

      I could go on, but shifting tax downwards as you’re calling for…

      • Daniel Maris

        You’d have to give examples. I suspect they probably have a lot of personal allowances.

        7. There’s no reason everyone would have to be a on a minimum wage, though obviously with a safety net scheme, wage rates will be low.

        9. Nonsense. I think it’s very important that people reconnect to contributing schemes for welfare. It’s all about ending welfare dependency. Everyone should be paying something towards their pensions, even if it is not an economic contribution per se.

        • Newsbot9

          You suspect wrongly. Estonia’s personal allowance is £1,500.00, Latvia’s is £515.00 and Lithuania’s is £1,410.00 (2010 figures, I believe)

          Latvia has 25% tax rate, with 11% employee and 24.09% employer’s social tax.

          That compares to a UK, a system where there’s a large allowance, then rates from 20-45% for income tax – and a social tax employee rate of 12% to a threshold, then 2%, and a 13.8% employers rate.

          As you can see, the higher employer’s rate and the UK threshhold makes a big difference. It’s even bigger for Lithuania and Estonia (slightly lower rates for personal tax, but 30-33% employers social tax!). They also all have a high LVT.

          7. There’s every reason for them to be. And that’s right, those jobs are welfare dependent. They would rapidly replace better-paid jobs.

          9. That’s right. Even the poorest will be forced to pay out under your system. Never mind their food bills. This *creates* a system where people are dependent on the government for food aid!

    • Andy

      We need radical – and I do mean Radical – Tax reform. However we need economic growth to try and repair some of the damage done by that idiot Gordon the moron Brown, Ed bollocks Balls and wee Little Millipede.

      So to kick off we should adopt the ideas advanced by Alister Heath. Slash Corporation Tax to 11% and abolish Capital Gains Tax. As the economy expands we can then start to reform the whole tax system and that means making taxes very simple and very transparent. No governments should ever again be allowed to get away with all the tax increases that Brown brought in.

      But the other side of this is that we need radical reform to spending too. That means cutting the welfare state in a meaningful way. But just look at the howls there have been for even modest ideas like restricting child benefit and even the suggestion of doing something to pensioner benefits. But that is a nettle that will eventually have to be grasped.

      • Newsbot9

        That’s right, slash company tax even further, giving even what’s paid there a break. Make sure that the rich don’t pay anything on their gains.

        And that’s right, starve and freeze the poor to death, calling them a “nettle”, in your hatred. Gotta have “retirement” == dead for the 99%.

  • HooksLaw

    ‘that would leave each household as well as off as it is now’ – so households who are pensioners would benefit bay having to pay tax on food?
    To blandly ignore the losers and those who only marginally gain compared to those who would gain a lot is totally disingenuous.

    This is yet another tabloid article by the schoolboys who run the Spectator.

    • ButcombeMan


      If you paid attention you would have seen how I explained earlier that VAT on currently zero rated goods (includes food) could be brought in with no overall effect on the budgets of poorer households.

      What is so wrong with paying VAT on food anyway? The French do it and the average French family eats substantially more healthily than the average UK family.

      Most shoppers have no understanding of what “foods” have VAT on them and what do not.

      VAT on /some/ foods causes the pasty anomaly.

      VAT on food encourages local production and consumption, encourages small producers, encourages local markets, that is why the French are able to run supermarkets alongside street or farmers markets in almost every town and village.

      It also encourages real cooking, real food, better, higher quality ingredients and the eating of less prepared meals with salt, sugar and everything else..

      The only reason the UK has got trapped into not having VAT on food is a throw back to the origins of VAT in the UK.

      It was a trap then, it is a trap now.

      Politicians have not been brave or clever enough to get out of it. They trap each other. Any party that suggested it would suffer the sort of nonsense you have just spouted.

      Food in the UK is cheap, as a nation we eat too much of the wrong things, We are an obese, sugar addicted, fat eating nation. The further north one goes, the worse it gets.

      It is a real public health issue. It is NOT about price.

      Visit any sink estate and watch the fat young single mums queing outside the fast food (Chippie) outlet, with their already obese child in the trolley.

      Deep fried Mars bar anyone?

      • Newsbot9

        Ah yes, the spitting at people who dare have fast food once in a while, while poverty is a factor in obesity. The “trap” is the too-low poverty premium, there is no even remotely sufficient corrective measure, just a bland assertion that “overall” it will work out.

        VAT on food is a godsend for the supermarkets, and levies paperwork on small food producers. It’s about shifting the tax burden downwards, as ever.

        • ButcombeMan

          Fast food once in a while might be OK, I would not eat it myself but millions do, once in a while-with minimal effect. The problem is over reliance on it. It is NOT cheaper than real food. That is a myth.

          It is fairly easy to devise measures which would compensate for VAT on food at a modest rate for those on much less than the average household income. Your sniggering shows your ignorance, VAT on food works elsewhere.

          VAT on food is neither here nor there for supermarkets, their systems already have to cope with VAT on some goods. Small producers would have no need to register for VAT at all, the registration limit in the UK is quite high. Once again you are wrong.

          From the Treasury point of view the supermarkets would be every effective tax collectors. Taxes are best and simplest to administer if they are hard to avoid. Tax on food is.

          Poverty is emphatically not the cause of bad diet and obesity. Obesity in rich societies like ours is more about education than about poverty. You seem to know something about Eastern Europe, you should know that if you have been there.

          There were no fat kids when I was at school, we were too poor (and too cold) to be fat, even though an evening meal was, two rounds of toast with beef dripping.

          • Newsbot9

            “Real” food? Bulk food, no. Healthy food? Too expensive in any case for the poor. Keep on saying that my opposition to sharply raising tax on the poor is “sniggering”.

            What measures, *specifically*, are you suggesting to compensate the poor? Let’s hear them. And bear in mind realistic amounts being spent on food, fuel (currently 5%), other utilities, etc.

            Supermarkets would LOVE, on the other hand, VAT on food. And even small farm producers will cross the threshold pretty quickly!

            Of course collecting VAT is effective – it’s also massively regressive, like most “easy” taxes. It would also hammer charities, energy conservation efforts, disabled people and healthcare provision.

            Keep up your denial of basic societal effects, spitting on the poor. And yes, you want to return to that as a hard maximum for the poor, simply to “reduce obesity”. Sickening.

            • ButcombeMan

              Supermarkets are, I insist, indifferrent to VAT on food, it gives them momentary cash flow benefit but on monthly accounting, not too much of that.

              To balance putting VAT on food it would be easy to increase state allowances including the state pension and to increase personal that the effect was neutral for the poor. Such a change does emphatically NOT have to be “regressive”. Other countries cope with it, why not the UK?

              If Russian billionaires want to eat caviarre or lobster, let them pay VAT on it. It is not food it is luxury. Why are you protecting them?

              VAT on foods captures those in the black economy, with proper compensation fo those who are the poor. It is beautiful in that it catches the rich, it captures those try to live outside the tax system, it captures tourists and temporary residents.

              You make your arguments in cliches, without engaging your brain. You could easily BE, Ed Balls. If you are, I claim £5


              • Newsbot9

                They wouldn’t be directly affected, but it would affect their competitors negatively.

                And let’s see.
                State pension – pensioners.
                Personal allowance – middle class, primarily.

                You have NOT dealt with the unemployed, disabled or the lowest earners. So I was right all along, given this.

                You have not compensated the poor, only the middle class ans pensioners, it’s yet another shift of tax downwards. It’s about reducing the poor’s food budget.

                And of course you want to define and rip me off, you are after all a Tory. How’s your economic plan going?

                • ButcombeMan

                  Firstly I am not a Tory.

                  On the rest you just do not get it, you are into the (wrong) mantra that obesity and poor diet is the result of poverty when all the evidence is that obesity is much more prevalent in rich societies like ours.

                  On making a move to VAT on food neutral, for poorer members of society, you do not get that either. All government allowances to unemployed, State Pension and disabled getting state support, could be altered to make the move neutral, for that group.

                  The long term advantage would be to steer the nation to a better diet with less demand on the NHS and to collect tax through a system that is hard to avoid, for everyone..

                  If you are so against the concept, explain why it works in other countries

                • Newsbot9

                  Okay, the Tories are too far left for toy.

                  And you keep up your pseudoscience, I’ll stick with scientific studies. And you’re still not offering the figures which would offset your tax grab on the poor – you’re still talking about “allowances”, when tax allowances are middle-class tinkering.

                  The only way it could have an effect is if it was NOT cost-neutral, and hence lowered the food intake of the poor.

                  Other developed countries have far more generous benefit systems, in general.

  • HooksLaw

    And the losers in all this pie in the sky playing around by the IFS?

    End zero rating? On food and children’s clothes. Yes you want to fight an election on that? So abolish stamp duty on buying appreciating assets like houses? Who do you tax to replace the income?

    In case you forgot the govt inherited a deficit of some 160 billion. That is not a platform for reform.

  • the baracus

    There is no mention of removing the Tax on jobs that is Employers National Insurance.
    This tax is a total disgrace. Government already tax companies (corporation Tax) and employment (Income Tax), so what is the point of this ridiculous tax other then to get in the way of employment. It should be abolished immediatly.

    • HooksLaw

      Where would you get the money from then.
      Health care systems all over the world rely on employers contributions.

      This parliamentary report says.
      ‘The majority of receipts from NICs are paid into the National Insurance Fund, which is separate from all other revenue raised by taxation. The Fund is used exclusively to pay for contributory benefits, and operates on a ‘pay as you go’ basis: broadly speaking, this year’s contributions pay for this year’s benefits. The Government has no powers to use NICs to fund anything else’

      It points out that total NICs collected amount top about £96.5 billion in 2010/11
      If employers contribution were abolished and NICs incorporated into tax then workers would inevitably see a remarkable increase in there taxation.

      • the baracus

        It is a farcical tax. Why should employers contribute to employees healthcare? Healthcare should be a contract between the health provider (the state) and the individual. Why bring in companies into this?

        Your question about where to fund this from is a different subject. The Government should reform tax and cut it’s cloth accordingly.

        And before you try and respond with the point that they would not raise enough cash – just think – they don’t raise enough cash now, hence the deficit.

      • Newsbot9

        Which is the point, of course, HooksLaw. More tax, less services, tax cuts for companies.

        It’s notable that the flat-tax European countries have a far higher “social” tax than the progressive-tax ones. The real scandal, actually, is that we have a higher limit on NI contributions after which it drops…

      • Tom Tom

        are paid into the National Insurance Fund,………..except there is no “Fund” and has not been since Neville Chamberlain as Chancellor had to underwrite deficits in the Unemployment Fund in 1937 from General Taxation

    • Newsbot9

      That’s right, no abolition of pensions and the JSA. How terrible!

  • Colonel Mustard

    Sorry, Messrs Cameron and Osborne, but if I had wanted another socialist government I would have voted Labour. When you start using the language of the left (“progressive”, “liberal”) in the same dishonest way it is actually worse. Why? Because you are supposed to be Conservatives. You have sold out to what you believe represents the “centre” and the majority. Well it doesn’t. It represents the noisy, disproportionately powerful and bien pensant minority left. The Gramsci marchers and the Marxist cultural revolutionaries, the media luvvies and dinner party disengenues who believe in taxing and bureaucratising a country to death whilst feathering their own nests nicely.

    And they will still all hate you.

    • Newsbot9

      Yes, your figments of your imagination will still hate the government, just as you do. There haven’t been socialists in power since the 1970’s, keep blaming them for everything!

      There is no party which represents 5+ million left-wing voters, Labour being centralist. But it’s never enough for you, you have to shift things still further into the failed neoliberal economics.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Poppycock. I wish socialists were a figment of my imagination.

        • Newsbot9

          Yes, I’m sure your level of denial will get you far in your chosen politics…

  • Archimedes

    “But even though we might disagree on what a ‘good’ tax system looks like, we can surely agree it’s not the one we have now.”

    Indeed, and that’s not just in Westminster, it’s out among the electorate too. A large scale reform of the tax system could be made popular, and it could be a good story for the Conservatives to go to the polls with in 2015. Most of the stuff is common sense, and Nick Clegg’s performance in the 2010 debates ought to prove that people eat that up, and it’s also the kind of narrative that puts Cameron at his best. The difference is that the Conservatives could be mid-way through the implementation come those debates. Unfinished business is a good election strategy.

  • Chris lancashire

    Every one of the Mirrlees Review’s proposals are worth following – particularly the merging of Income Tax and NI – this would have the great virtue of cutting costs and complete transparency on the true rate of personal income tax (Brown would, of course, have viewed that as a distinct disadvantage).
    However one problem in instigating radical change at the moment is that the government cannot afford to make a mistake on the revenue effect on any change. In a time of high borrowing it takes extra bravery to institute change. It is much easier in times of broad budget balance to attempt these changes.

    • Archimedes

      “It is much easier in times of broad budget balance to attempt these changes.”

      I disagree. There are rarely times when it is as politically easy to push through changes as it is right now.

      • Newsbot9

        Indeed, the Coalitions complete blindness to the damage their changes cause means there’s no better time to shift the tax burden downwards.

    • HooksLaw


    • Smithersjones2013

      And we really couldn’t risk it given the gross incompetence of the current Government now could we?

    • Newsbot9

      And shifting the tax burden downwards dramatically, the entire point of the exercise. And they’re making plenty of mistakes which are raising the bill, why would that stop them?

    • Tom Tom

      Yes I think having NIC imposed on income will thrill pensioners and self-employed. GErmany has started making Self-Employed pay Employee Contribution rates so they can pay Employer + Employee Contributions and fatten government coffers.

  • Tom Tom

    HMRC and the Threasury lack intellectual horsepower and management ability to either a) plan the change b) implement it. Colbert had similar problems before 1789

  • ugly_fish

    Tax isn’t just the price of services. If it were, they wouldn’t be trying to extort as much as they are with threats of violence. Tax pays for many other things – 1000 quid parrots, the despicable EU, African dictators’ lavish life-styles, useless wind turbines, countless, unnecessary public servants, ego-boosting vanity projects for the politicians du jour – I could go on and on – but I’d only depress myself even more…

    • HooksLaw

      Far and away the largest spend goes on health pensions benefits education and defence. Given the 160 billion deficit we inherited then all your other self serving lists are relatively small and would not affect taxation.

      The govt is currently undergoing endless criticisms as it cuts back on benefits
      Hundreds of thousands of public servants are currently losing their jobs.
      Even if out of the EU we would still be contributing as part of the single market. And dribbling on about African dictators is plain rubbish. I suppose you would prefer to think about that rather than dying children as being the victims of your selfishness.

      So as ever in these situations the nut job talks cobblers

      • Tom Tom

        “Hundreds of thousands of public servants are currently losing their jobs” Really ? Can you be more specific ? I really do not believe your assertion. Moreover this is interesting from Guardian 21 Nov 2011:………..”• Eight areas have low employment in public and private sectors:
        Bradford, Leicester, Newham, Nottingham, Salford, Sandwell, Walsall, and
        • Public sector employment rates are generally above
        the average across most Scotland and Wales. In Scotland, they are
        highest in the Highlands and Islands, where “public sector employment is
        higher due to the service provision needs of remote rural areas/island
        • The ONS says there is no north-south divide in
        England: “there are plenty of local authorities in the southern half of
        England with above average public sector employment rates and plenty of
        local authorities in the northern half of England with below average
        public sector employment rates”
        • In contrast, many local authorities
        with above average private sector employment are clustered in the south
        of the country, particularly to the north and west of London. Clusters
        of local authorities with below average private sector employment rates
        are found in the Midlands and North”

        • Newsbot9

          Keep ignoring the job *losses*. Quoting employment snapshop stats is worthless for that.

      • Smithersjones2013

        I suppose you would prefer to think about that rather than dying children as being the victims of your selfishness.

        Oh you really talk a load of childish drivel at times. The children of foreign countries are that country’s problem not ours.

        It is not the purpose of the British Government or the burden of the British taxpayer to ‘Save The World” (despite the delusions of our recent Prime Ministers). Sadly our politicians seem singularly unable to grasp that simple reality or the even simpler one that they are here to serve the people (not their party or Whitehall or Brussels or International interests seeking bribes or whatever vested interests fill their party coffers with cash).

        The delicious irony is that Cameron and Osborne are likely going to destroy their reputation completely and undermine the primary purpose of this government (reducing the deficit year on year) for the price of the annual International Aid budget.

      • Tom Tom

        Pensions are PAYG so taxes are for current pensions just as police budgets pay current pensioners leaving nothing for policing. The Baby Boom fattened the coffers for current retirees leaving nothing for the Baby Boomers in retirement

        • Newsbot9

          Perhaps Thatcher should of considered that when she prevented company pension schemes from building up the necessary assets?

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Should have” you ignorant cretin.

            • Newsbot9

              Ah so, not only do you focus on a grammar issue, you’re being rude to disabled people. Good Tory!

          • Tom Tom

            It was Lawson and the Treasury who wanted the tax revenues and to stop companies sheltering taxes in pension schemes

            • Newsbot9

              That’s right, it was a grand tax raid. Companies were prevented from building up the assets they needed, hence the closure of the schemes as underfunded.

              History really don’t favour your Tories on this.

      • Tom Tom

        Dying Children ? You mean the 200,000 each year ABORTED by NHS funding of Stopes Abortion Clinics ?

  • James Randall

    Unfortunately the changes listed above won’t do anything to simplify the tax system

  • LB

    The whole tone of the article is that taxation is a good thing.

    You’ve deluded and living in cuckoo land.

    Tax is the price for services. Why not ask, are we getting value for money?

    • Tom Tom

      No. Tax is divorced from services just as Parliament is divorced from Taxation. The institution is supposed to CONTROL the Executive and control BUDGETS but it does neither.

      • LB

        Quite. There’s no connection, and that’s the problem.

        There isn’t even a connection between tax and spending.

        There isn’t even an acknowledgement of the debts.

        So given that lack of awareness or deliberate fraud, its going to go all Greek.

        • Newsbot9

          You’re trying to MAKE it go Greek, you mean, given your offshore accounts. Keep ignoring the books, because hey, you’d need to admit your fraud…

      • Smithersjones2013

        No. Tax is divorced from services just as Parliament is divorced from Taxation.

        Indeed just as Downing Street is divorced from reality…

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