Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “taxation”

Taxing Property

George Monbiot writing yesterday about the distorted property market concluded:

Why should capital gains tax not apply to first homes, when they are the country’s primary source of unearned income? Why should council tax banding ensure that the owners of cheap houses are charged at a far greater relative rate than the owners of expensive houses? Why should Rinat Akhmetov pay less council tax for his £136m flat in London than the owners of a £200,000 house in Blackburn? Why should second, third and fourth homes not be charged punitive rates of council tax, rather than qualifying, in many boroughs, for discounts?

The answer, of course, is power: the power of those who benefit from the iniquities of our property market.
The Guardian 2 June 2014: The only way to fairness in housing is to tax property

Oh, please, let’s get a bit deeper than blaming all the above on “power”. We need to examine why those “who benefit from the iniquities of our property market” seem to have such a hold over our parliament.

Read more…

Neilisms and out of context factoids

Andrew Neil was lambasting the Liberal Democrats today (BBC2 Daily Politics 24 September 2012) with the unreferenced factoid: the “top 10% pay 55% of all income tax paid”. Out of context it is meaningless and does nothing other than make Andrew Neil look like a bully.

I wonder how much of all income does the top 10% snaffle? More than 55%? If it is more than 55%, I very much hope that they are paying at least 55% of all income tax paid.  Looking at Wealth Accumulation and Total Tax might be even more illuminating.

Are similar figures available for the top 1%, the top 0.1% and the top 0.01%?

Once we know this we may be able to have a more educated debate about the progressiveness of our tax system.

Impoverish the poor or soak the rich?

Suppose you want to raise £1M per week? How might you do it? I suspect the two sides of the coalition will have different views. Read more…

The problem with the rich

I have been thinking about “the rich” quite a bit recently, what with the crash and the budget.  I feel I need to try to get beyond the “bash the bankers” and “soak the rich” rhetoric and work out where my problem lies and whether it is “with the rich” or just some of the blighters. Read more…

By George, something not right here!

So, the millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer is not paying top rate tax (BBC News 22 March 2012).  How come? Read more…

Taxation and the behaviour of the rich vs. the rest of us

On today’s (BBC2 13 March 2012) Daily Politics, Lord Lawson (the former Conservative monetarist chancellor, Nigel Lawson) was advocating cutting the top rate of tax because of the “behavioural implication” on the rich which would mean a reduction in rate would result in a greater overall tax take.

Presumably if Lawson thinks cutting tax on the rich from 50% to 40% will bring in more tax, we should also look at cutting it to 30% or even 20% to maximise this “behavioural change”.

Meanwhile taxes on the rest of us can just rise – because the rest of us despite being “all in it together” behave differently! Read more…

Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Just what is fair?

Last Friday on Any Questions (BBC Radio 4, Friday 22 October 2010), Fraser Nelson (editor of The Spectator, a conservative political weekly), tried to advance the view that “fairness is about incentives” and that it is therefore fair that a poor (but unemployed) family loses benefits so that they are not better off than their (working) neighbours.  Whilst the working neighbours may be deserving, this approach seems to condemn the unemployed family as undeserving.  Looking at situations like this in isolation seems to me unfair. Read more…

Universal Benefits from Universal Tax

I can’t help but share some of the concerns expressed about the move away from universal benefits.  However, I am also particularly concerned about the impact of this change when combined with the move to ensure that those earning less than £10,000 pay no (income) tax.  Universal benefits should be matched by universal taxation. Read more…

Social Engineering

This used to be something that the Socialists were accused of doing; now it seems to be a Conservative practice.

£3 per week for the married – raises a number of questions:

  • What other social goods might we achieve for £3 per week?  For instance:
    • Families that live in decent housing have better outcomes – therefore let’s pay those in good houses £3 per week.
    • Families whose children go to university also tend to have better outcomes – therefore let’s pay those who go to university £3 per week (to offset the charges on students supported by most parties).
  • Is there a business opportunity for some entrepreneur to set up an introduction agency for “tax buddies” – those wanting to get married for the tax break (without the sex – I belief there are already agencies for people who want the sex without the marriage).
  • Might this tax bribe encourage those who are not really committed, to get married and once they are married decide to bring children into an “uncommitted relationship” – or will the £3 per week make them magically “more committed”?

These proposals deserve serious consideration – or at least the same level of consideration as the other headline grabbing dog whistle policies.

Tax and NHI: Self Interest

Publicans don’t like excise duty

Petrol Retailers don’t like fuel duty

Airlines don’t like passenger duty

Business “leaders” don’t like NHI

so why are we surprised when the latter write a letter to say so?

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