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Margaret Thatcher


Too High, Too Complicated

A real hot potato - what to do about tax! I suggest starting from scratch and asking which tax we should have and which are fair. The rest don't even get past the starting gate! When we get this (very short) list finalised the economists can calculate how much money will be there and a budget can be produced. I predict a dramatic (some would say catastrophic) reduction in current spending and howls of protest. But on the plus side is simplicity, fairness, and a huge increase in personal incomes, and with that will come incentives, spending and a booming economy. Everybody will want a piece of the action if they get to keep their hard earned pay. Recession will be for other countries, so let them keep it. Naive? Maybe, but I am not an economist, they are paid more than me to calculate cause and effect, I am only here to provoke discussion and propose principles! So what do we need, and what do we scrap?
The country needs money to run our services so let's start with a big earner - income tax, no avoiding it, so it is number 1 on the list. How much? More than we pay now, but restricted to just one rate, and with a suitable floor of say £10,000, below which no tax is due. VAT at 10%, I don't like this tax at all but we do need income so it should stay. Corporation tax, it's fair for companies to be taxed but the rate should be competitive with other countries, say 10-20%. Tobacco and cigarettes should be taxed as they are now, simply because they are dangerous and more importantly offend or affect non-smokers. Car tax is in, it is needed to pay for the upkeep of our roads, and should be increased sharply, maybe doubled, bearing in mind the scrapping of fuel duty.
What is out? Inheritance tax - what is that all about, you are taxed on income and investments all your life, then when you die the ruling regime takes an extra slice for good luck? Oh no, that's taking the p**s! Fuel duty - unfair. TV license - which other country has this? Alcohol duty - unfair. National Insurance - include in income tax. Council tax - scrap it and let local budgets be centrally funded, based on the number of residents in an area or the number of households. Air Passenger Duty - another one introduced and steadily hiked in recent years, get rid of it, a tax on travel rankles, why should we be taxed for travelling? Mansion taxes, bedroom taxes, workplace parking levies (another example of a lunatic controlling local tax matters!) and a whole host of other such minor annoyances are out and many other minor taxes which are both unfair and unnecessarily complicated. Too many to list on just one page, which makes my point about too many and too complicated! 
 Yes, I know the tax sums will not add up to what is spent today, so people with more expertise than me can calculate the effects and what will be available to fund our many services. Of course services will be affected, but the people (which is what this is all about) will have more cash to spend, as will companies and employers, and if that does not kick-start the economy nothing will!

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