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Appetite for fat cat taxes?

Stephanie Flanders | 13:30 UK time, Monday, 30 November 2009

Bored of all this austerity talk? Then take a load off - talk about fairer taxes for a day instead. That seems to be the thinking behind the Liberal Democrats' tax plans, released today.

The party has a long-established fondness for Robin Hood. When it comes to open commitments to squeeze the rich, they've been in front of Labour since at least 2001.

Nick CleggNow we're in a recession which the average voter thinks was largely caused by fat cat city bankers, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable probably think the appetite for fat-cat taxes has risen as well.

They may be right (see A healthy squeeze II). But when it comes to tax fairness, theory and practice can often diverge - as Vince Cable has lately discovered.

The "news" in the announcement is that they have decided the 150,000-180,000 families in the UK living in a house worth between £1m and £2m aren't living in "mansions" after all.

Instead of raising £1.1bn with a 0.5% annual levy on houses worth over £1m, as Vince Cable floated at the party conference, it's going to be a 1% tax on houses worth over £2m, which they claim will raise slightly more - around £1.7bn.

Officials say that these were the households that would have paid most of the tax anyway: according to the most recent Land Registry data, the average value of the 70-80,000 houses worth more than £2m is actually £4.5m.

It's a bit embarrassing to change a policy this radically, barely two months since it was first proposed - especially since our poll suggested it had broad popular support.

You might think it a reflection of our skewed idea of what constitutes "rich" in this country that a tax affecting, at most, 1% of household in the UK was felt to hit too many in the "middle class."

Those who like the Liberal Democrats' progressive rhetoric will be dismayed at the shrinking definition of "rich".

Economists who wanted to see the party - any party - make a start on taxing property more heavily in the UK will likewise be disappointed by the climb-down.

But the Liberal Democrats know their target audience - and their marginal seats - better than those unworldly economists do.

They probably decided that a £1m threshold would be more trouble than it was worth. After all, with potential revenue of £1.1bn (if that) - it wasn't going to be worth very much.

The rest of the proposals are either repeats, or revamps, of the Liberal Democrats' old favourites. I'll say a bit more about those in a later post.

But the bottom line is they plan to raise roughly £17bn in new revenues - nearly all of which they would immediately give away again, to fund a large increase in the personal allowance.

Are they mad, in these straitened times, to be talking about finding ways to "pay for" a tax cut? Shouldn't a serious party be focussed above all on cutting public borrowing?

Vince CableSome will say so. Vince Cable has largely been ahead of his counterparts in the other parties in proposing ways to cut the debt (see The political detail.) But the party won't say how, exactly, it's going to cut borrowing until the end of the year.

Apparently, the Liberal Democrats take a different view. They think that if you're going to be asking everyone to sacrifice something on the altar of fixing the public finances in the next parliament, you had better reassure them first that the underlying system is fair.

They have polls and a lot of political theory on their side - not to mention the outrage over bank bonuses and bailouts as evidence for the public mood.

But if there's a lesson in the debate over the value of a "mansion", it is that it's easier to cut taxes in the name of fairness than to raise them.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    We can debate the merits and fairness of this proposed tax and the level at which it is levied until the cows come home.

    I would like to see a tax on people owning more than one house/mansion or whatever. After all you can only live in one residence at a time and it smacks of greed to own more than one property.

  • Comment number 2.

    It was very conservatively estimated by Sir David Walker last week that there are probably over 10,000 people in the City (probably all bankers) who 'earn' over £1million a year...and a good proportion of that figure well over £2.5million a year.

    Why not kill two birds with one stone...tax them all till the pips squeak. This will also reduce the systemic risk of future banking failures and their effect on the real (wealth creating) economy.

  • Comment number 3.

    To raise the level of basic tax allowances is well overdue and the Liberal-Democrats are to be applauded for that measure at least. To my mind it doesn't go far enough as why should anyone receiving less than the average wage pay any income tax at all?

    With regard to the mansion tax and other taxes on the more prosperous; why is there a presumption that those who are getting the best from society are unprepared to pay for their obvious advantages?

    If those who are getting the best out of the prevailing arrangements are not prepared to put their hand in their pockets to maintain those arrangements then why should anyone else?

  • Comment number 4.

    I have previously pointed out that there are a lot of people living in over £ 1M houses, who have done nothing to generate the economic crisis. The group includes many who worked hard all their lives and now survive on a state pension. In fact, the high 'value' (or should it be cost?) of those houses is a product of bubblonomics. Do the Liberals want these people to be victims twice?

    By all means tax the speculators and property, but do it the obvious and fair way via capital gains tax applicable to all properties. With an intelligent formulation, the innocent will not suffer unfairly and it may even slow down future house price speculation and inflation. It would also avoid the huge effort to value the housing stock that would be required to apply such a tax.

  • Comment number 5.

    How about a mansion tax on all SECOND homes over £500,000?

    ...I don't suppose turkeys vote for Xmas though!

  • Comment number 6.

    This seems a rather astute move to me as people living in GBP 2 million or more houses are unlikely to vote Liberal and those that do who would vote Liberal no doubt see this fee as a small price to pay for their wealth.

    I can see the Liberals aiming at the disenchanted on the fringes of both Tory and Labour support and this ticks a good box in the Labour supporters mind being a "soak the rich" proposal.

    I iamgine they are looking for the disenchanted Labour supporters who wont't or can't vote Tory. This strikes me as a balance of power move with Clegg & co looking to be Kingmaker in the event of a hung parliament.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yes lets tax fat cats, in fact lets tax thin cats as well, and economics editors………

    I know lets tax everybody more, but with one exception, those blogging by the name of Dempster, for by virtue of his great wisdom, and having a wife and three kids in tow and being nearly broke, he should clearly be excluded.

  • Comment number 8.

    Concept of fair 'It is beyond dispute the less is blessed of the better'. There's going to be people saying they haven't got the time of day and get on with it.

    In principle I want the right things to happen that reduce crime and people's frustrations etc. but how that works out in details there is no suggestion anywhere that can be radical enough.

    It's the work of years by time people are going to be dead dying or flying to the moon graduating and blah! Fair's never gonna happen until I can demand money from you by law 'cos I'm the boss of ya!

    Gonna be suckered by politics nursing each others grudges what am I worried about where's my income what can I afford gonna be fertilizer before I figure that out. Worms eating my eyeballs out. eewww.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ah the good 'ole Social Democrats sounding-off about 'fairness' when it comes to tax. Always good for a laugh! OR ARE THEY.

    We keep hearing that, if you impose this tax at that level you'll only make £X, or if you tax the rich they'll either leave the country or get their accountants to design schemes to avoid the tax. So perhaps starting from a general agreement about what is and is not fair and then woking out specifics is not as silly as it first appears.

  • Comment number 10.

    Arguably the most successful country in the world is Germany. It is a high tax high investment country. Business and universities work together to make the things the world wants to buy e.g. cars,wind turbines etc. The infrastructure, transport, health and social supports are first class. We have been stuck in a political system of dutch auctions of reduced taxation for too long. We all hate taxation but the benefits have never been explained by the media. Time for some positive taxation messages.

  • Comment number 11.

    There already is a property tax it's called Council Tax.
    Second homes can be taxed via the council tax system already. If there is a problem with 2 million quid homes, then all they need to do is change the tax bandings.
    There you are job done, next problem?

  • Comment number 12.

    YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

    ...and as WOTW has often commented.

    It was the greed of the banks that screwed up the entire economy. The tax payers have subsequently had the pleasure of picking up the tab...and now all the pathetic BBC can report on is how the future tax take can be increased on the plebs!!!

    Not a single banker or politician has been put before a judge over this, the greatest fraud (read transfer of wealth from rich to poor) in history.

    The word cowardice to describe the BBC's part in this unfolding disaster is not nearly strong enough.

    Robin Hood indeed!

  • Comment number 13.

    The whole system of property taxation in UK is absurd - largely due to the self interest of political and financial elites gaming the system. In the fallout from 'snoutgate' and the need to raise more tax then it will surely be reformed. Suggestions -

    Tax second properties NOT let to tennants ( including 'holiday' homes ) commensurate to the owners income, regardless of their domicile status.

    Do away with tax relief on 'buy to let' mortgages, and tax property letting as per corporation/business tax regime, including capital gains.

    Reform stamp duty system by getting rid of the steps, and charging from the first £1 of the transaction upward without limit.

    Reform archane nimby palnning law, and encourage building of a lot more housing WHERE IT IS IN DEMAND.





  • Comment number 14.

    If there are only 70-80,000 houses worth more than £2m then this proposed tax can only be seen as an envy tax with a return that is hardly worth the setting up of the collection methods.

    Why not instead tax owners of empty homes? There are thought to be almost 1 million of these in the UK which is a real scandal.

  • Comment number 15.

    Is it "Fair" that banks and investment firms were bailed out with public monies? Let us not loose site of the birth of the problem. I think banking/invesment profits should bare much of this costs and that they should expereince some lesser profits to address the problem they created. This silly notion that any curb on their obscene behaviors is somehow bad for business is generated by banking PR firms and not an actuality. Reductions in public spending is certainly in order and if that could be accomplished in some fair way that would be admirable, but politicians will protect their own and friends. One area of public "spending" is revenue lost because of tax advantages given banking and large businesses. The welfare by governments to the private sector needs to be balanced as well. When the middle class disappears completely the next thing to come is revolution. Economist have this tendency to only see the top as important, mainly in hopes of lucrative speaking and report writing agreements, and veiw the peons of the public as helpless sheep directed by their banking and political herders. The private sector wants everything but the responsability for their behavior. We don't need social workers, we need more estate gardeners.

  • Comment number 16.

    IMHO we need to immediately introduce 2 taxes:

    1 Land Value Tax (which is NOT a Property tax) - this taxes the ultra-rich land-owners, who gain wealth as a consequence of what we put around that land. They cannot avoid it and they cannot pass it on (law of natural economics). This could then be used to subside tax reductions to the hard-working (e.g. through tax threshold increases, and basic rate of tax reductions). Take a look at http://www.urbantools.org for instance and http://poweromics.blogspot.com/2009/08/land-of-free-but-whos-paying-for-it.html for instance.

    2. Gambling Tax - high percentage level of tax applied to investment banking, trading, hedge funds etc. This tax would at least create some value to society from such socially useless (and arguably morally corrupt) activities. It would also make profiteering from gambling much harder, and focus more attention on trying to create real wealth instead. See http://poweromics.blogspot.com/2009/11/hypocrisy-corruption-and-battle-ahead.html for instance.

    These will deter profiteering from gambling as well as profiteering by simply owning land (whilst adding no value at all).

  • Comment number 17.

    When i did economics, taxation was the basis of a wealth redistribution. It is always a matter of who and how much, the details are varied and technical and armies of lawyers and accountants are employed drafting the legislation and subsequently avoiding the taxes.
    However, going back to the opening gambit, the very need to redistribute tells us that there are discrepancies, often very large, between those who "win" or "lose" in the dominant ideology of our time, broadly speaking that is (was) free market economics. Without going back over old blog ground, recent events have rather suggested that the fundamentals of this sytem of thought, have "broken" under the observed failure of the global financial system. That system of thought was neither deterministic or based upon realistic models of human bevaviour (homo economicus etc) yet its failing orthodoxy remains a basic article of faith in our approach to all things market based. One can only conclude that it is, as was always argued by our Marxist brethern, ideological in its foundation, based on the notion that inequalities will be tolerated providing those at the bottom or disenfrachised can be contained within the overall framework.
    This assumption creates obvious tensions in our society, as the existing paradigm breaks down; the financial system is the most obvious example, but the inexorable slide towards a likely six degrees of global warming is the human frog being boiled, by what Lord Stern referred to as the biggest [Economic] market failure in history. Those at the heart of this failing paradigm cannot bring about the corrective measures to save us, as there is a giant conflict of interest at ats core: they are mostly the biggest "winners" from continuing the status quo.
    The only thing that might save our grandchildren would be a basic adoption of moral philosophy such that all forms of "extreme" wealth are viewed with extreme disdain as a kind of sickness, predicated on a rejection of utilitarian destruction of our co-operative instincts and need to preserve of our habitat.
    I think the saying was "live simply so that others may simply live."

  • Comment number 18.

    If you've worked hard, bought a house, then seen its value rise, why should you be penalised ? This isn't taxation - it's the vindictive, populist application of jealousy. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 19.

    12. At 2:37pm on 30 Nov 2009, BankSlickerminustheR

    Well said that man.

  • Comment number 20.

  • Comment number 21.

    16. At 2:46pm on 30 Nov 2009, leanomist wrote:

    I agree - why not tax land ownership more and useful and productive labour less?

    If the Lib Dems want real radical tax reform for a fairer system why not borrow some of James Robertson's ideas on shifting the tax burden onto land ownership and use of common resources?

  • Comment number 22.

    I would think that the Lib Dems policy on taxation will win them some votes but you have to stand aghast in total bemusement when looking at a Labour government that for 15 years has preached and lectured all and sundry on fairness, equality and who is and who isn't a preferred toff and wonder why our Labour hypocrite government has deliberately operated a grossly unfair squeezing tax system for the low income sector of the population and throwing knighthoods at bankers/non. doms. Raising the threshold will also assist many pensioners with the tax threshold; simple common sense measure that can have massive benefits for the silent majority.

    It's not very often there is something to be genuinely excited about - but politicians trying to make real sense and connect with ordinary people is a rarity in our 'Sleaze Museum' parliamentary system.

    The policy is a massively underdeveloped area of potential radical sustainable taxation as in time of recession particularly ordinary low income people under threat from financial vultures of all kinds need to keep more of their money in their pocket. That is the biggest vote winner - cut income tax to the bone and load the VAT rate to say - 25%... AND.....secondary items such as tobacco, alchohol, duties and taxes on 4X4's, second homes, oligarch yatchs and other high end luxury goods particularly those imported. Not popular, of course, except with the masses who are to vote in the general election.

    Someone has made a lot of money in the last few years - where did most of it go (tax havens?) When you find it - TAX IT!

    Also, great news on house tax as many of the big houses are also held by 'non. dom foreign vulture raiders' (but I think that the tax should taper into the £2 million threshold from about £1.75M house market value through to full tax at about £2.4 house value).

    Stamp duty also needs reform to enable ordinary people to move around without a cost and again - load the mansions with stamp duty and wallop those taking advantage of the myriad of tax loop-holes and off-shore.

    One wonders how and why the Tories have been left high and dry on this. Labour can only and should now apologise for Gordon Brown's toxicomic, taxonomist shufflenomics.

    All those Labour spin tax experts out there - reeling in the wake, still throwing stones around in their glasshouses.

    Looks like we'll be seeing and hearing of Messrs Clegg, Cable and Salmond
    after the next general election, in an increasingly likely hung parliament.

    I must say I'm really impressed with Messrs Clegg and Cable for taking it on and trying to make some sense of taxation in the bigger picture. But this is only a start - a bold and adept politician can really gain ground here by going further with new policies (so that eliminates all of Labour's 'danger mice' government!)

    The general election will be 'won' by the party that squeezes the 'non dom raiders' the hardest - because that is where the UK is leeching and where there is plenty on untapped cash to be milked - the UK is being drained by the flight of cash and capital overseas.

    But the UK tax system is woefully inadequate for most ordinary UK tax payers - foreign immigrant workers in the UK take jobs off Britsih workers and most pay little or no tax at all, in any tax jusdiction - How can British workers compete with that?

    This may still be just a gimmick by the Lib Dems as they are soft on immigration and protecting British workers but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt - we need to see a comprehensive set of tax reforms and and be able to trust someone to implement them, if elected to government.

    The point is that when you have millions of people who are in the country illegally, paying little or no taxes - any kind of tax system is a complete mockery for those who do pay e.g PAYE tax, like 'lemming idiots'. This is something the politicians just do not get - 'they do not get it'!

  • Comment number 23.

    A land tax is not a good idea unless it differentiates for e.g residential, industrial enterprse and agriculture.

    An old house that I tried to get Listed with English Heritage (the first steel fabricated house in the UK) had its roof taken off by a non dom property developer (to deliberately run down the property and avoid its listing) and who also misled its elderly owner about e.g. thinking it was being bought for family occupation. The developer got planning permission for ugly flats demolished the old house and has traded it for its development and apparently, has also invested in property development, in Dubai?

    The point being is that taxes are useless unless the money is spent properly - the notional temporary increase in value of the old house getting planning permission and being demolished probably resulted in that value in the development rights being taken out of the UK instead of being invested in a UK sustainable building project. If you raise money from land it needs to be reinvested in the UK and not taken overseas by a raider or given anyway overseas by an incompetent UK government.

    All money is completely useless unlesss it is spent properly! Raising taxes on land to e.g pay social welfare benefits would completely ruin the country (Yes - I know - we're almost already there). Taxing land reduces its land use into lower tier inefficiency - the exception being housing because you have to live somewhere and it is easy to tax.

  • Comment number 24.

    UPF advisory note 13

    The following is an advisory note issued by the United Peoples Front

    Members have recently indicated their concern that the levels of taxation may increase.
    And more particularly the introduction of a mansion tax, and we give further details of the same below:

    A mansion is defined not by its value but by its size and location.
    In this country a mansion is a dwelling house with a gross internal floor area in excess of 10,000 sqft occupying a location that a person would describe as significant.
    A mansion can in fact be in poor condition and uninhabitable.

    Now we at the UPF having considered the issue of mansion tax, advise any of our members in possession of a mansion to undertake the following:

    If you receive a tax demand for the ownership of a mansion, we recommend that you issue a reversionary promise to pay note drawn against loan money extended by the Treasury to the various financial institutions on your behalf.

  • Comment number 25.

    There is something unfair about a tax that is based on something you own as opposed to something you earn. The thing that you own has already been paid for out of taxed income so how can you be taxed onn it again? Also, how about if you have a 90% mortgage on the property and so you get taxed on something that you don't even own? Finally, why does just one property valued at £1-2 million count? How about that great stalwart of the Liberal Democrat party Chris Huhne, who owns 7 properties that whilst individually being below the threshold, collectivley are. What is the difference?

  • Comment number 26.

    OK.....
    So we're in the biggest global recession known to man.
    There's something like 2.5 million people un-employed.
    The economy is on its knees.
    Rubbish is being left in the streets.
    There are marches once again on the streets of Britain.
    People can't afford to heat their house or pay for their electricity.

    And....they talk about somebody's mansion that may or may not get taxed!

  • Comment number 27.

    This is another half baked policy. Those with high mortgages will pay the same as those with no mortgage. Those with more than one house each worth less than £2m will pay nothing. And worst of all, once they get this type of tax through then it won't be long before they alter the cap...£1.5m... £1.0m...£750,000....£500,000 etc. Just remamber what happened to stamp duty when Gordon Brown needed more cash. It went from 1% to 4%.

  • Comment number 28.

    I live, not that far, from a stately home, well actually it's a palace, in Oxfordshire - Blenheim. The land owned by the Duke extends far beyond it's high perimeter (4 mile long!) stone walls, much of it rented to farmers.

    If it came up for sale on the open market it's value, I have no doubt, could well exceed £150million. He does have to pay council tax on this pile though - band H. Seems a bit on the low side to me, though. Especially as he has pea-sized pale gravel from Normandy laid to the front courtyard, (which you're not actually allowed to walk on, if you could take the trouble to read the sign, please!)

    The Tories introduced the council tax banding system. I wonder why they didn't think that really large houses should have to pay a really large share of council tax? Or why Labour did nothing to change it either???

  • Comment number 29.

    16# we have a land value tax it is called rates, we have a second land value tax called IHT.

    Ah the gambling tax idea. Leaving aside that I do not agree that much of financial services is gambling (although some is) lets looks at what happened when Lab changed tax on gambling on the horses - half the bookies went offshore. Sidden;y your idea makes less sense

    17# clearly you learnt economics in the 1960s and 70s when left wing myths held sway. Tax is predominately about one thing, raising of revenue to pay for govt policy, for some taxes (the sin taxes) there is the secondary motive of using tax to change people's behavior by making harmful things more expensive. Redistribution as an aim has always failed. The sad fact is that the best sort of tax is one that is both simple to collect and collects small amounts from a large number of people (eg VAT), a bad tax is one that raises small amounts by charging a few people an awful lot and thereby becomes expensive to collect (arguably IHT). This is one reason why some suggest a flat income tax.

    2# Now if your stats are correct 10,000 people earning over £1m and most over £2.5m means a total income of say £15-20 billion a significant chunk of which is recycled into the real economy because of what they buy, the hire of nannies, gardeners etc. Now assuming that they all pay tax (unlikely) that is going to result in a direct tax bill of say £5 billion and probably another £2 billion due to their recycling of money to nannies and goods. So if you tax them till the pips squeak and they all leave our GDP goes down by circa £20+ billion and tax revenues by £5-8bn. What services were you planning to cut as a consequence of the loss of tax revenue or were you going to tax everyone else that much more?

  • Comment number 30.

    Following on from Post 23 :-

    Land Value Tax implementation should/would focus on taxing the market value of land, based on the planning restrictions that apply to it (residential, commercial, industrial). These would change as/when any changes to land use were agreed (which removes the speculation/profit you refer to, as well as the developer removing the roof in order to avoid a property tax!).

    The use of taxes raised from Land Value Tax should also be used to support real wealth creation/enterprise, which helps to create jobs (rather than simply paying people to do nothing) and the point made here was well made. Thank-you.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think they'll end going down the development land tax route.

    Land released from the green belt when sold will be taxed. With 50% + of the uplift in value going to the government.

    They could do it under the guise of providing more lands for homes.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sorry for second post but I forgot something.

    22# I agree with a lot you say. It is nice to see at least one party trying to come up with a tax policy and Clegg et al deserve some credit for putting their head above the parapet - but now I have to shoot them down.

    Firstly their numbers are unlikely to add up. They make the usual assumptions about income from anti-avoidance measures which never deliver the numbers predicted. The Mansion tax would be simple to avoid, the restrictions on pension relief make private pensions unworkable (maybe that is their idea) and the CGT ideas are even dafter than the pension ideas.

    Secondly they claim it is radical when in fact it is merely tinkering.

    Lets be radical. Why have we income tax and NI - merge the two taxes so people understand what they are paying (which is of course why no govt will ever do it).

    Income tax threshold set at 50% of average national wage. VAT at 20-25% but on everything.

    IHT abolished

    Income tax to be tax on both income and capital gains - flat tax say at 30% with only exemptions to be
    1. Charitable donations (except to political parties)
    2. Pension contributions (no cap)
    3. Main home
    4. Some sort of business exemption to encourage UK small businesses
    Big increase in stamp duty on houses to damp down any new property boom.

    I would also cap the maximum amount of tax anyone can pay at say £5m per year.

    Now I have to say I have no idea whether the numbers at up but at least my ideas are radical. Most of the really rich would not bother with tax avoidance because at these rates is is barely worth it. The rest of us would have much simpler tax returns and we could cut HMRC staff and get them to concentrate on tax fraud.

    Of course my ideas will never happen because too many politicians like a complicated tax system which allows them to reward certain groups of people and charge others without it being obvious. Lab would say it was robbing the poor to pay the rich - of course it never crosses their minds that many of the poor if given the chance have the abilities and desire to become rich. My system would be simpler, coherent and cheaper to collect which is more than politicians can achieve (after my lab rant I feel I must end with a Tory rant - this is the party that in modern times introduced the worst form of tax of all, raised little money, annoyed everyone, and was expensive to collect - the poll tax)

  • Comment number 33.

    Post 29 - rates were replaced by a property tax - the council tax - which replaced the person tax (poll tax). land is also not subjected to inheritance tax in the same way as property is either. lastly, if you want to promote a future based on gambling ... good luck ... but I think you'll find it'll only be the bookies who will win (cf all the recent taxpayers bailouts). with regard to land value tax etc I would also personally recommend reading James Robertson's work on this too*, as I do not have the time to explain it here.

    * e.g. http://www.jamesrobertson.com/article/taxshift.pdf

  • Comment number 34.

    @12, BankSlickerminustheR explained that this is a tax on the inoccent.

    @25, geofffromleeds explained that a tax that's no applied to a cash transfer is itself unfair.

    They are both absolutely right. So can we get rid of ownership tax. We can tax property via capital gains, raise local government tax from income or sales tax and let ordinary people live decently? Or is that too complicated for politicians? If the Liberals cannot grasp these simple ideas, what hope is there that the Labs or Cons can?

    Most of all, if we want a Robin Hood tax, shouldn't it be firstly on the people who did the original robbing, the fat bankers? And shouldn't it also hit the Sheriff of Nottingham who let the situation develop? Let the bankers, GordyB and Tony Bliar feel the cold wind of taxation.

  • Comment number 35.

    12. At 2:37pm on 30 Nov 2009, BankSlickerminustheR wrote:

    It was the greed of the banks that screwed up the entire economy. The tax payers have subsequently had the pleasure of picking up the tab...and now all the pathetic BBC can report on is how the future tax take can be increased on the plebs!!!

    Not a single banker or politician has been put before a judge over this, the greatest fraud (read transfer of wealth from rich to poor) in history.

    The word cowardice to describe the BBC's part in this unfolding disaster is not nearly strong enough.

    Lately, I have found myself asking - Why are the BBC not asking this?

  • Comment number 36.

    The LibDems - what are they for again? Oh yes, abandoning their entire manifesto as soon as there is even the vaguest snift of a chance of coalition power. Folks, debating LibDem policy statements is rather a waste of time - they'll never see the light of day anyway. Move on, nothing to see here...............

  • Comment number 37.

    32. At 4:09pm on 30 Nov 2009, Justin150 wrote:

    Sorry for second post but I forgot something.

    22# I agree with a lot you say. It is nice to see at least one party trying to come up with a tax policy and Clegg et al deserve some credit for putting their head above the parapet - but now I have to shoot them down.

    >>>>>>>>>>>

    There is plenty that can be done but the UK tax system is over complex - and still does not deliver and is about 30 years out of date.

    What is needed is a decision matrix for testing all public spending -
    - all public spending should make a material contribution to reducing unemployment?
    - must make a material impact on encomically and environmentally sustainable projects etc

    When this kind of reasoning is applied - it makes it harder for governments to overspend - and ensures that less money is leeched overseas with flight of cash, capital, knowledge, resources.

    Takes brainpower and sheer boldness - but do we have a politician(s) who can deliver? Where is it going to come from? There is enough money in the economy but anyone would think that the UK had been hit by an asteroid or something - according to the UK government we've lost just a few percentage points of GDP but the UK is near meltdown and chaos?

    I think the problem is that the UK 'middle of the road' political entrenchment is what is preventing the politicians from doing what is needed - politics is about winners and losers - sometimes the winners have to do less winning for a while.

  • Comment number 38.

    32.

    I liked the idea of a poll tax - it just was not implemented properly and was set at too high a figure.

    The principle that nearly every adult should try and pay something towards the cost of the services they receive is the fairest system of all and would reduce sky high council taxes into something fairer - at least, in theory.

  • Comment number 39.

    Let’s see some common sense regarding tax. If you don’t encourage wealth creation you do not increase tax revenue. Reduce top rate back to 40p.
    Why take NI then pay it back in tax credits, employing thousands to do so?
    Make the cost of living cheaper, therefore cost of employing staff lower and everyone can spend what the earn where they like. More people in work, less social security expense, more tax collected everyone is happy.
    Hire tax on luxury items (eg cars over £20K & large flat screen tv’s) & reduce the tax on necessities.
    Return electric, gas, water, bus & rail to public ownership.
    An extra tax we are paying now is 5% above base rate on mortgages when a year ago it was 1% above base rate. We are being robbed by the banks which are killing off any recovery after the tax payer bailed them out.

  • Comment number 40.

    38. At 4:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, nautonier wrote:

    Poll tax doesn't work well because people are mobile, houses on the other hand are not, they can't escape.

  • Comment number 41.

    It's fun to read all the different ideas for taxation. Everyone does a good job of identifying their own areas of interest and then skirting around, mopping up other people's assets while avoiding their own.

    So here are my ideas, using that approach:

    First, I am about to be forced to retire early, so I am going to be on a fixed income in future. So I want any policy to keep inflation very low (preferably negative...).

    Secondly, I want to sell my house and use some pension/savings to buy another one. As my savings are fixed, I'd like to minimise the cost of moving house, but I definitely want to move. So, contrary to many posting here, I want stamp duty abolished, at least for the next year.

    Third, as I will be on a fixed income, I want income tax allowances to be increased until I don't pay any tax. I'm willing to work the the Inland Revenue to ensure that their scales are properly linked to my income from pension and savings.

    I'd like council tax to be paid for from a central pot, taken from central taxation - say VAT? This council tax should have set-aside for older people's bus passes, meals-on-wheels, eand so on. ("Older" means "someone who has retired.")

    Finally (until I remember something else - your memory is shot-through at my age), I'd like the government to set up a special savings fund for older people (i.e. people my age and older) that pays 5% above inflation on our savings.

  • Comment number 42.

    38. At 4:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, nautonier wrote:

    32. Said

    "I liked the idea of a poll tax - it just was not implemented properly and was set at too high a figure.

    The principle that nearly every adult should try and pay something towards the cost of the services they receive is the fairest system of all and would reduce sky high council taxes into something fairer - at least, in theory."

    I agree 100%: The objective was good - the implementation was ridiculous. But I can't say I know how to do it well.

    I'm tempted to think that a sales tax (VAT-local) is the answer, as that relieves those that are REALLY poor. Exempt food and other necessities.

  • Comment number 43.

    29# regarding comment 17, I "leant" my economics in the 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. Do the same left wing myths apply to the current Keynsian "stimulus" packages adopted by most G20 countries, alongside the de facto nationalisation of major elements of the US and UK banking systems. Under free market orthodoxy these would have been allowed to fail; no intervention would have been necessary as the market would "adjust" to reflect market perception of changed in asset values and buyers and sellers would win or lose accordingly. The invisible hand wiggles its finger and we are all back at the dining table with another square meal, except that's not what happened!
    No problem for my thinking, but if your wedded to laiser fair markets, "the Washington concensus" is over (Gordon Brown's words not mine). Except, in my humble opinion, that's not what he really meant, he meant that "the experimental results did not fit the hypothetical predications from the model because the experimental design [regulatory failings] was wrong!" There are experiments in physics which produce mind-blowing results that cannot be currently explained by well-founded and accepted physical theories, far more rigourously tested and deterministic than anything economics can rely upon, but that does not mean that the physicists dismiss the experimental design, especially if it has been verified by others.
    Economics, as currently constituted and mediated via the political system, is leading humanity over the edge of a precipise, at the bottom of which no one can accurately predict the outcome, save that to be sure, those least able to bear the consequences will pay the highest price. To adapt a phrase from Adam Smith, perhaps we could call this the "invisible hammer."

  • Comment number 44.

    Peter# Post 36 - u have summed this, and Lib Dems, up perfectly. No need to say more.

  • Comment number 45.

    UPF advisory note 11

    The following is an advisory note issued by the United Peoples Front

    Now we at the UPF having noted that many have raised concerns over various comments and articles written by those purporting to understand economics and business, and we advise our members as follows:

    A person engaged in the production and presentation of articles on economics and business for public consumption hereinafter referred to as a journalist, is a member of the public who by virtue of their literary excellence and political leaning has been appointed to put forward a view on a given subject matter.

    Members should note that political leaning does not necessarily indicate a definite pre-disposition to follow, support or vote for any given political party, it refers to the angle of repose that any given journalist may occupy on any given day

    The angle of repose can be calculated by the sum of all the said journalist's pre-tax earnings in the past five years divided by the sum of all the projected pre-tax earnings for the next five years.

    If the calculation reveals a figure less than one, the journalist will have an angle of repose to the right and if greater than one to the left.

    A figure exactly equal to one indicates that the journalist is in fact an alien.

  • Comment number 46.

    32, Justin150

    I agree with much of what you said, but why make the main home free of capital gains tax? With sensible increases in house prices and reasonable allowances, it would not be a great burden on most people. And why apply VAT to food, books and children's clothing? Taxing education is not a good way forward. In fact, it's catastrophically bad. And taxing eating is a bit doubtful!

    To those who say that everyone should pay some tax, it's a nice idea. But, it costs the rest of us money to collect a tax such as poll tax and then pay it back as something else. We need a system that is simple, fair and efficient.

  • Comment number 47.

    4. At 2:13pm on 30 Nov 2009, WolfiePeters wrote:

    "I have previously pointed out that there are a lot of people living in over £ 1M houses, who have done nothing to generate the economic crisis."

    ...so that's all the millionaire house owners who haven't re-mortgaged and bought / invested in something else (bubble money).

    ....and all those owners who haven't sold and bought again in the last 10 - 15 years (more bubble money)

    ...and all those property landlords who have million pound properties in their portfolios (bubble bath money)

    Many have played their part - whether they realise it or not. The old (and small minority) of little old ladies living in mansions after their children have left is the same argument used to denounce council tax as unfair - but I don't see any campaigns against that at the moment.
    This argument is working against housing efficiency - is it right that one old lady lives in a 6 bed house when a family struggles in a flat? I realise the house may have sentimental value - but surely sentiment is for Socialists and not for the free market (oh, but is it really free?)

    ..and is it really fair that someone who owns over a million in property has the right to earn a state pension? Surely the state pension is for the lowest earners and poorest retiree's. I'm not saying which is right or wrong, but once you start down the raod of 'logic' then you will find many of the ways things are done in this country are in fact bizarre at the least - and grossly unfair too.

    (I would also point out that the Lib Dem's changed their policy and now it's only property over 2 million)

    Nonetheless, the policy of capital gains doesn't work until the property is sold - and if you look at the 'stackers' in the property world they are simply remortgaging (no tax, extending debt) and using that to speculate further. It's usually only when the collapse comes do the landlords sell - by which time there is often very little capital gain which to tax.

  • Comment number 48.

    Doesnt really matter what the libdems say does it. They could propose a cake tax, so what.

  • Comment number 49.

    38.
    The issue about a 'poll tax' is that it would set up the mechanism to see who is in the country and what they are doing and where they are - it is the same as having an identity card system without having an identity card only it would be revenue raiser and not just carrying plastic ID for the sake of government spin. This is essential for proper government planning and the big brother issues raised by some would be no more intrusive than the current hotch potch ineffective systems.

    If there is penalty for not registering and paying a poll-tax (community charge) say £2,000? - then believe me everyone would register and pay it if is just say £100 pa maximum?

    The idea of taxation is to kill more than one bird with the same stone. I think Labour had a good idea with a ID card but was ill thought out and would not be implemented properly.

    If you know that you cannot e.g get treatment with the UK national health service becaue you have not paid your community charge - then most people would pay the community charge immediately.

    Immigrants would, of course, pay a much higher community charge so that they do not steal public money and services off the British taxpayer. They would in effect be paying for services while temporarily in the UK.

    Not everything is as it appears - an enhanced community charge could be a very good way of raising revenue - be cost effective and could reduce layer after layer of government red tape - if properly implemented.

    A national community charge card carrying important details and personal information would be exteremely useful if the overall tax system is overhauled. Could also be used for personal taxation returns and all government business.

    The way forward for UK personal tax is to treat them fairly and as individuals - a community charge card would enable this and would be no more of an inconvenience than carrying a credit card and does not need to show any personally identifiable information. This could also be linked with finger printing and bio metrics - if you're serious about counter - terrorism this is essential information for the police/government.

    Using a community charge card at the point of service would enable more efficient review and analysis of providing government services for better overall cost management.

    Remember on this community charge card system - the council tax would go completely and the charge for being resident in London could be easily raised to be higher than e.g. South Shields.

    I'm sorry but we'll have to agree to disagree on this one with this expanded view of using the community charge.

    This is 2009 and not 1809!

  • Comment number 50.

    I can't believe that we are still only blaming the bankers for the current crisis. Sure they had a role to play - but so did Government, the regulators and all those that took the credit they were offering and couldn't repay it.

    They are however, risk taking organisations - thats why we (used) to get interest on savings and while change is clearly needed, knee-jerk over regulation isn't going to help the longer-term prosperity of the nation either.

    Its been hard for many over the past year or so and may well be for some time to come but the rich bashing that has become popular with the general public and on the political scene isn't going to help us long term either. Prosperity creates a hierarchy of wealth which in turn creates employment and drives the economy. No rich may well ultimately end up meaning a lot more poor.




  • Comment number 51.

    this tax on propertys over 2m plus,
    Would the owners have to pay the tax if they had a mortgage of 1.9m?

  • Comment number 52.

    More debauchment of reality brought to you by the BBC. Who cares what the Liberal Democrats say - they are unlikely to be in power any time soon. Even if they are they will merely follow the orders of their paymasters.

    Who cares if you tax expensive properties? Tax too much and the rich will up sticks and move and then those same properties will become rather more inexpensive. The whole thing is based on maintaining the housing asset ponzi scheme in any event.

    Here is some news:

    In the Washington Post Ben Bernanke offers the following thoughts: "As a nation, our challenge is to design a system of financial oversight that will embody the lessons of the past two years and provide a robust framework for preventing future crises and the economic damage they cause."

    Meanwhile according to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the worldwide total of just the unregulated, over-the-counter derivatives alone was $604.6 trillion at mid-year 2009. Although down from 2008 peak levels, it was up sharply from year-end 2008.

    Yeah right thne crisis is over and if we only squeeze a billion or so out of some rich guys house we can all live happily ever after.

    Was it not John Lennon who beseeched "Just give me some truth"

    So c'mon, c'mon tell the people why there is absolutely no desire to break up the "too big to fails" and just how anybody anywhere can understand what is in a $600 trillion derivatives portfolio, who can possibly bail this out if it all goes wrong, and why anyone anywhere has evidence that it will not all go wrong?

  • Comment number 53.

    7. At 2:18pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dempster wrote:
    Yes lets tax fat cats, in fact lets tax thin cats as well, and economics editors………

    I know lets tax everybody more, but with one exception, those blogging by the name of Dempster, for by virtue of his great wisdom, and having a wife and three kids in tow and being nearly broke, he should clearly be excluded.


    --------

    Agreed, now I'm off to change my name by Deed Poll to Dempster.

  • Comment number 54.

    50. At 5:13pm on 30 Nov 2009, Forheavensake wrote:

    Good point, lets bash the poor, not going to raise much money though................ I known lets bash those in the middle they work hard earn money and are usually ease to stiff for more tax.

  • Comment number 55.

    How about a 20% Bankers and Retired Bankers Mansions Tax payable on any home owned by any banker worth more than £500k or where the banker earns more than £100k/year on whatever home they live in regardless of value.

    The justification - without the UK tax system they would not have job and they need to help out where they can.

    The justification for The Lib Dems - surely the ultimate vote winner!!

    In fact this could be expanded to also include Bankers and Retired Bankers Income Tax - a higher rate of 75% on all income over £100,000.

    Also how about 30% VAT on pin striped suits - Fat Cat VAT - catchy?

  • Comment number 56.

    48. At 5:12pm on 30 Nov 2009, glanafon

    Well I'm against a cake tax. I like cakes. So I'm not voting liberal.

  • Comment number 57.

    32. At 4:09pm on 30 Nov 2009, Justin150

    "IHT Abolished"

    I always find this puzzling - why do you want to ensure your great grandchildren never have the chance of moving up the 'wealth ladder'?

    I realise many people think they are very rich and that their inheritance will be a sizeable sum - but let me point out that your kids million pound windfall might not buy them a shed (even if it seems like a lot to you now) - especially as the BoE is devaluing the £ on a daily basis.

    No, in fact removing IHT will ensure those who are poor today will stay poor forever

    ...and don't come off with that 'american / capitalist dream' where hard work and dedication make you a wealthy man. That's just a nice story in order to keep the hamsters running hard in their wheels.

    The real answer to this quandry lies in 100% IHT - so everyone starts their life at square one - no cheating, no headstarts, no lazy children living of Daddy's wealth etc.

    However this will never work because the majority of people actually believe they would be worse off - and those who know they would be worse off use their wealth and power to ensure this never happens. In my experience I have not sat around waiting for my inheritance to come - but it's not the same for all my family. I have lost count of the number of 'posh kids' who sit around waiting for the gravy train to arrive and not achieving very much in the meantime - even though they have the best opportunities.

    Justin150 - I think you are being confused between a tax and a 'badly implemented tax'. The current system ensures that only the 'little people pay' - as most taxation in Britain as large estates are moved into trusts to avoid the IHT - whereas average properties are the ones paying.

  • Comment number 58.

    Fairness, like beauty (and a great many other things for that matter) is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think it fair that ALL income gets put into a big pot and we all share it out equally. Then we change ERNIE to pick out our social security numbers to decide which jobs we do. As long as I'm Centre Forward for Man Utd thats fine, although I hope ERNIE selected a decent sugeon if ever I need my cartilage removed!

  • Comment number 59.

    50 Forheavansake. You are truly well named. In case it has escaped your attention the masters of finance have effectively captured governmental and regulatory bodies. Therefore these agencies merely follow the orders of the financiers. If they do not follow orders with sufficient vim and vigor they are removed from office. If you don't believe me check the historical record.

    Sure some people abused "easy credit" but what do you expect them to do. Liars can't get liars loans unless there is a willing counterpart. Do you take no steps in your day to day life to prevent yourself being ripped off by the stupid or unscrupulous?

    It is manifestly untrue to argue as you do that prosperity (in its current guise) drives the economy. In the US 0.1% of the population own 6% of the wealth. The simple and unargued consequence of such wealth concentration is that it leads to a reduction in the velocity of money circulation which in turn drives economic contraction.



  • Comment number 60.

    I am about to commit heresy and criticise Vince Cable. It is about time he stopped banker bashing to divert attention from those who are equally responsible for the recession i.e. politicians, regulators, Treasury, Bank of England, as well as the rest of us taking on too much credit

    As for tax on property the top 1% already suffer the highest rates of stamp duty/council tax etc on property so all the fuss for a fairly small return is pure electioneering and smacks of envy.

    To reduce the deficit the public sector needs to be tackled, particularly salary, bonuses ( yes they get them too!) and pension provision. Private sector pensions are now largely no longer final salary for funding reasons. The same should apply to the public sector which is funded by taxpayers who are also paying for their own pensions.

    To say the above would be a vote loser for dear old Vince.

  • Comment number 61.

    #50 - the bankers are blamed because they created a mirage of wealth over the last 10 years (in part they were able to do this due to poor regulation).

    The bankers personally benefitted massively from this mirage of wealth (as admittedly did many other people) but bankers disproportionately through very large bonuses (we're talking City Bankers here mainly).

    When the mirage was uncovered the banks were effectively bankrupt but the (our) Government saved them because the effects of their mismanagement were too horrendous to allow to happen.

    Now the (our) Government needs to find the taxes and spending cuts to re fill the hole in the UK balance sheet left by the bank bail outs.

    Surely you would agree that the bankers (who are still rewarding themselves bonuses which are now being created by profits on money movements caused purely by QE in some cases) should have to pay a disproportionate part of those tax rises??

    At the moment both the Tories and Labour seem to be warming the general population up to the prospect of tax rises and spending cuts without any special aim at the good folf of the City?

    Would you like to declare if you have a vested interest?

  • Comment number 62.

    55. At 5:37pm on 30 Nov 2009, GRIMUPNORTH77

    I know, why don't we tax everybody who lives south of Stoke on Trent at 85%, that would help alot.

  • Comment number 63.

    42. At 4:50pm on 30 Nov 2009, bertrambird wrote:

    "I'm tempted to think that a sales tax (VAT-local) is the answer, as that relieves those that are REALLY poor. Exempt food and other necessities. "

    ...it's good to see all the old Communist ideals coming round again - good ideas never die they just become unfashionable.

    It reminds me of what my East German friend said to me (and she lived behind the iron curtain) when I asked her if Capitalism is better than Communism.

    "Different" she said, "I mean the good thing was that all the essentials were freely available and cheap to buy or free - like Bread, Milk, Clean water, housing".

    The queues which are often referred to by staunch Capitalists were in fact for luxury goods - which were very hard to get hold of, no matter what the price - refreshing to hear that just because you were wealthy doesn't mean you can queue jump!

    This seems much fairer than today's Capitalist culture where people can 'have what they want' (as long as they are prepared to exploit their fellow man) and they can have it NOW. However it ensures that those who aren't prepared to spend their life in the pursuit of wealth cannot get any such luxury.

    ...and people wonder why everyone spends their time and energy ammassing the green stuff in Britain?

    The system here also ensures we always have homeless and hungry people - which for a country of such wealth is appalling. Only the act of charity ensures that these people are not left dying on the streets - charity which is a tax on guilt - the guilt of the lack of societies provision for the needy.

    It's all quite simple really - all you need to decide is whether you are humane or barbarian in your outlook. The humane would rather ensure all people reach an acceptable living standard and the barbaric say 'let them eat cake'.

  • Comment number 64.

    60. At 5:44pm on 30 Nov 2009, John Everson wrote:
    I am about to commit heresy and criticise Vince Cable.

    That's not heresy, he's a main stream politician, thats just common sense.

  • Comment number 65.

    Rich people are net contributors of tax. As a percentage of their wealth they pay little but they do pay more than they use. They are always frantically trying to protect the value of the wealth that they own and make it earn more wealth. This is good for the UK. We do not want to encourage them to live somewhere else with targeted tax. Indeed if we got the economy in a decent state then they would want to move their wealth here. If we promise to do it from their pockets then they will find another place to live.

    Somewhere there is a line where people earning below that are net receivers and above that are net givers. We can choose to move the line and/or take more from the net givers. All that I hear so far is political parties trying to find a way of taking more tax without offending a potential voter. This is what you might expect but it is not the way to run a country.

    Certainly the tax system needs simplifying. This would save a lot of money administering it. There are as many ideas of 'THE' way to do it as there are people. Mine is to incorporate National Insurance into the tax scheme (will never happen) then try to reduce as much direct tax as possible and let people choose how they pay their tax with high rates of VAT (also will never happen). This would at least make the big spenders pay tax proportionate to their consumption rather than wealth.

    When enough people suffer enough pain then changes will happen, but not before. The majority of us are still very comfortable so nothing much will happen...yet.

  • Comment number 66.

    36. At 4:27pm on 30 Nov 2009, Peter wrote:

    The LibDems - what are they for again? Oh yes, abandoning their entire manifesto as soon as there is even the vaguest snift of a chance of coalition power. Folks, debating LibDem policy statements is rather a waste of time - they'll never see the light of day anyway. Move on, nothing to see here...............

    I don't think anyone believe the Lib Dems are about to win an election, but surely a hung parliament is not that far fetched? The predicted Conservative majority is only about 30 seats so it would only need a few potential Tory voters to see through the vacuous Cameron PR. Lib Dem policies could end up being much debated.

    Vince Cable for Chancellor anyone?

  • Comment number 67.

    29. At 3:50pm on 30 Nov 2009, Justin150 wrote:
    16# we have a land value tax it is called rates, we have a second land value tax called IHT.

    Ah the gambling tax idea. Leaving aside that I do not agree that much of financial services is gambling (although some is) lets looks at what happened when Lab changed tax on gambling on the horses - half the bookies went offshore. Sidden;y your idea makes less sense

    17# clearly you learnt economics in the 1960s and 70s when left wing myths held sway. Tax is predominately about one thing, raising of revenue to pay for govt policy, for some taxes (the sin taxes) there is the secondary motive of using tax to change people's behavior by making harmful things more expensive. Redistribution as an aim has always failed. The sad fact is that the best sort of tax is one that is both simple to collect and collects small amounts from a large number of people (eg VAT), a bad tax is one that raises small amounts by charging a few people an awful lot and thereby becomes expensive to collect (arguably IHT). This is one reason why some suggest a flat income tax.

    2# Now if your stats are correct 10,000 people earning over £1m and most over £2.5m means a total income of say £15-20 billion a significant chunk of which is recycled into the real economy because of what they buy, the hire of nannies, gardeners etc. Now assuming that they all pay tax (unlikely) that is going to result in a direct tax bill of say £5 billion and probably another £2 billion due to their recycling of money to nannies and goods. So if you tax them till the pips squeak and they all leave our GDP goes down by circa £20+ billion and tax revenues by £5-8bn. What services were you planning to cut as a consequence of the loss of tax revenue or were you going to tax everyone else that much more?

    ---------

    I always like to look on the bright side, and if we send these rich people and their money offshore, we may reduce the number of poor in the country as I believe that the average (or was it the median) wage would go down and that is used to measure Poverty.

  • Comment number 68.

    61 Grim up N

    Glad your back from the weekend. Just thought I'd say. Hey its only 7 days till next monday.

    grim up, must be your birthday soon. No dont post it on a public forum. Anyway happy birthday soon, bottoms up.

  • Comment number 69.

    What about legalising drugs and prostitution then taxing them?

    Since the links between speeding and the death rate on the roads are tenuous, how about doing away with penalty points for speeding and increasing the fines. I'd pay more to get home faster...

    I wrote in jest but on reflection, rather good ideas I think.

    I reckon I could teach Vince and the Liberal team a thing or two about economic policy...

  • Comment number 70.

    58. At 5:40pm on 30 Nov 2009, DevilsAdvocate

    Despite your insanity.....I agree with that idea.

    How exciting would it be not knowing what career you are doing next week - and what a great way to understand and empathise with others doing that job.
    ...and would it be any worse than currently? I mean if ERNIE picked Joe Schmo to be Prime minister would he actually be able to do a worse job than either the current encumbant or the expected next one?

    Lets call this policy 'Workforce randomising' - if you're lucky it might get adopted by a REAL political party like the UPF (judean branch)

  • Comment number 71.

    54 johnny demp

    Youre getting there padawan, hit the road, middle of the road. You can only take money from people with money, if you aint got nuthin you got nuthin to loose.

    Cake, yes cake should be tax free. It is actually, biscuits arnt. Cakes go hard with time, biscuits go soft. Let them eat cake. Who said that.

  • Comment number 72.

    38. At 4:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, nautonier wrote:
    32.

    I liked the idea of a poll tax - it just was not implemented properly and was set at too high a figure.

    The principle that nearly every adult should try and pay something towards the cost of the services they receive is the fairest system of all and would reduce sky high council taxes into something fairer - at least, in theory.
    ---------
    I think you hit the nail on the head there, the idea was good, BUT, they just could not resist the temptation to rake in more money so even though far more people paid, the amount each paid meant that often the tax increased so even 2 person households paid a combined amount more than they did with the old tax. In fact I'm not sure I knew anyone who paid less.

  • Comment number 73.

    40. At 4:43pm on 30 Nov 2009, Dempster wrote:
    38. At 4:35pm on 30 Nov 2009, nautonier wrote:

    Poll tax doesn't work well because people are mobile, houses on the other hand are not, they can't escape.

    ----------
    HM Revenue & Customs seem to find me wherever I go :-(

  • Comment number 74.

    I can't accept that any kind of property tax is either good or fair. Far better to do it through income for ordinary domestic dwellings, £2m or not. Maybe there are a few palaces that could be targeted but I'd say they're in the minority.

    There was a time the Lib Dems were going to introduce a fairer council tax based on income rather than property value. Looks like they reneged on that one. What's worse is inheritance tax, also based on property and which, because the givernment has been slow to increase the threshold, has put about 15/100 of households in the UK within reach of this crooked and despised tax... merely because their property has increased in value way above inflation and that threshold.

    If I vote at all it will be for a party ready to deal with such horrid taxes so that ordinary householders aren't penalised twice, so far as taxes go.

  • Comment number 75.

    69 forheavensake

    you are revealing your predeliction are you not

  • Comment number 76.

    60. At 5:44pm on 30 Nov 2009, John Everson wrote:

    "I am about to commit heresy and criticise Vince Cable. It is about time he stopped banker bashing to divert attention from those who are equally responsible for the recession i.e. politicians, regulators, Treasury, Bank of England, as well as the rest of us taking on too much credit"

    I am none of the above - and I didn't take out too much credit.

    Should I blame all you lot who clearly did? - or was the game stacked in my favour to start with?

    "As for tax on property the top 1% already suffer the highest rates of stamp duty/council tax etc on property so all the fuss for a fairly small return is pure electioneering and smacks of envy."

    Envy? Well it's interesting you use the phrase 'suffer' - which is not what I see the top 1% doing. Suffering is not for them - it's for the rest of us...

  • Comment number 77.

    #75 glanafon

    Yes I am - for a fairer tax system that raises more money to reduce the mountain of debt that our government, other governments, the regulators, the bankers and the defaulters brought upon us all.

  • Comment number 78.

    Abolish income tax - the state does not own your body or your labour
    Tax land not property
    Abolish IHT - your property is not the state's to confiscate
    All other taxes indirect - user pays
    We need rich people to live here - they spend here and provide jobs
    Abolish corporation tax - we need companies to come here not leave
    With sound money the bankers would not be able to make the fake profits that they are bonused on
    Make it illegal for governments to borrow - if that means they spend less, rather than sell your children into debt servitude, then so be it.

    The politics of envy is killing this nation, with the barbarism of socialism

  • Comment number 79.

    63. At 5:54pm on 30 Nov 2009, writingsonthewall wrote:
    42. At 4:50pm on 30 Nov 2009, bertrambird wrote:

    "I'm tempted to think that a sales tax (VAT-local) is the answer, as that relieves those that are REALLY poor. Exempt food and other necessities. "

    ...it's good to see all the old Communist ideals coming round again - good ideas never die they just become unfashionable.

    It reminds me of what my East German friend said to me (and she lived behind the iron curtain) when I asked her if Capitalism is better than Communism.

    "Different" she said, "I mean the good thing was that all the essentials were freely available and cheap to buy or free - like Bread, Milk, Clean water, housing".

    ---------------
    So was the wall to keep us Westerners out then?

  • Comment number 80.

    This talk of taxing expensive homes falls into insignificence when you consider the untaxed income that is still made by the fat cats in our city global financial institutions. Each individual global financial transaction should be subjected to tax. Each individual transaction to and from an offshore tax haven should be subject to a tax!

  • Comment number 81.

    I know, lets sell Scotland to the Americans, they want out anyway so we may as well raise a bit of money out of it. Better hurry up though our they'll go free on a Bosman.

  • Comment number 82.

    70. At 6:15pm on 30 Nov 2009, writingsonthewall wrote:
    58. At 5:40pm on 30 Nov 2009, DevilsAdvocate

    Despite your insanity.....I agree with that idea.

    How exciting would it be not knowing what career you are doing next week - and what a great way to understand and empathise with others doing that job.
    ...and would it be any worse than currently? I mean if ERNIE picked Joe Schmo to be Prime minister would he actually be able to do a worse job than either the current encumbant or the expected next one?

    Lets call this policy 'Workforce randomising' - if you're lucky it might get adopted by a REAL political party like the UPF (judean branch)
    -------------------

    Do they not say that to be totally rational one has to be insane? Actually they may not, I think it was G K Chesterton who said something like it - still, I was simply cutting through all the namby pamby clap trap - good God if we are going to be Socialits and fairness matters so much, lets do it properly.

    Which brings me to the UPF, if I'm not mistaken, I may be Justice Minister, or is it the shadow Justice Minister? So if I am, I will lobby for it to be part of ,in fact the only part of, the Manifesto. Lets be honest, if we do that what else is there to discuss?

    Well, would you believe it, there is another thing to discuss, I've just had a phone call asking if I'd heard the news about writing off my credit card debt. Unfortunately my fingers are so well trained at cutting off b**********s that they cut them off before I could hear the news. Damn!

  • Comment number 83.

    @ 47, writingsonthewall wrote:

    If you agree with me that the 'value' of million pound houses is just 'bubble money', how can it be wrong for the owners of such houses, particularly the ones on low incomes, to keep their houses? I still maintain that the best way to control bubble money in housing is capital gains tax, an honest (if that means anything?) tax on a cash transfer. It would be better still if we could make the greedy estate agent pay part of it.

    As for state pensions, I thought that was something we had bought through our NI contributions. Yes, I know that the government blows the contributions and pay the pension out of current tax, but, technically, we, rich or poor, have paid for it. If the government can print money to subsidise private 'financial services', they may as well do the same to for public ones?

  • Comment number 84.

    Thing is before Thatcher oldies used to downgrade, to release capital, and avoid the rates on the property. Maggie got, in a fudged way, rid of that so the oldies are staying put. Causes a log jam in housing. Helped push up prices.

    This is all a red herring the only way to sort the debt is by taxing direct and indirect across the board on spending. If you aint got it you can't spend it. If you save it you will end up contributing thru inflation. It'll go that way whatever. The idea a few richies will sort it is not up to it.

  • Comment number 85.

    Is there no end to the self induced delusion of the population. Don't you understand that the debt is of such magnitude it can never possibly be repaid through money raised via taxation.

    All the talk about taxing this or that group of people is just so much interference to assist people in thinking about anything other than the truth of the situation.

    They are trying, but so far failing, to inflate the debt away. If that doesn't work they will go for formal default and just say we are not paying so take a close look at our guns instead.

    But the holders of this toxic debt are not stupid and are making their own plans.

    One way or another the general population is going to get crushed. I used to wonder how people could have been so stupid that they could not have headed off the long march to war in the 1930's. Now I no longer wonder as the answer is writ large in every asinine piece of "news" and the pavlovian responses to that "news."

  • Comment number 86.

    78. At 6:52pm on 30 Nov 2009, truths33k3r wrote:
    The politics of envy is killing this nation, with the barbarism of socialism
    ===================
    Well, we've already been killed by the politics of greed. You know , I reckon the new LibDem taxation policy is actually pretty good contextually. Given the unusual and unpleasant economic circumstances we live in, we need to create more and new wealth, not consolidate existing wealth. This seems like a good way for the lower and middle classes to do that.

  • Comment number 87.

    #16 "Gambling Tax - high percentage level of tax applied to investment banking, trading, hedge funds etc. This tax would at least create some value to society from such socially useless (and arguably morally corrupt) activities. It would also make profiteering from gambling much harder, and focus more attention on trying to create real wealth instead."

    Interesting !! Hong Kong has a gambling tax. On a 6% betting tax, the Hong Kong Jockey Club produces sufficient tax revenue to fund about 60-70% of the HK government expenditure, year after year after year !! Then again, the Chinese are well known to be inveterate gamblers !!

    As for casino banking and related activities, all they need is to be properly regulated and taxed !!

  • Comment number 88.

    To Devils Advocate No.00000003 (shadow minister for justice, taxes, health, schools, foreign policy, the environment, beer and cake)

    I had one of those calls, the automated voice one asking do I want to write off all my debt, It was mid afternoon and decided to listen because it was the only call I'd had so far that day, I actually talked back to the auto voice.

    I being the secretary of the United Peoples Front (Wigan East branch) say: Go for it DA, give 'em hell.

  • Comment number 89.

    Why are increased taxes needed? Because billions were given to the banks. Seems like the rich got a pretty good deal in that slight of hand. Why did the financial crisis occur? Because the governments, with oversight responsibilities, failed to do their job when the banks and investment firms set in motion a scheme that had to fail. The two institutions that failed the people and betrayed everyone are now developing ways to access more our your money. I am not against new taxes, I am against creating any new revenue stream for the government, both parties, that has so failed the public trust. Some new tax plan that holds elected officials accountable and limits the access of lobbyist would be a minimum requirement. We could start with a records of the attempts to regulate the banks and investment firms and how individual members took positions on such matters. The banks should be heavily taxed: 1. because they caused this; and 2. because there needs to be some deterent actions to forestall this happening in the future. It will happen again because we have seen historically that bankers are thieves and when given the opportunity they will steal and that government officials always are available to facilitate the theft..

  • Comment number 90.

    Surely once the hyperinflationary effects of QE kick in we're all going to be living in GBP 2 million houses.

  • Comment number 91.

    85 arm n leg

    Pavlov? Is that dinner. Woof woof, are things going to get ruff ol boy. Why are you bothered. What will be will be. It will be the death of the middle class as we know it whatever. Thats why the middle class media have such a problem with it.

    Bit of a larf that the Amercians said they wanted to bomb Vietnam back to the stoneage and failed but are doing their level best to send themselves back there.

    Got any good news, complaints too gloomy I notice.

    Nice weather? Should we have a house scrappage scheme perhaps?

  • Comment number 92.

    Stephanie - I think you are letting the Lib Dems off rather lightly. (And couldn't you have used the table Nick Robinson has on his blog, so we could all see the numbers that are being proposed?)
    All the attention has gone to the Mansion Tax, when this is only expected to raise £1.7B of the £16.5B needed to fund the raising of the personal allowance. This is, to coin a phrase, a drop in the ocean - less than 0.5% of government spending and about what the government will borrow in the time between you posting this blog and it closing for comments. So, just a headline grabbing gimmick then.
    Far more significant is the proposal to stop higher rate tax relief on pensions. Don't they want people to save for retirement? After 12 years of GB stealthily increasing income tax by raising personal allowances by less than inflation, and raising the starting point for the 40% band by less than inflation (it's called fiscal drag), quite modest earners, like police sergeants, nursing sisters etc, now pay 40% tax. Not quite "soak the rich" then, is it?
    Finally, is this the extent of the Lib Dems tax proposals? Do they seriously believe that Cleggs "savage cuts" will do the trick by themselves, or are their plans for tax rises to be announced later?

  • Comment number 93.

    #22 "..secondary items such as tobacco, alchohol, duties and taxes on 4X4's, second homes, oligarch yatchs..."

    How on Earth would you tax a Monaco registered yacht without running afoul of international laws ?? Once you open that can of worms, next thing you know, *ALL* British registered vessels will be taxed by everyone all over the world !! Practical solutions, please. Not the politics of envy !!

  • Comment number 94.

    #25 "The thing that you own has already been paid for out of taxed income so how can you be taxed onn it again?"

    It's called the politics of envy.

    "How about that great stalwart of the Liberal Democrat party Chris Huhne, who owns 7 properties that whilst individually being below the threshold, collectivley are. What is the difference?"

    The difference is that he's a politician and has friends in high places.

  • Comment number 95.

    I just sent a txt to a pal of mine that's in the PFJ (Peoples Front of Judea). He says that their central bank started QE a while before us and the inflation has gone through the roof - a bag of otters noses is now 16 shekels 55 agorot, more than double what it was before the crisis.

  • Comment number 96.

    #28 "The Tories introduced the council tax banding system. I wonder why they didn't think that really large houses should have to pay a really large share of council tax? Or why Labour did nothing to change it either???"

    Contrary to popular urban myth, council tax is a tax to pay for council services. It is not supposed to be a tax on property !! Or are you saying that the local council has to drive a gold-plated garbage truck to pick up their rubbish ??

  • Comment number 97.

    Post 87: in response to post #16 ... "Gambling Tax - high percentage level of tax applied to investment banking, trading, hedge funds etc. This tax would at least create some value to society from such socially useless (and arguably morally corrupt) activities. It would also make profiteering from gambling much harder, and focus more attention on trying to create real wealth instead." ...

    ... Ishkander wrote "Interesting !! Hong Kong has a gambling tax. On a 6% betting tax, the Hong Kong Jockey Club produces sufficient tax revenue to fund about 60-70% of the HK government expenditure, year after year after year !! Then again, the Chinese are well known to be inveterate gamblers !! ... As for casino banking and related activities, all they need is to be properly regulated and taxed !!

    -------

    Thanks for the insight about the effectiveness of gambling taxes in Hong Kong - interesting indeed ... Hong Kong also appears to be keen on Land Value Tax too ... funny how leading nations do, whilst those in the west don't even look. IMHO casino banking does need to properly regulated, but it needs to be taxed more than normal gambling too (e.g. to pay back taxpayers for previous bailouts).

  • Comment number 98.

    #39 "Why take NI then pay it back in tax credits, employing thousands to do so?"

    It's called "job creation" Keynesian-style !! One man digs a hole, another fills it in. Both are employed !! However, no mention was made as to where the money is coming from to pay for them !!

  • Comment number 99.

    Lets tax heavily all Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool foreign players. But not Everton's.

  • Comment number 100.

    Well I am one of those rare breeds of Left Wingers who doesn't think the rich should be excessively taxed. This is a stupid idea that bares no relevance to the responsibility of more wealthier people to the economic realities of today. Why should we punish people for being successful. We do clearly need a more fair tax system and the tax burden should be reduced on the less fortunate and vulnerable on the basic necessities. We have high taxes on Alcohol, cigarettes and fuel, which is right becuase of the future drain they make on the NHS and harm to the environment, but we dn't penalise those who abuse their bodies through eating unhealthy food. Why not a fat tax? There should be a surcharge of around 20% on processed food and take aways. This should be balanced by higher subsidies from the government to loacl authorities to enable for pensioners and the disabled to be exempt from Council Tax and Council Tax benefit to be increased to a maximum of 50% for those on low incomes.

 

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