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An important truth about tax: history shows a limit to what people will pay


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Following the Prime Minister’s pledges on tax, the commentators are at work dissecting the implications. The Financial Times in particular is critical. An important fact seems to have been forgotten. The evidence of the past century is that there is a practical limit to how much tax a government can take. During my lifetime, it has not mattered whether governments have been of left or right, whether they have appeared to lower taxes or raise them, about 40% of GDP has been […]

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Today: no global warming for 18 years


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Via CNS News.com: The Earth’s temperature has “plateaued” and there has been no global warming for at least the last 18 years, says Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at the University of Alabama/Huntsville. Further, when asked why the UN climate models were all wrong, Dr Christy said, You’re going back to a fundamental question of science that when you understand a system, you are able to predict its behavior. […]

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The economic consequences of Scottish separation


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I received today a copy of Ewen Stewart‘s paper for the Scottish Research Society, Much Cost, Little Benefit – The economic consequences of Scottish separation. This excellent paper covers currency, debt and borrowing, public spending and taxation, oil revenues, the Scottish banks, trade, population, energy, defence and more. The conclusion is robust: Scotland will either choose continuing union or separation this September. If Scotland chooses separation, it will not be in any true sense independent. It could not exercise policy in […]

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Advancing co-operative education for the most disadvantaged


The Telegraph today reports a conversation I had with their political editor James Kirkup about the potential for co-operative free schools to create the incentives and opportunities to drive up standards for the most disadvantaged: Parents would be allowed to make a profit by running State-funded schools under plans being drawn up for the Conservative manifesto. Groups of parents would form “co-operatives” to run a free school and then be able to pay themselves dividends if the school did not […]

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In the WSJ: No Need to Panic About Global Warming


Sixteen scientists write in the WSJ: A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed. It’s a fascinating article and I […]

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Capital Gains Tax


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Concerned constituents — including basic rate taxpayers, pensioners and private residential landlords — have written to me about the Government’s proposed changes to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). In this post, I will set out details of the tax, the proposal, the arguments and my position. I conclude that the way to raise CGT revenues is to reduce the rate, ideally to under 10%. CGT and the proposals Via HMRC, “Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the profit or gain […]

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Conservative Energy Policy


As I have indicated before, the UK needs a new energy policy. Here we go: And via Conservatives propose radical overhaul of Britain’s energy policy: David Cameron and Greg Clark, the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, have launched plans for the largest overhaul of British energy policy since the early 1980s. With thirteen years of government, a succession of eleven energy ministers, and eight Secretaries of State with responsibility for energy, Labour has failed to take timely action to secure our energy supplies, […]

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Recommended reading: “Freedom for Public Services”


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The latest publication from the Centre for Policy Studies arrived today: “Freedom for Public Services” by William Mason and Jonathan McMahon. Better services at lower cost, and more fulfilling jobs for public servants, are quite possible. As ever, this CPS report is intelligent, brief, clear and insightful. The sheer scale of central regulation is shocking even as one who has begun to study the situation. Consider for example the list of regulators for the NHS: The Healthcare Commission Strategic Health […]

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