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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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Air Passenger Duty Cuts


Air passenger duty is a tax paid by airlines which is typically passed onto their customers within ticket costs. It is banded on the distance from London to countries’ capital cities, with a reduced rate for economy class passengers. At Budget 2014, the Government announced a significant reform to air passenger duty to bring the cost of long-haul travel down to a uniform duty rate. From 1 April 2015 any country over 2,000 miles from London will fall into the […]

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A summary of the Autumn Statement


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The Conservative Party’s summary of the Autumn Statement is as follows. Backing business all the way: Local businesses will benefit from a cap on business rate rises and an extension of rate relief. The increase in business rates next year will be capped at 2 per cent – businesses were expecting a rise of 3.2 per cent. We are also extending and expanding the doubling of small business rate relief, making more businesses eligible for it and keeping it up […]

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For City AM: It’s time to end the cruel delusion of cheap money and reckless spending


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City A.M. asked me to comment in advance of the Autumn statement. I wrote: GEORGE Osborne will present his Autumn Statement to a country in the grip of a cruel economic delusion, perpetrated against the poor and the aspirational. Welfare states everywhere are spending chronically beyond their means while papering over the cracks with easy money. Budget 2013 forecast spending in excess of receipts of about £9bn a month. Defence, criminal justice, local government and the Foreign Office have been […]

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I wish Vince agreed with Nick (and Nick stuck by his own principles)


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In his conference speech, Nick Clegg said, The Conservatives, on the other hand, have made it clear that their priority is to help some families over others, with a tax break for married couples. A tax break for some, funded through the taxes of everybody else – that tells you everything you need to know about their values. While making an argument in the Finance Bill Committee against tax privileges for favoured industries, I said, We should not say, “Actually, everybody […]

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