Not Mid Morning Matters

JD in the Morning, off air…

Tag: tax

Sound Policies for a (insert your hope here) Britain

There is an election coming. You may have noticed. All the parties are squaring up to each other while trying to convince you that they ‘have a plan’. They all want to ‘help’ you and yours have a better life, they all say other parties offer you nothing and scare you about why you should be afraid of them if they get in.

We are, of course, being ravaged by ‘crisis’ in all our public services, there is failure on every front and it is all everyone elses fault, but not yours. You are the victim. This was the same in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997 and so on. You didn’t ask to the barrow the money, you didn’t use the services and you said yes when you should have said no. So now, as we hope for actual leaders to actually lead and real ideas to inspire us, it’s time to test and debate what they are offering. Exciting isn’t it? Well maybe it just might be in a world of four or even five party politics.

I thought I would flesh out my own ‘manifesto’ for a healthier, wealthier, happier or any other ‘ier’ in Britain you might want. Working on the old principle that there is no such thing as a bad idea, these ‘policy headlines’ may just appear somewhere else in the next few months or at some time in the future.

Here goes.

We all pay a flat income tax at 20% of our income, after that income exceeds £15,000 per annum. National Insurance is abolished, along with VAT. Once you earn over £100,000 you then pay 30% income tax and 40% over £200,000.*

You pay a further 2% of you income to you local council.*

Fuel Duty and Vehicle Tax is abolished and you pay 2p for every 1 mile you drive.*

Both national and local councils must send you an annual receipt of what you paid and what they spent it on.

A visit to the Doctor will cost you £18.50, like a basic visit to the dentist, which is currently £18.50. The same exceptions will apply as in dental treatment and if you are undergoing treatment for a chronic illness you do not pay.

Caravans are only allowed to use the UK road network between midnight and 5am between March and November.

You must pass a test to tow a caravan and all caravans must pass an annual MOT.

You can’t get married until you are 30 years old, unless you have the written consent of all family members.

Children learning stringed musical instruments must do so in sound proof rooms.

All barriers and protective street furniture will be removed to make us all pay attention to what is actually going on around us as we walk, drive, cycle. You have a survival instinct and you can use it. Headphones are not allowed on bikes, buses or pavements

The use of traffic cones closing any lanes on our motorways must be no more that half a mile from where the work is being done or where the incident is.

All police vehicles must be marked as police vehicles.

All government departments, both local and national, must be able to clearly answer the ‘why can’t it be done’ test. And ‘we don’t have the money’ is not good enough. You are the government, act like one.

You vote for the person you want to represent you and then party you want to run the council or country.

No election counts unless 40% of those who can vote do actually vote. Any turnout below 40% means no elected representative. Anyone wants your vote must engage you for it.

All big planning applications must go to the applicable local council ward referendum. If less that 40% of those who can vote don’t vote in the referendum, the planning is passed. Over a 40% turnout a simple majority is required to pass or reject any planning application.

We all get a citizen card that is also our driving licence. This card contains details of our insurance and whether we voted or not.

If you didn’t vote shut up as nobody cares what you think.

If you are an elected official and you don’t tell the truth, claim to be one thing and then we find out you are something else you are fired.

Cyclists have to be insured to cycle and pass a basic test on the highway code.

Page three is out of date. Stop it.

Bring back Double D peanuts in the pub.

Local government deals with schools, health, police and local infrastructure.

National government deals with motorways, trains, justice, wars and foreign policy. No government department or profession effected by a government department can ‘overhauled’ or ‘reformed’ until those reforms have been discussed with those they are going to effect.

Junk mail is no longer allowed.

Christmas can’t start until 1st December. Easter can’t start until lent.

Mobility scooters are only to be sold to those who can’t walk, not to those who choose not to walk. They must also be licensed and can not go faster that 3mph.

Bond films or Carry On films must be shown on one free to air TV channel on every Bank Holiday in the afternoon.

I commend all these polices to the house and hope I can count on your vote. Some of the above may not vote winning.

*Sums may not add up, much like everything else that has come out of HM Treasure since 1945

You are going to have pay more tax.

In the west, Bath and North East Somerset have revealed that they are looking to cut spending on early years provision by £2.3 million over the next two years. Bristol City Council is now facing further budget cuts of £90 million on top of what they have already have cut. Central Government will also have to cut more public services and welfare if the country is ever likely to pay back the debt. All rather bleak isn’t it?

Does it have to be like this? Could you pay more?

There are a number of painful realities we all need to face here. If you or the country borrow money then you have to pay it back. The only way to do that is by using the money you earn to do it. If you don’t earn enough you either prioritize your income so you pay what you’ve borrowed back or you have to earn more money to do it. The reality is hard and, for many, very difficult but there is no other way, other than to extend the length of time you pay the debt back. This will always cost you more money.

There are those who think public services are a right and public money grows on trees. There answer is to tax the wealthy more to pay for it. The trotting out of ‘tax the bankers bonuses more’ is a very popular solution offered to the public spending shortfall. That, like the idea of the Big Society, is utter tosh.

If you want an NHS that does what you want and when you want it you have to pay for it. If you want trains with seat you can sit on, at times you want to go then you have to pay for it. If you want local services, real and proper care for your elderly relatives or loved ones, decent schools or the rubbish collected on time then you have to pay for it. And there are only two ways. Either you pay more tax, buy it yourself or you give more to charity. We all have to pay more or give more. It’s worth remembering that less than 100 years ago charity provided health care, education, social mobility and social care before central government decided it could do it better.

HMRC have released some figures that don’t sit well with the silly cries of bankers paying more tax on their bonuses or with the premise of the big society filling in the gap. Out of almost 30 million people now working just 703,000 people will earn at least £100,000 or more this year through wages, bonuses, self-employed income, dividends, rents and interest. Of those, 320,000 will make at least £150,000 and 287,000 of these will pay the 45p top rate. This IS loads more than the 236,000 that paid the 50p tax rate in 2010-11.

This may surprise you too. Just 18,000 people will earn over £1m, which is up on the 13,000 in the previous two years and it was 10,000 in 2010.

But this is the killer number to the argument that rich need to pay more income tax than you. The 6,000 people on £2m or more will pay more in income tax (£13.2bn) than you and the 12.5m other taxpayers who earn under £20,000 a year. They are coughing up less with cumulative £11.5bn.

Simply, the top 1 per cent of UK earners have 13.7 per cent of all income but they pay a record 29.8 per cent of all income tax. In 2004-05, the top 1 per cent paid 21.4 per cent of all income tax. So who is taxed more and paying more? It is certainly not the 2 million more who will pay no tax at all in the next year compare to last year.

One last thing; these top earners are most likely to buy the services they need and are paying tax to the government for those who can’t. So should these top pay more tax? Your answer to that is most likely to be yes, but then you should pay more tax too if you want the things that are being cut. Or maybe we should hand it all over to charities to provide as it use to be.

One last thing. £35 billion in tax goes uncollected every year.

Painful, isn’t it.

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