Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Death of the ‘Squeezed Middle’
Miliband Ambushed By More Harman Comments

The last PMQs before the summer break is one of the most important of the year, as it leaves a lasting impression about the leaders before MPs disappear off for the summer to stew. Poor Ed.

Miliband was just ambushed by Cameron on Harriet Harman’s comments to LBC that she thinks middle income earners should pay more tax. She’s having a great week…

Unsurprisingly, the audio is now being pushed out:

‘Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes’

According to Ed, pointing this out the death of the ‘squeeze middle’ line is ‘desperate’. Expect to hear this line a lot more. Nightmare last outing before the long, hot summer…

UPDATE: The in-house journal of the Labour Party are not impressed:

Nor is the Tory press:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bigmouth Strikes Again: Classic Hodge PwC Dodge

Question-dodging Margaret Hodge chaired a panel discussion in parliament this morning on tax transparency, wasting no time in piling into the ‘Big Four’ professional services companies for failing to use “copper bottom schemes” to prevent tax avoidance. Awkward then, that sitting two seats along from Hodge the Dodge on the panel is Shadow Exchequer Secretary Shabana Mahmood, who has just hired a new technical support analyst paid for by Big Four firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Indeed, a grand total of three Labour Shadow Treasury ministers have just brought in PwC staffers, paid for by the company, to help them with the Finance Bill. Not to mention Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and a host of other Shadow ministers hiring from PwC in the past. The same Pricewaterhouse, of course, that Hodge herself used to work for. She really isn’t very good at this whole tax-y moralise-y thing, is she…

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cost of Taxation Crisis

Over the course of a year, the average British household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power. As illustrated by this chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Click to enlarge.

Forget the cost of living crisis, Britain is facing a cost of taxation crisis…

Monday, May 12, 2014

WATCH: Gary and Dave in Happier Times

Friday, May 9, 2014

Labour Would Cut an Oligarch’s Shopping Bill By £125,000

Labour’s VAT cut would do nothing to cut the costs of fresh fruit, veg or canned goods, despite what their new poster implies. It would however cut an oligarch’s £5 million shopping bill for a yacht, a Bentley, some jewellery bling and champagne by £125,000. Finally a One Nation Labour policy Guido and Peter Mandelson can support…

Labour’s VAT Bombshell Blows Up in Their Face

Another day and another Labour attack on Clegg. This time they are linking the Deputy Prime Minister to the VAT rise. Only one small problem: almost all of the products they have featured to explain how “they have put £450 extra VAT on your shopping bill” are charged VAT at a rate of 0%. As the taxman says “most food of a kind used for human consumption is zero-rated”. If your shopping bill has gone up it’s not because of tax on fruit and veg. Chalk that up as another attack success. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pan-European Tax Burden Rising
Tax Liberation Day Receding

As Europe’s voters consider their choices here’s a list of their tax freedom days. Brits only stop working to pay for the welfare state next Monday:

tax-liberation-day
Typical workers across the EU saw their average real tax rate rise again this year, from 45.06% in 2013 to 45.27% in 2014. The rise of 1.28% since 2010 is largely a consequence of VAT increases in 19 of the 28 EU member states since 2009. This EU-wide study uses a consistent methodology to calculate how long people have to work in 28 EU member countries before they can keep their earnings and stop paying the state. Cypriot workers have the lightest burden, working until 21 March to finance their government. Belgians, who work until August 6, maintain their position as the worst afflicted. It is a noticeable coincidence that the four lowest tax countries have benefited from British rule… 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Labour Finally Admit Bedroom ‘Tax’ is Not a Tax

Very helpful of Labour to provide us on Budget Day with a comprehensive list of tax rises that have taken place under this government:

The 24 Tory Tax Rises

1. VAT increased – to 20 per cent from 2011
2. Income Tax age-related allowances frozen and eligibility restricted (“Granny Tax”) from 2013-14
3. Income Tax higher rate threshold cut to £42,475 in 2011-12
4. Higher Income Child Benefit Charge introduced 2013
5. National Insurance Contributions rates, limits and thresholds increased in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2012-13
6. Income Tax higher rate threshold frozen at £42,475 in 2012-13
7. Insurance premium tax increased – from 2011
8. Capital Gains Tax increased – to 28 per cent for higher rate taxpayers from June 2010
9. New Beer Duty introduced on high strength beers from 2011
10. Duty on hand-rolling tobacco increased by an additional 10 per cent from 2011-12
11. ISA subscription limit uprated in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2012-13
12. National Insurance Contributions changes to contracting-out rebates from 2012-13
13. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount frozen, 2012-13
14. Stamp Duty Land Tax increase to 7 per cent on properties over £2 million from 2012-13
15. VAT increases on a range of items, including caravans, sports drinks, and listed buildings from 2012
16. Duty on tobacco increased by RPI + 5 per cent in 2012
17. Income Tax higher rate threshold cut to £41,450 in 2013-14
18. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount increased in line with CPI rather than RPI from 2013-14
19. Income Tax cap on reliefs introduced from 2013-14
20. Pension tax relief restricted from 2014-15 21.
21. Income Tax higher rate threshold Increase capped at 1 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16
22. Capital Gains Tax annual exempt amount increase capped at 1 per cent, 2014-15 and 2015-16
23. Inheritance Tax threshold frozen in 2015-16
24. National Insurance Contributions ending of contracting-out rebates from 2016-17

Eagle eyed readers will spot that one thing is missing: the “hated bedroom tax” is not on the list. Which means Labour must have at last decided that it is not a tax after all. Better late than never…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Osborne Can Outwit Clegg Tomorrow

osbo-clegg-outwit

It is no secret that the budget is expected to see an announcement of the raising of the income tax threshold. It is no secret because Clegg is boasting at every opportunity that he can that this is a LibDem policy to help the low paid. With some justice, co-conspirators will remember that Daniel Finkelstein argued that raising the threshold was unaffordable and “punk tax cutter” Guido argued it was affordable and politically savvy. Nick Clegg joined the argument about this policy before the election – on Guido’s side. In government the policy was implemented by Osborne as part of the coalition deal. Nevertheless the LibDems get all the credit for the policy from the voters.

So how could the ever political Osborne get the electoral credit for the policy? Let Guido suggest how his speech might play out:

“Mr Speaker I have received many representations, not least from the junior partners in the government coalition, about raising the minimum tax threshold by £500, I have decided to reject these representations.

Mr Speaker it is not in the country’s interest to risk the stability of the economy…

[JEERING FROM OPPOSITION BENCHES]  

…it is for that reason that I have decided that now we are seeing balanced growth, falling unemployment and a stable macroeconomic outlook, to raise the tax threshold by £1,000 to £11,000. The Conservative Party is a tax cutting party and when it is prudent to do so we will cut taxes for everybody. This tax cut removes the tax burden from thousands more people on low pay.”

In one stroke Clegg is outbid on fair taxes, the policy is reclaimed for the Tories, Osborne is cheered by his backbenches and the lowest paid are better off. Even better, most of those on in-work benefits will see their benefits reduced by an equivalent amount. The Brown benefits dependency culture will be undone a little bit more… 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Another Comedy Tax Blunder
Rufus Hound Company Uses Tax Minimising Celeb Accountants 

‘Comedian’ turned wannabe politician Rufus Hound embarrassed himself when he said “David Cameron wants your kids to die” while announcing his decision to run for the European Parliament last month. Moralising Hound summed up his policies as:

“We all pay our little bit of tax and our fair share, and for that we expect schools, hospitals, police, fire service and a little bit of defence.”

But does Rufus himself pay his ‘fair share’?

Bob Simpson, as Rufus is actually called, is the owner of a company called Dogface Limited, which has no discernible presence anywhere and has just one other director: his wife. As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun, for some reason Dogface’s registered address is exactly the same building as that of showbiz accountants, Blue Skies Partnerships. On its website Blue Skies promises clients “we ensure you always pay the legal minimum amount of tax” and even has a whole section devoted to “minimising your tax”. Is that the same as your ‘fair share’?

Bob did not dispute the story yesterday:

Always looking to pay the minimum amount possible, eh Bob?


Seen Elsewhere

Speaker Bercow Defeated | BBC
Nigel Farage is Bigger Than Jesus | Speccie
Year of Sleaze | City AM
Top 10 UKIP Donors | London Loves Business
Tory Candidate Leaflet Blooper | Get West London
Why Aren’t Middle Class Voting Tory? | Sun
UKIP Do Not Have Monopoly on Fruitcakes | Danny Finkelstein
Ed Must Stop Dithering | Mary Riddel
Ed Cannot Rebuild Trust From Westminster | Rafael Behr
An Open Letter to Russell Brand | "Jo"
Merry Bin-Mas From the Greens | Speccie


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Labour insiders turn on Ed over Powell’s latest gaffe:

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