BBC Justifies Telly Poll Tax By Claiming Poor Watch More TV

The BBC claims that the licence fee poll tax is justified because poor people watch more television than better off households. With Director General Tony Hall appearing in front of the DCMS select committee this week, the Beeb’s Director of Policy James Heath blogged that a flat rate licence fee is fair on the poor because they watch so much TV:

“The argument for a uniform fee is that there is a direct link between the level of the service received by everyone, and the level of the charge made on everyone. While the licence fee does constitute a higher proportion of lower households’ expenditure, these households also consume more BBC TV than richer households.  As a proportion of household spending, the licence fee is lower than expenditure on many other household items, including transport services, communications, and fuel. Over the last five years the cost of many household items has gone up significantly in real terms while the cost of the licence fee has declined. The licence free represents a very small percentage of household expenditure – even for the lowest income decile, on average, the licence fee is around 1 percent of household spending.”

Dismissing people on a low incomes as a bunch of idle, square-eyed couch potatoes hardly seems in keeping with the liberal, progressive values of Aunty Beeb. If a right-winger patronised less well-off people by telling them a flat tax was value for money because they spend so much time in front of the telly, the Today programme would be in uproar…

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:

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‘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:

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…

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…

WATCH: Gary and Dave in Happier Times

“It does help having an internationally renowned pop star with you, I must remember to take one with me everywhere I go.”

“Got your lipstick mark still on my coffee cup…”

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. 

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… 

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.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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’?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mehdi's Corporate Paymaster Censors Critics

In a change from side-boob and upskirt shots, Mehdi Hasan is frothing about ‘corporate welfare’ (geddit) over at the Huffington Post. He’s attacking the media for being complicit with large companies and banks:

“They are aided by their friends, allies and outriders in the right-wing media echo chamber, who have never had to endure the indignity of turning to payday lenders or food banks in order to survive.”

Which is odd given that Mehdi is aiding his corporate paymasters by censoring comments about the tax status of the Huffington Post’s parent company directly below his rant.[…]

+ READ MORE +

IFS Demolish Balls Plan

Balls couldn’t resist a love-in with the Institute for Fiscal Studies back when they were criticising the government in 2012, crowing that:
“The IFS is right to cast doubt over the so-called ‘findings’ of the review of the 50p top rate published by the Chancellor.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Guardian Sells Autotrader Stake for $1 Billion Moment of Tax Truth for Guardianistas

In 2011 this blog ran a Guy News investigation into the Guardian’s offshore tax dodge in the Caymans. We followed it up in 2012 and Guido personally asked Alan Rusbridger and GMG plc’s CEO to explain the continuing holding of assets offshore.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Mo Runs from Osborne

After his double gold Olympic glory, Mo Farah said: “I don’t know anything but England. When I run for my country I’m proud.” Ed Miliband called him “a hero for our country”, the Prime Minister wanted to give him a knighthood.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Osborne Promises Another £12 Billion Benefits Salami Slice

Talking the talk, Osborne has claimed “government is going to have to be permanently smaller and so is our welfare system”. Finally, if he is to be believed, the Tories will be “permanently cutting people’s taxes by permanently cutting spending”.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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