Outsourced Government IT Project Saves Taxpayers Money

verify gov

The Government Digital Service has made a massive stride towards fixing the hated Government Gateway, the cumbersome registration portal that users need to access online government services. The Cabinet Office has announced today that its new alternative verification service, GOV.UK Verify, helped 11,000 people avoid paying late submission fines on their self-assessment form this year. Last year, if people didn’t have their login info ready from around two weeks before the deadline they were forced to pay a fine. The new Verify system allows anyone with a passport and driver’s licences to bypass the 10 day wait for a username or password in the post.

Unlike some government IT projects in the past, it appears the Cabinet Office have executed GOV.UK Verify with some degree of competence. Two competing private companies were given the contract (they will be joined by three more soon), it was rolled out in beta form with throttled (limited) access in December and incremental changes were made regularly. Like it’s supposed to be done.

The online verification issue has been a major stumbling block to the Cabinet Office’s dream of creating a seamless one stop online shop for accessing any government service. Not like a government IT project to actually help save taxpayers’ money…

Miliband’s Red-Facebook

Smarting from the stinging attack by the boss of Boots, Ed Miliband has rehashed his vague promise to clampdown on big corporations not paying UK tax.

He made this pledge while taking part in Sky New’s ‘Stand Up and Be Counted’ leaders’ event hosted at Facebook HQ.

The same Facebook who have paid no UK corporation tax for the last two years.

Really sticking it to power there. 

Polly Toynbee Lifts TPA Research Uncredited in Guardian

An “insidious poison fed into the nation’s veins”. So said Polly Toynbee of the Taxpayers’ Alliance in 2009. Therefore it was a surprise to see North London’s finest quote research by the grass-roots tax justice campaigners in her latest rambling missive. Toynbee’s claims today about “paying the highest proportion of its income in taxes: 47%” is lifted directly from a TPA report. Unfortunately she appears to have forgotten to credit the source in the same way as she’s credited the lefty Centre for Cities, the lefty JRF, and uber-lefty Oxfam. Always happy to be of help, Polly…

Another Top Labour Figure Rebels Against Ed’s Mansion Tax

Which Shadow Cabinet minister with a special interest in Streatham could it possibly have been?

RED ON RED: Audio of Murphy v Abbott Mansion Tax Bunfight

Jim Murphy’s mansion tax raid on London to fund nurses in Scotland has descended into an almighty slanging match with Diane Abbott. The Hackney MP couldn’t even remember the Scottish Labour leader’s name on Wato today:

“I am very surprised John Murphy is making these boasts… Jim Murphy can’t surely mean he is going to expropriate money from London to Scotland… he is jumping the gun in an unscrupulous way.”

Murphy hit back:

“It’s hard to take this argument seriously when she can’t even remember my name… I am leader of the Scottish Labour party, not Diane. I don’t have to consult Diane Abbott… I don’t have to clear things with Ed Miliband.”

Shots fired!

At Last! Miliband Finds International Allies for Tax CrackdownISIS Sign Up to Labour’s 50p Rate Policy

50p

François Hollande, Ed Miliband and now Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi. The FT reports that ISIS are implementing Red Ed’s policy of a 50p top rate of tax across the one holy caliphate:

“Sajad Jiyad, an independent researcher in Iraq, says that Isis struggles to balance its books, but services continue to function because of the money Baghdad still pays to former civil servants in Mosul. Isis taxes those employees at up to 50 per cent of their salaries.”

It’s a cost of jihad crisis! The caliphate can do better than this. One nation….

Balls Has a New Excuse

Welcoming Stamp Duty reform, the Shadow Chancellor dodged the obvious question. Why didn’t Labour do it when they were in power?

“We could have done it but we didn’t because we had other things to do, like not join the euro…”

And the bloody rest…

Did SNP Plan to Scrap APD Nudge Osborne?

Air Passenger Duty may generate £3.2 billion a year for the Treasury, but Guido wonders why George doesn’t just go out on a wing and get rid of the tax altogether. It would hardly be terminal for the UK economy – a projected fall in the deficit of £6.2 billion by 2015 would more than cover the cost to the Exchequer and the move would encourage more flights into to the UK.

There was a growing problem on the APD front too – all the evidence seems to suggest that the SNP are going to remove APD altogether on Scottish flights – creating competition from north of the border to Newcastle Airport in the soon-to-be Northern Powerhouse. That could be what made the idea fly…

Everything You Need to Know About the Autumn Statement

growthstatement

Helpfully compiled by the BBC.

Osborne’s Poll Ratings Slide As Conservative Lead on the Economy Grows

As Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement today, a YouGov poll for the Sun finds his personal ratings have dropped from -3 to -8 over the last nine months. Optimism that the economy will improve is down from 39% to 25%, while pessimism is up from 23% to 32%. The Chancellor’s credibility will hardly be helped this afternoon when he announces OBR numbers confirming he has missed his deficit forecasts and that there is a £50 billion black hole in public finances, when in the same speech he pledges:

  • £3 billion extra cash for the NHS
  • £15 billion for road improvement infrastructure spending
  • £400 million extra to the British Business Bank
  • £500 million of new lending guaranteed
  • No fresh cuts

Cynical Neo-Keynesianism nevertheless appears to be paying electoral dividends for the Conservatives, proving once again that voters prefer jam today to jam tomorrow. This generation of voters prefers to put the burden for its profligacy on the next generation…

osborne-poll

The Times leader puts it plainly: “What is clear is that he has decided to risk what progress has been made towards repairing the nation’s finances on an electorally inspired spending spree that will have to be funded… at least partly with debt.” Douglas Carswell has a point when he says Osborne will today deliver Gordon Brown’s 18th Autumn Statement

UN Special Envoy Slams Miliband’s Mansion Tax

United Nations Special Envoy and High Commissioner of the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie, has voiced her concerns about Ed Miliband’s mansion tax:

“I’m quite responsible about money. That could put me off [moving to London].”

Wonder who could have put her up to that…

Clip via Channel 4 News.

Greens Will Still Bill Oddie

First Myleene Klass, now Bill Oddie:

Guido hates to break it to Bill that his new preferred party are no friend of mansion owners either. In addition to their wealth tax on people worth over £3 million, and their so-called backdoor mansion tax whacking up rates for wealthier home-owners, the Greens also propose a draconian Land Value Tax. This is from their website:

“Land, the primary source of all real wealth, is the common heritage. We acknowledge that land is held in trust by human society on behalf of other species and future generations, and that land should not be treated as a capital investment nor traded for speculative profit. We therefore assert the principle that no person and no body should have absolute control of land, but only particular rights over the use of it.

The Green Party proposes introducing LVT as a tax payable on the annual value of land… The level at which the tax would be levied would be based on the full value of the current permitted use of the land… Where a property rockets in value, LVT would seek to tax that windfall increase in property value to be re-invested back into the community.”

What’s a mansion owning North Londoner to do?

Working Klass Hero: The People Back Myleene Over Ed

You know it’s bad when the Staggers have to try to spin Ed’s going over by Myleene Klass on last night’s Agenda. Apparently “this row could work in Miliband’s favour.” Hmm, not if the voting public are anything to go by…

Today’s poll on Metro just about says it all:

At least he didn’t sniff a fellow guest on the show, this time.

Who Are These Immoral Tax Raisers?

moral-taxes

“The government has a moral duty to think of these people [taxpayers] in any decisions made on tax and spending” says the Prime Minister. “But what is morally wrong is government spending money as if it grows on trees. Every single pound of public money started as private earning” he continues in The Times.

So who immorally raised VAT to an eye-watering 20%? Who has maintained high combined national insurance and tax rates on everyone earning above minimum wage at Gordon Brown levels? Who allowed inflation to push some million more of the middle classes into the higher rate bracket?

Who introduced 509 tax rises since being elected in May 2010? Who is planning to increase the share of GDP that is taken in taxation by the state to higher levels than under Gordon Brown?

£513 billion in 2009-10, representing 36.5% of GDP
£648 billion in 2014-15, representing 37.0% of GDP
£778 billion in 2018-19, representing 38.1% of GDP

Who would be so immoral?

Tax Avoiding Guardian Sets Up Rival to Tax Avoiding Amazon

Are you a bookworm who can’t bring yourself to boost the profits of a nasty offshore tax-avoiding corporation? Alan Rusbridger has a suggestion for you:

Of course the anti-Amazon Guardian bookshop neglects to mention to potential customers that the newspaper’s offices are owned offshore. Nor do they disclose their owner’s use of a Caymans Islands corporation to avoid stamp duty. Nor that for three quarters of a century the Guardian has been shirking taxes. Even worse, the first thing that appears when you click on the website is Russell Brand’s face…

CON 35 / LAB 34: Tories Take Poll Lead for First Time Since 2012

Tax cuts are popular? Who knew!

Osborne Cuts 40% Boundary Back to Brown Era Levels

2009-10-bandsGuido hasn’t seen this reported anywhere else in the news, the PM’s forward promise to move the 40% threshold up to £50,000 means that the rate will kick in at the boundary level last seen in 2009/10 under Gordon Brown. In 2009 the 40% rate kicked in after £37,400 of taxable income and under a Conservative government in 2020 after a decade in office it would kick in at £37,500 (£50,000 – £12,500). A move in the right direction of £100…

Confused? Well the threshold drag has been a hard-to-headline stealthy massive tax hike by this government. With no other deductions and no change in the N.I. rate – which Guido suspects will be abolished in a final Lawsonian type reform towards which Osborne is ideologically inclined – the net take home figure would only be improved by some £2,100 for a £50,000 earner in 2020 compared to 2010 – a 4.2% relief. Whereas someone on minimum wages making £12,500 in 2020 compared to 2010 will see nearly a 100% improvement in their net take home pay…

(Thanks to bean-counting co-conspirator Q97 for help with the sums.)

Tax Rabbit Saves Dave's Conference

Guido has never seen a tax cut that he does not like so Cameron’s speech today was certainly lively. The hall loved it and Dave hit their sweet spots in a way he has not since before the last election. Personal allowance up, the threshold for 40% rate up from £41,000 to £50,000. More money kept in the pockets of millions of voters, but… 

Having said that, whatever happened to that last tax rabbit that the Tories plucked from a hat when in a tight spot? Inheritance tax threshold up to a million? 2007? Ring any bells? Guido will believe it when he sees it… 

It may unravel and billions in cuts will have to be found to pay for it all, but in terms of strategy it’s exactly what the Tories needed to do. After last week’s eighty minute snoozefest from Ed Miliband, it’s tough to see how Labour can avoid responding to these pledges directly. UKIP and the LibDems will moan that their ideas have been lifted, which will further please the blues. Over to you Ed…

 

UKIP Launch "Theresa May Tax"

A crass attempt at token Labour-vote stealing communism announced at UKIP conference today. A 25% tax on luxury goods such as £200 shoes, £1,000 handbags and £50,000 cars. UKIP sources are calling it the ‘Theresa May tax’. Claws out for the kitten heels…

Labour Yesterday Pledged to Use Mansion Tax to Reduce Deficit …Yet Today Miliband Says Money Raised Will Fund NHS

Both the BBC and Channel 4 News last night reported that Labour will pledge to pay for an increase in NHS funding with a ‘mansion tax’ on higher value homes. Last year Ed Miliband committed to spending the revenue raised from a mansion tax on the return of the 10p tax rate.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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