Poll: Tax Cuts Winning Working Class Votes

Polling by Public First for the Taxpayers’ Alliance finds that tax cuts are popular with workers. Lost in the all-party noise about spending on ‘free things’ is the enduring truth that tax cuts are popular with voters. The key findings were:

  • 60% of C2DE voters strongly favour cutting the basic rate of income tax down to 15p in the pound, from 20p now.
  • 68% of C2DE voters want tax thresholds linked to inflation or wage growth, so people don’t move into higher rate bands accidentally.
  • More than 75% of those polled supported a cap on council tax rises.
  • C2DE voters are more than twice as likely as ABC1 voters to back cutting corporation tax to 12.5%
  • 68% of C2DE voters, backed abolishing the BBC licence fee, compared to 40% amongst ABC1 voters, one of the biggest disparities found between the two groups.

The patronising attitude of politicians, progressive think-tankers and broadsheet columnists towards the working classes is that they want more welfare spending, in reality they want to be able to keep and spend more of their own money on the things they want – like everybody else. They are pro-business because most of them work in small businesses. Poll after poll shows that the truth is that people who work hard to earn a living resent over-generous welfare benefits more than those on higher incomes; for example 50% of C2DE voters believe there should be a National Insurance “no claims” rebate every five years for people who haven’t claimed Jobseekers’ Allowance. Only 39% of higher earning ABC1 voters think the same.

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Top Wonks Back Fiscal Phil’s Budget Responsibility Pledge

Philip Hammond’s fiscal responsibility challenge might not be the most exciting intervention in the Tory leadership race but it has received a warm welcome from many of Westminster’s top think tanks. The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Kate Andrews says:

“The Chancellor has dished out a fair and sensible warning to leadership candidates. Slashing tax and spending increases must go hand-in-hand with cuts in other areas and a radical pro-growth agenda, otherwise they are not fiscally responsible policies…

“With the UK tax burden at a near-fifty year high, putting more money back in people’s wallets should be a top priority, but it shouldn’t mean abandoning fiscal responsibility along the way.”

The Adam Smith Institute’s Matt Kilcoyne welcomes the move too:

“Right message at the right time from the Chancellor. As we approach the Cost of Government Day on the 18th June, the first day of the year that private spending overtakes all the spending and borrowing the government does on your behalf, it’s good to see a Conservative preaching fiscal responsibility.

“The UK still has a deficit, a mountain of debt, and government is still passing the buck onto those too young to vote. The next generation shouldn’t be sold out with election pledges made at the expense of their own futures.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance also give it their seal of approval:

“Philip Hammond is right that a Tory leadership battle isn’t the place for a public spending arms race. A spending spree by the current, or next Prime Minister could leave taxpayers saddled with bills.”

As far as Guido is aware, none of the candidates have committed to Phil’s fiscal responsibility pledge so far. Nor has the current Prime Minister shown any hint of reconsidering her uncosted trillion pound black hole she’s leaving behind for her successor…

UPDATE: It turns out Phil’s Pledge has been taken by the most left-wing candidate in the race, Rory Stewart. If Rory can find time out from his never-ending walks around supermarket car parks to make the pledge, why can’t any of his supposedly more Conservative rivals?

Who Defunds You? Taxpayers’ Alliance Victory Over Town Hall Fat Cat Pay-Offs

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) is celebrating a huge policy victory, with the Government finally implementing a £95,000 cap on pay-outs in the public sector, a measure that was promised by George Osborne and only now implemented.

The TPA has campaigned for curbs on golden goodbyes in the public sector, with the Public Sector Rich List and also the annual Town Hall Rich List. Yesterday the TPA’s 2019 Town Hall Rich List revealed there were at least 2,454 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2017-18. That’s 148 more than in the year before…

John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, tells Guido:

“Senior bureaucrats are already rewarded with pension schemes that ordinary Brits could only dream of, so it’s only fair to place a cap on exit payments. Bar some understandable exemptions for soldiers and spies, golden goodbyes will finally come to an end. The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 and the tax burden is at a 49-year high, so this announcement is an important step in the right direction.”

Taxpayers will be breathing a sigh of relief, defunding over-generous pay-outs for the public sector top brass will save an estimated £100 million-a-year. Long-term this will save taxpayers billions – what a great policy win!

Khan’s £1-a-Ride Tax Starts Today

Sadiq’s new emissions tax means private hire vehicles will need to pay the Congestion Charge of up to £11.50 per day when driving in the central London “Ultra Low Emission Zone”. As a result from today a £1 central London fee will be added to every Uber trip that starts, ends or passes through the city centre. Khan’s tax is being passed directly on to consumers, it will also hike costs for London’s shops and accelerate the shift to online retailers, which is why the Taxpayers’ Alliance dubs his charge zone an “Ultra Low Enterprise Zone”.

Khan says it is to combat air pollution. In which case it is irrelevant to the rapidly improving trend:

Despite a growing population air pollution in London was 900% higher within living memory. So what is he trying to achieve? He’s raising revenue to splurge for his re-election. Car drivers in the suburbs don’t vote for him and businesses don’t have votes, so he calculates he can tax ’em without losing votes.

In fact across the UK Britain is getting cleaner air at rapid rate. Khan’s tax is neither here nor literally there.Every time Guido gets into an Uber he’ll curse Khan’s tax. So will Londoners…

Wonk Wars: The Rankings

ComRes have today revealed their rank bank of think tanks, assessing where the esteemed establishments rank among MPs of different parties. Their bi-annual survey of MPs has found that the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs come out on top among Tory MPs, with 65% and 59% of Tory MPs respectively endorsing them for their ‘high quality output’. Free market ideas still rule the roost, despite the leanings of the current party leadership…

Additionally, 39% of Conservative MPs say the CPS is one of the most influential think tanks, with the IEA nearest on 35%. The Centre for Social Justice, Institute for Fiscal Studies and The Taxpayers’ Alliance follow closely behind to round out the top five. The CPS are by far the biggest climbers with a sizable 13% jump, testament to their recent star hires

Labour MPs liked the IPPR best, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and IFS falling in behind. On an overall cross-party basis, the top five most influential wonks were the IFS (37%), followed by the JRF (30%), Chatham House (28%), the IEA (28%), and the CPS (24%).

Oddly, the Adam Smith Institute wasn’t included in the list for MPs to choose from, despite some big policy wins this year. Guido hears the CPS has sportingly called on ComRes to include the ASI next time round…

Read the report in full below:

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Government Trying to Sneak Death Tax Through by Stealth

MPs may have so little to do that the Commons was adjourned before 3.30pm yesterday, but that hasn’t stopped the Government from trying to sneak a new death tax through on the sly. They are laying a statutory instrument today which will increase the ‘probate’ fees – which families have to pay when administering someone’s estate after they die – from £215 up to a potential £6,000. This is a death tax in all but name, hitting grieving families with a massive bill as they go through the difficult process of dealing with a relative’s death…

The minimum “fee” is now £250, which shoots up to £2,500 for estates over £500,000, £4,000 over £1 million and £6,000 over £2 million. Anyone owning property will be caught by the tax – poorer families will be forced to scrabble around for cash to pay the fees just because granny bought her own council home…

The Taxpayers’ Alliance have condemned the tax hikes and branded them “totally unreasonable”. Interestingly, some Lib Dems have picked up on the fact that it may even be unconstitutional – the Government is meant to pass a full Bill through Parliament when it wants to raise any tax, but by branding it a “fee” they are trying to wriggle through a loophole to avoid proper Parliamentary scrutiny. If it was genuinely just an administrative fee it wouldn’t be structured like a progressive tax. MPs still have the chance to stop them…

TPA’s Anti-Meat Tax MP ‘Meat Up’

The Taxpayers’ Alliance hosted a ‘meat up’ of some of Westminster’s most sound MPs last week to highlight their campaign against the proposed meat tax touted by Oxford academics.

TPA research shows this barmy tax would hit the poorest the hardest, slapping a hike of almost 80 per cent in the price of processed meat and 15% on red meat. It would be a huge mis-steak…

‘Cash Strapped’ Councils Order New Bentleys

Research by the Taxpayer’s Alliance has found that three UK councils have bought luxury top-of-the range Bentleys for their mayors. Lucky mayors Councillor Alex Black (Lord Mayor of Chester), Councillor Lesley Smetham (Mayor of Cheshire East), and Councillor Marie-Therese Rossi (Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) get to swan around in the opulent vehicles, which sell from at least £132,800. Lucky them.

Other luxury cars used by councils’ mayors include the Audi A8 (from £69,415), BMW 7 (from £63,040), Jaguar XJ (from £62,360), Mercedes S class (from £70,470) and the Lexus RX (from £48,655). Don’t let your council tell you there’s no room to make savings…

Big State’s Tax Take Hits 49-Year High

After eight years of Conservative government and supposed austerity, the tax burden this year is at a 49-year high, at 34% of GDP, with total government revenues this year at a 32-year high, at 37% of GDP. The 3% gap being the deficit. The government is spending a whopping £30,000 per household.

The state is growing, even inflation adjusted spending has doubled in the last half-century, with the curve going up steeply when Gordon Brown was splurging on welfare spending in the late 90s.

The financial crisis in 2008 saw expenditure sky rocket. The UK can only become a high growth economy if it is a low tax economy. If the tax take goes any higher, investment will go elsewhere…

Download the TPA report: Tax Burden

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Legalising Cannabis Could Save Taxpayers £900 Million

What Austerity? Public Spending Down Just 0.2% Since 2009

There’s a renewed focus on the politics of ‘austerity’ in the wake of the election, with some senior Tories using the result to proclaim “austerity is over” and endorse even more borrowing, taxes and spending. This fiscal truth bullet is much needed: research from the TaxPayers’ Alliance shows that public spending is just 0.2% lower than in 2009-10. When you look at the actual numbers for 2016-17, it is clear ‘austerity’ never really happened…

  • In 2016-17 public spending was a mere £1.3 billion lower than it was in 2009-10.
  • Day-to-day public spending was £14.3 billion higher than it was in 2009-10. This is an increase of 2.1 per cent.
  • Per household, public spending was £1,121 higher than it was in 2007-08: £28,529
  • Spending on welfare for pensioners was 12.1 per cent higher than it was in 2009-10.
  • In 2010-11 and 2015-16 there were real-terms budget increases for international development and health.

Some departments have faced more efficiencies than others, but overall the level of public spending has barely been touched since 2009. A reminder to the Gavin Barwells of the government not to take leave of their senses and embrace Labour’s fantasy economics – they will always be able to promise more free stuff…

Taxpayers’ Alliance Updates Iconic Tory Debt Poster

Remember this?

The crisis is worsening so the Taxpayers’ Alliance have updated the poster:

Now every child in Britain is born owing £26,500.

What is Phil Hammond going to do about the Tory Debt Crisis?

You Pay £15 Million For Local Trade Union Pilgrims

Millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded subsidies are still being dished out to trade union ‘Pilgrims’ across the country, a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance has found. Despite promises by the government to clamp down on so-called ‘facility time’, there remain 371 local authority staff members who spend more than half their time working for trade unions, while being paid by the taxpayer. The cost of facility time (paid time-off taken by trade union representatives to carry out union duties) was at least £14,648,030 since 2012. Nearly a third of those local authorities analysed did not publish the data on their involvement with unions, thereby breaking the law.

The map of local authority Pilgrims waste extends across Britain:

  • The worst offenders nationally are Birmingham City Council with £1,124,924 and Leeds City Council with £502,095;
  • In the North East, Sunderland – £258,697;
  • In the North West, Bolton – £390,481;
  • In Scotland, City of Edinburgh – £244,576;
  • In the East Midlands, Leicester City Council – £494,544;
  • In the South West, Bristol City Council – £134,931;
  • In the East of England, Suffolk County Council – £189,741;
  • In London, Lambeth Borough Council – £281,000;
  • In the South East, Brighton and Hove City Council – £262,016.

Alex Wild, Research Director of the TPA, said:

“Trade unions are voluntary bodies of members and so should only receive the support of those members, not taxpayers. A huge amount continues to fund union duties, often without the express knowledge or consent of taxpayers, which simply isn’t right.”
David Cameron’s government began the process of dealing with Pilgrims, time for Theresa May to see it through…

Wonks Slam Hammond’s White Van Man Bashing Budget

Philip Hammond’s brutal Budget attack on Britain’s army of hardworking self-employed is going down like a cup of cold sick in the wonk world.

Centre for Policy Studies:

“Changes around national insurance and the tax-free dividend allowance will have an impact on UK competitiveness.”

Institute of Economic Affairs:

“It is right that the self-employed and employed should pay similar National Insurance Contributions – the Government should not set tax rates that artificially favour one form of employment over another.

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HS2 White Elephant Lights Up Piccadilly Circus

Forget Owen Jones’ vanity protest against Trump’s state visit, tonight the Taxpayers’ Alliance has lit up Piccadilly Circus with a projection of a giant HS2 white elephant. There is one last attempt to block the wasteful, mismanaged project in the Lords tomorrow, where the HS2 bill is at its third reading.[…] Read the rest

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Vote Leave Chief Launching New Brexit Site, Taxpayers’ Alliance Reshuffles

Vote Leave chief Matthew Elliott is back at Business for Britain post-referendum, and Guido hears he will be setting up a new website called BrexitCentral. Former Lobby journalist Jonathan Isaby is leaving the Taxpayers’ Alliance to join as editor. It sounds like the site will offer plenty of comment and analysis – there is a gap in the market for some proper wonkish insight making sure Brexit means Brexit.[…] Read the rest

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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. […] Read the rest

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