Thursday, August 16, 2007

Talking about Tax.

I very strongly believe that taxation is too high. The 'State' takes too much of our money, and has become so dominant that the private sector is being undermined. Amongst other things, public services are failing the people and the housing market and pensions sector have been destroyed by Government interference. I know that this sort of talk is usually dismissed as 'swivel-eyed right wingery'. Problem is that I believe it. Its probably the main reason that I'm a Conservative. I also know that if the National Assembly for Wales had the power to raise tax and increase the role of the Government machine, it probably would, and there would be little chance of the coalition between Plaid Cymru and my party which I so want to see. But there is no prospect of such power being devolved - so the dream is still on!

Well tomorrow, the Conservatives will be talking about tax. We will be talking about abolishing the iniquitous Inheritance Tax - replacing it with a form of Capital Gains Tax, and exempting the family home altogether. Now, that's more like it - even if I must add that our Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne is not committed to this recomendation. And there will be talk of reducing Stamp Duty - on share dealing to begin with, and on homes as well, eventually. Great stuff. And there will be talk of cutting business taxes, which is one area where Plaid Cymru agree with us - or at least they did at the Assembly Election last May.

You will note that I have not referred to the name of the author of the report that makes all these recommendations - except that I do want to point out that the BBC has had to apologise for the prejudiced and thoroughly disgraceful way it has treated this politician over the last few days. Regrettably, whenever I mention the name, a strange mist envelopes the Welsh blogosphere, which scrambles rational debate. I must add that I do not think this anti-Tory bias has infected the BBC in Wales. Newsnight was much more fair tonight. Let the tax debate begin.


Roman Jones said...

I do so hope that the Conservatives adopt their own think tank’s suggestion and abolish the hated Envy Tax, officially known as Inheritance Tax. There can be no justification for such a blatant money-grab of people’s hard earned and tax-paid assets, and at such a traumatic time for the family anyway. This tax is unfair and is not just about the super rich. Anyone who thinks so obviously doesn’t know the average value of property.

If the Conservatives make this a manifesto commitment, they will have my vote!

alanindyfed said...

We have too many iniquitous taxes - agreed.
Cutting business taxes worked well for Ireland.
Their child and pension provisions are greater.
Yes Plaid (though in cahoots with Labour) still adhere to their principles!

Martin Eaglestone said...

In what way are the public services failing the housing market ? Surely the housing market is failing our communities ? Clarification would be appreciated.

Glyn Davies said...

Sounds as if we're on to something here. I would be surprised if these proposals didn't find their way into manifesto committments - simply because they have been run twice, by the Michael Forsyth and Redwood reports.

Glyn Davies said...

Martin - my grammer wasn't great. Public services have not failed the housing market - but Government policy has through a planning system that has created shortage, and through a belief that only government can meet the demand for social housing. Without creating a climate in which the private sector can build more houses for sale and rent, the issue of affordable housing will not be resolved.

Daran said...

Was I the only one out there who thought George Osborne should at least have grasped one of these ideas warmly? Don't really care which one, just think it's time the Conservatives had policies rather than just "policy flavours". And they weren't all about tax cuts, so his "balance the budget" argument wasn't applicable to all the recommendations.

I'm sure this post shows a naive under appreciation of Conservative policy making processes, but I think this close to an election a few more actual policies would not go amiss for the party.

The inheritance tax one looked to be popular from the vox pops, and I think many people have doubts and reservations about inheritance tax's effectiveness and scope these days. Similarly Stamp Duty, which is why Brown had to move on the thresholds when they became indefensible as anything other than an arbitrary, catch-all revenue raiser.

Colin Holland said...

I agree with Daren that Osborne should have grasped at least one nettle. Problem is he and his ilk around Cameron do not have the experience, or appear to have the courage necessary to do this.

BBC never give up on bias and again attacked Redwoods "crazy" train rubber wheel option on Radio 4 Today programme yesterday by rolling out the editor of "trainspotters anonymous" who rubbished all his theories and supported the governments state of the art longer trains and platforms proposal. So much for 21st century Britain.

High taxation would not be so bad if they managed to spend the money well and showed tangible results - or is the problem more "complex" than this?

Martin Eaglestone said...

Fair enough in clarification and I think we may have been here before Glyn. My reading of government policy is that it now provides for that scenario -if councils so choose. I am therefore unsure about the central/local relationship if councils choose more restrictive approaches to house building - often refelcting opposition within communities to new housing.

However an interesting debate to which I think some innovative moves by financial institutions (we just need to work out what !) may be instrumental.

Glyn Davies said...

Daran and Colin - I think you can deduce that I agree that the main thrust of Redwood/Wolfson's tax recomendations should become party policy - and I will be arguing that they should. Interestingly, I have been described as a right-winger as a result of my posts on this - a first for me.

I understand why we must not become a party associated with "cutting public services" - but a clear committment to scrap Inheritance Tax would show that we are a Conservative Party - and that we would make a difference.