Three brilliant points made by George Osborne

March 22, 2012 10:44 am

George Osborne is a spectacularly wealthy man. That’s not my biased and tribal assessment of things, or if it is, it’s at least backed up by facts. Every MP earns more than twice the national average salary. That makes them all well off (I can hear them disputing this as they read it, but it’s true). In additional George Osborne receives an extra £80k in his role as Chancellor. That means his combined salary of around £145k is more than 5 times the average UK salary.

He’s a very wealthy man.

On top of this, Osborne has a personal (largely inherited) fortune estimated in the region of £5 million. Much of that is through a stake in the family wallpaper company.

This morning on the Today Programme, the very wealthy Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked if he would benefit from the top rate of tax. He said he wouldn’t. He’s right. His “income” is under £150k, although the amount of money he accrues each year may well be far higher, but taxed at a different rate.

So to summarise, George Osborne, a very wealthy man, cut income tax for those whose income is even higher than his, because he thought most of them were avoiding paying the proper level of tax anyway. And then to compound that, consider for a moment that our tax system does not consider George Osborne (who is a very wealthy man) a top rate
taxpayer.

The Chancellor has therefore inadvertently and brilliantly made three points in the past 24 hours that may be of interest to Labour and the left.

1. Tax avoidance is rife at the top end – and has a much greater impact that benefit fraud at the bottom end.

2. The top rate of tax is so incredibly exclusive that even someone earning 5 times the average national salary isn’t covered by it (meaning it’s a tax rate for the super rich).

3. Income tax alone is no longer the only useful tool for determining a fair rate of tax, or for implementing redistribution, if a multi-millionaire like George Osborne is not a top rate taxpayer.

Point 3 is especially important, and makes the case for taxes based around wealth and ownership rather than just income. Some on the Tory Right have already begun to advocate this.

So thanks George, for so brilliantly making the case against our flawed tax system – which even before your millionaire’s tax cut proved to be totally inadequate. Ed Miliband may well have been wrong to argue that the Tory front bench are top rate taxpayers (at least now) – but he has pushed the debate onto ground that is very uncomfortable for the Tory leadership, and potentially very fertile for the left.

It’s ground that we must take hold of in the days and week ahead.

  • Duncan Hall

    Is George Osborne really earning no income on his estimated £5 million fortune?  Even if it were making him £5000 a year (not a great return on such a hoard) surely he should be a higher rate tax payer?  Last time I checked you couldn’t stick £5 million in an ISA!

    • Duncan Hall

      Just to answer my own question, presumably his income from his millions is covered by capital gains tax rather than income tax?  But should it be?  Is that not just another form of the tax evasion he told us he found so morally repugnant?

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        Duncan, I don’t know for sure but I suspect that wealth will be tied up in assets owned by the company (factories, warehouses and shares).  It won’t be cash in an account. 

        • Paul Lynch

          Either that, or it’ll come out in Capital gains,which isn’t covered as ‘income’

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            I believe capital gains only comes into play when you actually sell your shares/assets.

        • Duncan Hall

          But it presumably brings in a dividend of some sort?

      • GuyM

        If you want to remove capital gains tax from business and equity investment then I suggest you think very hard about unintended consequences.

      • trotters1957

        Osborne and Little is a loss making enterprise at the moment.

        He can’t even run a wallpaper shop.

  • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

    For me the point is this: Does the state have any right to take half of any pound an individual earns? For me, the answer is no.

    But beyond this, history shows throughout the western world that high tax rates produce lower yields, and high tax regimes do not kick start ailing economies.

    Labour should not pretend it is ideologically wedded to the 50p tax rate.  It is not – Labour went through almost its entire 13 years in office without introducing it, and frankly it was only introduced as a trap for the Tories, because Gordon Brown didn’t think Osborne would have the guts to cut it.

    The OBR is saying 50p generates very very little revenue, and was more likely to be harming the economy than improving it.  So why keep it when as a country and as a party we have grown up so much since the days of ‘tax the rich until their pips squeak’.

    If the 50p rate cut means businesses can reinvest and help secure/create jobs, and the wealthy have more money to spend in the economy, then I’m all for it.

    The gamble is whether it helps generate growth – if it does, then the old Labour argument of high taxation is going to be shot for ever.  We’re entering risky political territory here and I fear Labour won’t come out looking good.

    • barsacq

      The OBR said there was a great deal of uncertainty in ascertaining what the rate does or doesn’t raise, so I don’t know why you are making categorical assertions about what they didn’t say.

    • GuyM

      One of the most sensible posts from a left winger I’ve seen in a while.

      If Labour had some of this common sense they wouldn’t be neck and neck in the polls right now.

      • AlanGiles

        Jonathan Roberts is hardly a “left winger” Guy. I feel sure he would be happy to confirm that fact himself?

        • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

          haha. I think of myself as a centrist and pragmatist. I’m socially left of centre but I guess slightly to the right when it comes to things like the economy. All in all, I don’t really ‘do’ ideology, but that’s more for others to judge.

          • AlanGiles

            Well Jonathan, if you think back to our first skirmish – do you recall? – you were bemoaning the fact that when you were canvassing back in 2010 and spoke with a factory owner who had 30 unfilled vacancies, your feeling was that people were too lazy to take the jobs.

            I replied by saying that having been in the world of work from the age of 15 up to retirement, in my experience, companies which had large turn-over of staff, or was unable to obtain staff usually found themselves in that position because they were a bad employer – pay or work conditions being poor, perhaps or bad relations with their workers.

            You wouldn’t entertain this idea for a moment, and (though you are forgiven) you seemed to disparage my 50 years experience and implied that I was somebody on the far left trying to ferment  industrial unrest. The fault was  in the lazy unemployed who didn’t take their jobs.

            Nothing could be further from the truth – I had some marvellous employers, but I had two really bad ones, and in those cases I voted with my feet, after telling them why I was departing.

            There ARE bad employers, Jonathan, and while I would never want to be on bad terms with employers, personally or as a political strategy,I do think this shows the basic difference between – shall we say – older Labour and those younger Labourites who were inspired by Blair’s “political cross dressing”

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Sorry, I posted this already below when I thought I’d done it in reply…

            Alan, we’ve been getting on well of late so I’m not going to get in to
            another fight.  I do not disparage your 50 years experience, I just
            disagreed with your assessment of the company I was referring to.   And I have met people who were frankly too lazy to get work – don’t shoot the messenger, it was just an anecdote of what I saw.  Doesn’t mean I believe the majority of those out of work are lazy, far from it.  I’ve also met many many unemployed people desperately seeking work.  I
            know there are bad employers, but it’s not really relevant here..as I say, not going to get into one of our epic arguments again!

          • AlanGiles

            No, let’s not fight (I have to go out soon anyway), but you see, one of my problems, is that if we encourage the 8 week “work experience” scheme that the coalition have indulged in where Tesco and large companies who could well afford to pay minimum wage, are given victims, sorry workers, free of charge (except for their £53.45 JSA, lower than the adult rate) we will encourage bad employers, who will regard such schemes as a sort of right and there will be even more bad employers in future.

            Let’s face it, it is hardly “training” (or experience) to rescue abandoned trollies or stack cans of baked beans, and yet many newer Labour supporters seem to see nothing wrong in it. I don’t think Byrne does TBH. I personally think it immoral and dishonest, and we need to have a much  more intensive and intelligent response to unemployment – Ed Miliband’s idea of using a bankers tax to give long term young unemployed six months work each isn’t going to solve the problem, merely sweep it under the carpet short term.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            So how in all honesty can you be in the Labour party, when you are to the right on the economy? I’m being serious.  There are many liberal Tories who are just that – socially liberal, but moderately right of centre on the economy. 

            By default Labour have to be centre-left on the economy….

            In what way would you not fit into the left wing of the Conservative party?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            The problem is, all of the intelligent people in the Labour Party now realise that being centre left on the economy is completely stupid.  Economics for Dummies.  Most of the rest of the world realises that as well.  Cuba does not, nor Venezuela. Nor does North Korea, where millions are starving.

            Face the facts Mike.  After 130 years of flirting with left wing economics, it has been comprehensively proven to be a poor concept that never works in reality.

            Having faced the facts, face forward into the future.  We are living in a globalised world.  

            The sort of protectionist, anti-global views and renationalisations that you advocate for your brand of the Labour Party are based on economic lunacy and the tendency of an ostrich to put its’ head in the sand.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            What Jaime said really. Socialism as an economic theory has been so widely discredited that it is very tough to retain it as a policy and be taken seriously.

            To be able to fund left of centre state intervention measures like healthcare, welfare, education etc, you need a prevailing economic theory that results in enough revenue being generated to fund it all.  Socialism simply isn’t it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Then you shouldn’t be in the Labour party, Jonathan. We remain a democratic socialist party (look at your membership card!) , and if you prefer another approach, you really should follow the courage of your convictions and join an anti-socialist party. 

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Ed M isn’t an economic socialist. Neither is Ed B. Neither was Gordon Brown. Neither was Tony Blair.  If you think they shouldn’t be in the Labour party either, that’s your call.

          • AlanGiles

            No. I sometimes wonder if Blair knew himself what he was, except for his desire to be part of showbiz – squatting on Des O’Connor’s sofa, having pop singers round at No 10 (he was thus engaged the night back in 1997 he got Harriet Harman to present the bill in Parliament  tto cut benefits to single mums), hob-nobbing with the rich and famous.

            Blair really diluted Labour policies and principles, Jonathan, but now he is gone we should be moving on from his political cross-dressing. I am not sure Ed Miliband has the clout to do that, but I can almost guarantee that if the Labour party continue to try to be a watered down Conservative party, they will lose the next election.

            The truth is so many of the public – not just Labour supporters – perceive there is so little difference between the main parties now, you need distinctive policies to capture the public’s imagination. Be too cautious and they will feel “better the devil you know” and Cameron or his successor will be in Downing St for a long time to come.

          • robertcp

            The Labour Party should be a social democratic party, which does imply left of centre views on the economy such as progressive taxation.  Social democracy has nothing whatsoever to do with Cuba or North Korea apart from in Jaime’s imagination.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            robertcp,

            I think you misunderstand, although I will agree with you in your view that Labour should be a social democratic party, not a socialist democratic party as it is currently by constitution.  Yes, the difference may seem word-ology, but there are big differences.

            Progressive taxation is completely accepted by all mainstream parties that I am aware of, of both parts of the economic spectrum.  It is not “owned” by any ideology.

            You are quite correct that social democracy forms no part of the ideology of North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela.  They practice full on socialism (Chavez masks it as Bolivarianism, Fidel Castro sort of did, but his brother is more orthodox.  The Koreans seem to practice oligarchical communism, or the world’s first communist monarchy).

            Nevertheless, what Mike Homfray advocates is mass-nationalisation, the common ownership of the means of production, a single party state, and the democratic choices for the population to be restricted.  He does not even care that his preferred doctrine for the Labour Party does not have to achieve electoral success in the most productive part of the country:  merely to play the numbers game and to abandon any attempt to seek support in the south.  Look at his posts, on this thread and others.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            I think Jonathan will become increasing at home within Labour the higher up the greasy pole he manages to climb.
            The views he describes are shared by a large, probably majority, section of the PLP and by those in the influential Progress camp.
            It’s part of the “social justice in hard times” narrative where services are delivered by the private sector and government is reduced to a procurement role.
            If he carries on like this I wouldn’t be surprised if Jonathan is offered a safe Labour seat.

          • GuyM

            More like  a social democratic in reality, I suspect that’s how your members and voters see you as well.

            If you split “socialists” from social democrats in Labour you’d be in a minority Mike.

          • derek

            How low can you go? lower than a rattle snakes nuts by the looks of it as Osborne introduces a Granny tax to feed the rich.

          • GuyM

            No ethical reason why pensioners shold get a higher tax allowance than anyone else.

            They will suffer 2 or 3 years at most of not getting a 2% to 3% increase. That increase also only indicates a tax free lump, so the net loss if only 1/5th of 2% i.e. 0.4% on the amount bracketed between the personal allowance and the notional increase.

            It is piddly and more than offset by all the other things they get. Pensioners have avoided all the other pain due to being a vocal pressure group that votes.

          • derek

            No-it’s an unethical attack on the elderly a Granny tax on the old and infirm.

            13 days and counting since Osborne said it would make a difference, while back in the real world someone is being made redundant every minute of the day that’s 24 hours times 60 minutes, so another 1440 jobs lost today.

            And you want to call it piddly? I’m thinking you could be next? wait a minute (ooops) I’m guessing you’ve been served your notice already.

          • GuyM

            I call someone losing a potential 80 pence per week when they are already getting £200 plus per week tax free as piddly yes.

            Ethically a pensioner is not more deseving of tax free allowances than say a family on median wages.

            The state pension comes in way under the £10,000 allowance, so what this means for most pensioners is no change.

            Further very few will be in the £10,000 to £10,200 pension level a year.

            Under £10k no change and for those on £15k plus my heart bleeds for them that the poor dears are going to have the same rights as everyone else.

          • derek

            For crying out loud he’s been yelling from the roof tops about austeritybut finds 3Bn given away to the 300,000 richest folk and expects the nations Granny’sand poor to pay for it

          • Alexwilliamz

            Jonathan you are very mistaken in your comments about socialism as an economic theory as in truth most of western europe (including us) engages in elements of it. I’m not actually sure what you mean by socialism as an economic theory so I can’t go any further but I am glad you are so capable to pass judgement upon it. TBH I think almost all economic ‘theories’ are discredited.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Alex, you may be right about all economic theories being discredited in some form, which I suppose puts is into a ‘lesser of all evils’ debate. But socialism is an economic theory, so I can’t really explain it more without explaining what socialism is, which I’m sure noone needs me to do.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Why should the debate shift from discredited economic forms to ‘lesser of all evils’ options – i.e. choosing from the discredited forms?
            Why not devise a form fit for purpose – you’ll have to be imaginative and probably take  a few risks but isn’t that what active politics always requires?

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            perfectly fair point. In that case do you agree that socialism is dead?

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            There are a number of socialisms (same goes for capitalism), many of these will continue to be influential. Therefore’dead’ is the wrong word though I believe we need a new associational paradigm.The ‘lesser of evils’ option is just laziness.

          • Alexwilliamz

            I was trying to work out which particular form of ‘socialism’ in practise you had identified as widely discredited. There have been attempts at socialism but as Dave observes this does not mean that all attempts of socialism are discredited. Anymore than people are abandoning capitalism after the massive failure we have just experienced.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            But the Labour party is very clearly a centre-left party. Those who realise that they are centre-right are moving over to the Tories. I have always said, as you know, Jaime, that you are not Labour and never will be, and would be seen by any independent observer as on the centre-right. You judged Blair to be sufficiently right wing. Those days are gone.

            Liberal social views are held by many Tories these days, which I welcome. 

            But Labour do not agree with the sort of economics you espouse – and neither should they, as that would mean no choice for the electorate. An effective one party state.Globalisation is wrong, ultimately unworkable, and needs to be resisted. If you think that this won;t become obvious to the majority who will in fact NOT benefit from it in the years to come, I think you’ve drunk too much of the free market Kool-Aid

          • GuyM

            Globalisation is wrong and unworkable… lololol

            So trading in the EU is wrong and unworkable?

            and if we compress a bit further, trading in the UK is unworkable and wrong?

            how about between north and south London?

            maybe we should go back to only selling to our loval village, in fact isn’t “selling” wrong?

            Can I barter a pig for some turnips pleae as I’m out of grotes.

            It will comes as a huge surprise to all those millions currently working in the private sector with non Uk and non EU work colleagues, selling all over hte globe via the net etc. that in fact what they are doing is “wrong and unworkable”.

            Lefty lala land.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You want Britain to be run by a one party state, with that party opposed to globalisation?

            It’s a little ironic that you advocate a choice for the electorate in terms of which Government supermarket they can shop in (the one with a glut of cheap soup, but nothing else, or the one that had bread last Thursday and more coming next week), but not a choice of which party to vote for.

            For all of your various judgements on who you believe should be in the Labour Party, I believe that it is you who may be in the wrong party.  I’m not a Party member, but I imagine your ideas would not receive any support in either Victoria Street or at your annual Party Conference.

            Maybe you’d be better off in the Socialist Workers Party, or with the Communists?

          • derek

            Another wild prognoses from the Dr of doom, who believe everyone is beneath him and should be forced into labour style workhouses with no more than a bowl of cruel to feed on.

            You trot!!!!!!

          • robertcp

            Jaime, this is actually a reply to your message below.  All parties might agree with progressive taxation in principle but there is a disagreement on cutting the top rate of 50%.

            Mike’s view seems to me to be that Labour should offer a left of centre alternative in elections rather than calling for a one party state.  It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that right wing liberals should be in one of the coalition parties.

            Regarding Latin America, it is positive that left of centre leaders have been elected in the last decade.  Chavez is authoritarian but he also seems to be popular.  It is still possible that he could lose power in an election.

          • treborc

             Here we go again left of centre, in the middle, right of centre,bloody hell your either a socialist or a Tory.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          Jonathan’s views are far closer to the Tory than the Labour party – he just won;t admit it!

          • treborc

             Closer to New labour i suspect

    • EmmaBurnell

      You make a key mistake in your very first line. The state aren’t taxing 50% of every pound earned. They’re taxing 50% of every pound earned over a threshold currently set (as Mark has demonstrated in this article) at over 5 times the average wage.

      Therefore your answer of no is to a question that isn’t being posed. Even were it not, it is an argument based solely on your own philosophy and ideology and nothing more.

      We will never know what the 50p rate could have raised given time as even the head of the OBR says they didn’t have long enough to assess it properly and that the figures are “by no means unarguable (http://www.channel4.com/news/a-budget-for-the-rich).
       
      Essentially, Osborne cut it far enough from an election in the (probably correct) assumption that whoever wins the next election would find it hard to reverse once the cut is bedded in. But in order to do so, he had to ignore the fact that his evidence base was shaky at the very best.

      Labour made several mistakes during our time in Government. Most of these were, at source, a paralising fear of actually having the debate about the role of a Labour Government in reshaping society. We talk about equality, but we equalised finacially largely by stealth, relying far too heavily on the financial sector to finance that through growth. When they crashed,  becuase we had failed to make the arguments about why we were redistributing, the measures that have led to the best redistrubution have been the first to go as “unaffordable” despite being measures far more likely to inject money into local economies.

      The 50p rate is incredibly unlikely to bring more money into the economy. Very, very few high rate taxpayers actually did relocate despite the endless bluster. It is always worth ignoring on these occassions what it said, and looking instead at what is done. The super rich are already spending. None of them have been saving for a rainy day because they already own platinum reinforced, diamond encrusted umbrellas, Sales of luxury goods are one of the few growth areas in our economy (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/may/03/luxury-goods-market-back-on-track).

      In fact removing this money from Government coffers where it was bound to be spent and putting it back with people less likely to need –  and therefore use – the added flexibility in their budgets is far more of a gamble, with growth and with the UK’s ability to withstand austerity as a nation.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        Hi Emma,

        Sorry but it’s you who made the mistake in your very first line.  I said ‘Does the state have any right to take half of any pound an individual earns’.  The word ‘any’ is the most important word in that sentence.  And of course it’s based on my own philosophy, as are your arguments and indeed anyone elses.

        You make an important point about the shakiness of the evidence that 50p raises any money. But the onus is on those who wish to see it introduced/maintained to provide the evidence.  If you want taxes to be high, then you have to make a coherent and economically sound argument that is ultimately indestructible in debate.  No supporters of the 50p rate have done that, and the flavour of debate seems to be more about a desperation to tax richer people as much as is possible just for the sake of it.  Ultimately, in my view, you make the country a fairer and more equal place by making sure everyone has the opportunity to succeed, not by punishing those who already have.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          No, its a question of principle as well – not just expediency

          • Bill Lockhart

            Presumably that means that you would pay no attention whatsoever to the actual revenue raised when setting tax rates, because the “principle” of confiscatory tax for high earners is matters to you more than bringing in the money to spend on your favourite causes.  The necessity to spite your face may require cutting off your nose.  How magnificently, wilfully stupid.

          • Dave Postles

             At ‘static’ levels, the increase from 40-50% would have produced over £6bn in revenue.  The Treasury took into account ‘elasticity’ (i.e. behavioural change – avoidance etc)  and revised it down to £2.4bn.  It actually raised £1bn – based on only two months of analysis – breathtaking given that (a) the returns were only received at the end of January and (b) there will be those who avoided through CGT which has yet to be received.  A billion is a lot of income.

          • Dave Postles

            Apologies: make those numbers £6.8bn ‘static’ and £2.7bn accounting for ‘elasticity’.

        • EmmaBurnell

          Sorry Jonathan, but that doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. By your logic, because of the tax I pay, some of the pounds I earn are taxed at 100%. Unless you’re arguing for a 0% tax rate, you’re caught in a bit of a weird logical fallacy.

          On evidence. There can be no real life evidence without real life implementation. So would you support the reintroduction of the 50% tax rate for long enough to gather evidence or otherwise of its genuine effects.

          An equality of opportunities approach only works when you start with a level playing field. When you don’t it fails at practically the first hurdle and therefore needs intervention. I strongly recomend you read the Fabian’s work on Life Chances.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            eh? You don’t create a level playing field for opportunity through personal taxation – that only comes in when you are earning money.  Fair access to opportunity comes earlier through access to high quality education and training, then subsequently ensuring that when people work hard they are able to climb the career ladder or set up a business and make a success of it through their graft free from stigma or burdensome regulation.

            As for your first paragraph I think we can agree to believe neither of us think the other one is making any sense whatsoever.

            I dealt with the second para in my opening line of my first contribution.  I believe lower taxes can kick start the economy, increase yields and thus reduce the deficit so we can better help people get the fair access to opportunity they deserve.

          • EmmaBurnell

            How do you suppose such measures as “high quality education and training” are funded?

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            Well at the moment they’re funded privately by individuals and companies willing to pay.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Well the 50p rate certainly isn’t helping fund these measures if it is generating so little revenue.

            So to put it into context, do you believe a high tax regime can generate economic growth?

          • EmmaBurnell

            If… It’s a very big little word and one that is much disputed. But even “if” it were “only” earning £100million a year, that’s a decent amount of schoolbooks.

            On your second question:

            a. I don’t believe 50% on earners in the very top earning brackets as a “high tax regime”.  Because by no measurable comparators is it. It is a slightly higher tax regime than existed previously, not a high tax regime.

            b. Yes and no. It depends entirely on the kind of economy, how it is managed, how it interacts with the global economy, what other fiscal measures are in place. There is no definitive answer. You can’t take one measure in isolation in that way. It’s not sensible economics.

          • GuyM

            In terms of the G20, a 50% top tax band is the very highest out of all the G20.

            That make us in the eyes of the world a “high tax regime”. In fact it’s not even 50% it’s 52%.

            Plus at £100,000 pa you get hit with a marginal rate in the 60%s

            The UK has voted again and again against parties wanting the old Scandanavian model. it won’t be happening anytime soon.

            I simply reject the notion of paying more tax to fund your left wing ideology and most will agree with me.

          • Suey2y

            Well, most of Scandinavia rub along. They have less crime, a much more comprehensive state than us that works efficiency and that surprise surprise hardly has any fraud. 

            America on the other hand has certainly cracked the profit thing, but The millions without healthcare, a roof over their heads or relying on soup kitchens just seems like a price NOT worth paying to me. 

      • GuyM

        The 50% tax rate was originally a political trap, set by a cynical Brown.

        Labour admitted it wasn’t permanent, just a temporary little measure to cause clear water.

        You are of the part of the left that would increase taxation simply because you don’t like people who have more than others.

        • Suey2y

          I know a Guy like you. 

          One who believes you could only possibly want to pay your share of tax because you’re stupid, one who believes socialism is based on jealousy rather than compassion. One who believes people are inherently bad/corrupt/cheating/selfish

          I can’t even begin to imagine how grumpy you must be to have a pint with. 

          • GuyM

            I’ll pay tax to fund the NHS, Education, pensions, defence etc.

            I don’t wish to pay tax to fund redistributon for redistributions sake, nor for public sector non jobs in northern areas.

            And I believe socialism is based upon jealousy and also theft, the main supporters being the less well educated in society which says it all.

          • GrumpyPoo

            “Public sector non jobs in northern areas”

            How are these any less worthy than public sector “non jobs” in Southern areas?

            “Socialism is based on jealously and theft”. Really? You really believe that? How sad.

          • GuyM

            They are not less worthy, just many more of them in the north than the south.

            And yes I really believe socialism is jealousy and theft writ in large neon lights.

          • AlanGiles


            And yes I really believe socialism is jealousy and theft writ in large neon lights.”

            If  you really believe your own stupid hyperbole Guy, why do you continue to want to join us band of thieves and green-eyed monsters?. I don’t mean to be rude but to quote the old Hoagy Carmicheal tune we could “Get Along Without You Very Well”

            You are not going to “convert” any of us to your own selfish viewpoint. I doubt that Jeff, Emma, Dave, Derek are going to put the “vote Conservative” posters up just to appease you. You are wasting your time. And ours. Sorry to be so frank, but it needs to be said.

            From your home on the North Downs, have you any conception of the deprevation and unemployment that has haunted many parts of the North of England and Scotland for years? – and this is just a post 1997 occurence – it was the same at the start of the 80s when Mrs Thatcher was PM.

            I did say “comprehension” and not compassion because we all know that is one quality that is totally alien to you.

          • AlanGiles

            Should read ” ISN’T just a post 1997 occurence – it was the same at the start of the 80s when Mrs Thatcher was PM.”

          • GuyM

            You say selfish, yet I think 40% tax is perfectly enough to pay for what needs doing in the UK.

            You lefties always put things the same way… “do as we say else you are selfish”

            If we were paying 60% and you thought we should pay 70%, anyone not agreeing with you would be “selfish”.

            It’s the standard dirge of the left, anyone only ever earns a penny at the benovolence of state and society. We are all good little worker ants being looked after by those loving socialists.

            I’d sooner be dead that live under your sort of government.

          • AlanGiles

            No Guy, You personally are very self-centred. Look at your own numerous posts – you have said outright you only care about yourself, your wife and children. Nobody else.

            You wouldn’t employ anyone under 25 (who gave you your first chance or did you wait till you were 25?). You dislike social groups you consider beneath you.

            So many of your posts end up with you discussing your lifestyle, where you live, what you do. Last weekend you were even begging free medical advice on the site, with a recitation of your wife and your own medical problems. Sunday was a real bore on LL because you took it over.

            Whatever you write, in the end it always come back to you and your great knowledge. Then when you perhaps realise that you have gone over the top, we have a bit of faux modesty, but then its back to you – your job, your possessions etc etc.

            If that is not selfish – what is?

            Why do you post your right-wing views anyway on this site? It is LL not Conservative home.

    • derek

      Problem is 2/3 opted not to pay the tax and clearly haven’t invested, Osborne hopes the cut will bring the whole 3/3 rds together and generate the 3 Bn? well that’s what he’s telling us but I doubt his intentions and when Alexander was questioned on newsnight whether or not the tax was a long term tax, he simply couldn’t answer. 45  pence today, 40 pence or lower come what may?

      Jonathan, the tories are the stealth tax kings, poll tax and all the rest, their tax cuts only favour the rich. What kind of chancellor puts the boot into the sick and unemployed then takes from the elderly to give to the rich. Seriously Jonathan are you thinking correctly?

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        Well Derek you and I have regularly argued over who is thinking correctly and I don’t propose we do that again!  What I would argue though is that you can not help any sick or unemployed person when you have a flatlining economy.  My argument is that lower taxes can help kickstart the economy and allow businesses to reinvest – that COULD help create growth and prosperity, and encourage higher revenues for the treasury which can then fund better schemes to help sick people and the unemployed. 

        • derek

          What about the 5 point plan then? why reject that and embrace a tax cut for the very rich? Osborne Cameron and IDS are ripping the welfare state apart from limb to limb, cutting the incomes of the poorest while given a lift to the wealthiest isn’t helping the economy.

          Cameron told us in June 2010 that he’d saved Britain from a Greek like situation, he also said that any cuts in the public sector employment would be meet by new private jobs? where? where is the evidence that these rich people will create jobs, it seems as though their time is full by dodging  their tax and moving their wealth around.

          Jonathan, you might be in a constituency where most have gained a large sum from tax cuts but believe me the vast majority haven’t gained a thing because of the changes to tax credit, ESA, housing benefit and a freeze in wages. I really can’t see why you’d support these cuts. 

          • GuyM

            Is that the 5 point plan hatched on the back of a fag packet?

            Including the bankers bonus tax that has been spent a few times already by Labour’s front bench.

          • Alexwilliamz

            As against the budget devised on the back of a cuban cigar packet?

        • Redshift

          What makes you think that cutting taxes for the rich is the most effective way (if effective at all) to stimulate growth? 

          The UK’s primary economic problem is a lack of demand both domestically and in our primary export markets – that is what is discouraging investment. 
          Seems to me that boosting the spending power of ordinary consumers would be far more effective in stimulating demand and therefore investment and growth.

           If you want to cut taxes to stimulate growth the logical choices would be VAT or fuel duty – not taxes on the rich (or corporations – since we already had a very low tax rate, so this will do little/nothing to incentivise investment, just line more rich people’s pockets). Of course, stimulus might be even more appropriate in the form of big infrastructure projects, that would generate jobs (and therefore demand) in the short-medium term whilst facilitating growth in the future.

          If we were having a remotely sensible debate, noone would even suggest cutting taxes for the rich as an option. It is both unfair and ineffective. There are a great many ways that would be better approaches than that of the government – for you to buy their argument is unimaginative at best, down right stupid at worst. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      Of course the state has the ‘right’ to do this – you just don’t think it should.

      We should have taxed more during the Blair-Brown years which would have given us a much more resiliant cushion and restricted use of PFI

      You have to tax if you want decent services – you get what you pay for

      Why do you stick with Labour, Jonathan – a Tory could have so easily written that post?

      • GuyM

        And the public don’t want you to tax more and has sohwn that time and time again in elections and local referendums.

        The problem for you Mike is that your family earns a good amount which you don’t seem to need, so you are happy to claim that all should hand over their income whenever asked out of some faux sense of shame for being weathly.

        In terms of moving party maybe you should up and off to some marxist or hard left group?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          I think we should pay more because we are comparatively well off. Its called social responsibility

          • GuyM

            And yet the public don’t agree, especially in a world of high fuel, energy, food and university prices etc.

            But feel free to push the Labour manifesto to call for increases in taxation across the board, then you’ll see how many support your view.

          • Alexwilliamz

            But they also want world class education, health care, polic forces, armed forces, civil services etc etc. How will we ever square the circle?

          • GuyM

            Use the 40% tax a bit better maybe?

            And explain how between 1997 and 2008 with the highest tax receipts ever, gold being sold off, borrowing going up, deficits from 2002 onwards and PFI deferring costs we didn’t get “world class” education?

          • Alexwilliamz

            Failure to direct any of that money to a meaningful classroom experience, more rigorous teacher training and serious professional development of teachers. Less of ofsted’s negative destructive regime, which along with league tables has turned education into one ridiculous bureaucratic game of cat and mouse.

          • GuyM

            So in other words, after “education education education”, New Labour royally screwed up?

          • Alexwilliamz

            They sorted out a number of infrastrucxture issues. Undid some of the failed tory policies, but then went down some serious dead ends. I would suggest that they left education in a vastly better place than before. However the continued pursuit of ‘marketisation’ to improve standards is counterproductive and leads to waste, inefficiency and the consignment of thousands of student’s futures being flushed down the toilet. Relying on markets to sort out and improve the standard of education is reckless and spells of a failure of confidence in what we should really be doing in our schools.

      • Holly

        I think I love you.
        ‘You have to tax if you want decent services-
        ‘YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR’
        Quite true.
        That is why the Social Services failed so many children, or why the NHS failed so many of their elderly patients, or why the police failed to act for TWO nights running during the riots….Because the tax take was wasted on useless IT systems, MP’s expenses, bailing out banks, PFI contracts, paying private sector health bodies for non existent work, and welfare payments….To name but a few..
        Most of it NEVER saw the light of day in ANY of the public services…So yes indeedy, we did end up getting the services we ‘paid for’.

        • treborc

           Knew it we should have taxed more.

      • AnotherOldBoy

        If I only had to pay tax for what I get back, I would be paying a lot less tax.

        The truth is that many get what others pay for.

        • Alexwilliamz

          Perhaps you might also wonder how much you would earn without the social and economic structure that cooperation between the citizens of our society ensure. Or are you one of these self sufficient hippy types?

          • AnotherOldBoy

            I don’t think I would earn a penny less if more people contributed more to the nation’s finances rather than consumed them.  But I was simply responding to Mr Homfray’s suggestion that you get what you pay for.

    • JoeDM

       Its not just the 50% of your hard earned income that goes to the State but also the NI as well.   And if you are working through a PSC then you pay Employer’s NI on top of that bringing your actual marginal rate of tax to closer to 60% !!!

    • P. J

      Why on earth allow these f*ckwit tory muppets to make your website far, far worse than it would otherwise be? Seriously, if people wanted a broad range of views, they wouldn’t come here. There’s plenty of websites to debate right wing spastics, why make this one of them?

      Grow some balls, delete their posts, and in a short time you’ll have far more people posting.

      • Holly

        So, in your world, the people who aren’t ‘f*ckwit Tory muppets’ can only have ‘one view’? With no dissent, no individuality and moronic insults to anyone who dare have more than ‘ one view’?
        What a sad little world you occupy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          We don’t actually care what you think, Holly. You’re a Tory, you’ll vote Tory, so I’m not interested in wasting time talking to you. 

          • treborc

            Lots of Tories around these days I wonder if Con home have sent them onto Labour blogs, I see some on Left Foot forward as well, they have never been on the site before.

            Does seem they are out to argue to try and get socialist to think Osborne cares.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Osborne has shot himself in the foot with his disastrously unpopular budget. Sure, there’s the usual sock-puppet blabber-mouths on here doing their duty but it seems they’ve called in reinforcements from Tory HoP and Central Office interns.

            The extent of their damage limitation campaign shows how worried they are.

          • Dave Postles

             @ Dave (Stone) He’s shot himself in the head because of the immense deficit in the public accounts for Feb.  After all this f@@king hardship for everyone (except his pals), there will be hardly any reduction in the deficit this year, if the revised predicted out-turn is -£126bn.

          • GuyM

            Wait two weeks and see how “unpopular” it turns out to be.

          • Dave Postles

             In two weeks, everyone will have realized the futility of the last twelve months when there is no appreciable reduction in the annual deficit.  Predicted reduction of £1bn over last year is appalling given the hardship that has been delivered on people.

          • GuyM

            As said on the daily politics today, the deficit figures seem strangely similar to Labour forecasts prior to the 2010 election.

            Except of course Labour would never have cut when needed and instead of sprayed more money it didn’t have about.

            Anyway, you aren’t in power, you can’t get an opinion poll lead even mid term under these conditions, your leader looks and sounds like a cartoon character and your party is distrusted on all things economic.

            Way to go you.

          • AlanGiles

            Guy. It won’t go away in 2 weeks. The Daily Express has a small but very persistent readership. Most of their readers are older, anti EU and if the Express keeps telling them they are hard done by I suspect many will vote for UKIP as a protest (will be interesting to see in May).

            If you think I am joking, a decade after her death the Express still published stories – sometimes several a week – suggesting Princess Diana had been murdered. They don’t give up, they are relentless.

            Even the Mail today was less than complimentary to Osborne – and the Mail has a very strong readership and good circulation.

            I would seriously suggest you stop gloating until after the May elections.

          • GuyM

            As the Daily Express is clearly left wing, I doubt many Tory votes will be in jeopardy.

            Plus as not many Express readers are likely to be sitting on way above average pension pots that will pay exactly between £10k and £10.5k pa, I expect it will settle down pretty quickly

            Morally there is no reason why pensioners should have a higher tax allowance than anyon else.

          • AlanGiles


            As the Daily Express is clearly left wing,”

            Now I know you are joking!.

            Left wing?

            And I suppose the Daily Mail (“Osborne Picks The Pockets of Pensioners”) is left wing as well.?

            And of course the Daily Telegraph (“Osborne’s ‘GrannyTax is Doubly Iniquitous”) is positively Marxist!

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9160654/Budget-2012-Osbornes-granny-tax-isdoubly-iniquitous.html 

            If I may say so, hyou make yourself sound really silly sometimes Guy :-)

      • Alexwilliamz

        Jonathan is a member of the Labour party and has campaigned to become an elected representative. There you go.

        • treborc

           Did he get the job, and i doubt he will now Blair  moved on

      • Bill Lockhart

        If the’yre people who use the word “spastic” as a term of abuse, it would be better to close the site entirely.

        • treborc

           I saw it and thought shall I respond, but why bother I doubt they even know what the word means.

          • Bill Lockhart

            P.J. is on the left cheek of the same horrible arse as the BNP and EDL- driven by nothing but dehumanising hate.  Probably likes a bit of window-smashing on demos, as long as those nasty big policemen are busy somewhere else.

    • Suey2y

      You fear Labour won’t come out of it looking good???

      ROFL, some of the comments I read are so divorced from reality it’s splutteringly funny. 

      Also, I imagine rather than the word “fear” you meant “hope”

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        I’m sure we all think we are the most ‘in touch’ Suey. But I think the disdain with which you wrote your response has clouded your understanding of what I was saying.  The point, to which you referred, was that if evidence later down the line can show that cutting the 50p rate has helped stimulate the economy, then Labour’s current view that the 50p rate benefits the economy will be shot out of the water, and the public perception that Labour doesn’t understand the economy (as polling suggests) will be validated.  This is a rather obvious point.

    • DaveCitizen

       Asking whether the state has the right to take 50p or 45p in the pound from what an individual “earns” is the wrong question. What we should be asking is whether the rewards for contributing to wealth (‘real wealth’as per Adam Smith’s definition) are right in the first place.

      If a land owner takes a million in grants paid by tax payers on the huge land holding they inherited while a brilliant doctor pioneers a new treatement on £150,000 a year is it the tax rate on income that’s wrong or the imbalance in the rewards themselves?

      How about a footballer paid £150,000 per week versus the Head teacher of a troubled school on the same but per year? Tax rate? or Wrong reward?

      Free labour markets don’t reward based on wealth contribution to society – it’s ability to concentrate wealth to the richest that impresses them.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

         Well said.

    • Alexwilliamz

      I am confused Jonathan. Do you think the coalition policies are all correct and if so what do you think the difference between Labour and the Conservatives is? And why have you joined this side? If you really believe that the state does not have the ‘right’ to take half of any pound an individual earns I’m not sure you share the understanding implicit in the Labour Party’s purpose and dare I say it ideology. Whether or not it should take that sort of tax is another matter and one which could be debated, but right to tax, that is just nonsense. Does the gvt have the right to tax cigarettes or alcohol at a rate that effectively is more than the cost of the product? Without even entering into a debate about how individuals earn.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        My question is Alex at what point does a citizen stop being free, and at what point do they become a cash cow for Government?  There has always been a libertarian streak in the left that has been forgotten – when the rights of the Government are greater than the rights of the individual, then we have a problem.   It was within this context that I asked the question whether or not Government has a right to such a substantial chunk of individual citizen’s money.

        • Alexwilliamz

          And I would reply that the further up the pay scale you are the more you have benefitted both actually and proportionally from the structure of society and everyone’s cooperation, so paying more of this increased cash seems reasonable to me. Part of this debate comes from theories around value, which socialism has a particular view on, unless you are a libertarian of the Nozickian school, most liberal theories agree with taxation. I have yet to see evidence using say Rawls’ difference principle to really suggest paying high rates of taxes on your higher earnings is making society worse off. Obviously we can ‘believe’ this to be true but the hard evidence remains lacking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

       Jonathan Roberts could have just as well have asked whether the state
      has the right to take even 1/10th or 100th of any pound that an
      individual earns. Some would argue that the state has no right to
      tax at all.  None of us likes paying taxes but in a liberal democracy
      that is what we do – otherwise no public services, no government, no law
      and order, no defence, no country.  So yes the state does have the
      right to set tax levels. The politics is who and how much people pay. Clearly
      Osborne and co pay an awful lot less in total percentage of their
      wealth than do people in the middle, let alone the poorer.

      It seems a curious to argue that as  so little tax is gotten from the
      very top earners because they are avoiding paying it, the the answer is
      to reduce it! It would be interesting to see if HMRC would allow me –
      as self employed – to do the same and thus reduce my tax rate! Even more
      curious an arguement that basically to incentize the rich they need to
      be able to earn much more than they do but the middle and especially
      poorer need to be incentived by being paid much less. 

      Crazy.

    • Lorraine Francis


      If the 50p rate cut means businesses can reinvest and help secure/create jobs, and the wealthy have more money to spend in the economy, then I’m all for it ”  

      Surely there is a mistake there?  A confusion over personal tax and corporation tax?  Afterall the 50p rate is from the money already extracted and used as personal payments to themselves. i.e. money in their back pockets.   

      If they were to invest, then corp tax is currently 28% max, they can pay themselves dividends and then avoid the personal tax threshold?  As you do not get taxed on money which has paid out corp tax?If  they really wanted to invest it then they could claim Entrepreneurs’ Relief on their venture.  And that is up to £1million.  So people must really be talking about the super duper wealth eaters here, and not the wealth creators who reinvest their money in business.  Which surely means very few people, who would mostly be taxed (without a relief to be claimed anywhere) on something like bank bonuses.  Labour should investigate this further,  as these are the people who would have been paying this tax. 

      • Lorraine Francis

        Correction *36% is maximum tax on dividends for domiciled that is.  

  • trotters1957

    All MPs, Lords, directors of publicly quoted companies and all publicly quoted companies should have to publish their tax returns.
    Anyone in public office or businesses that take public investments should come clean.

  • GuyM

    The problem for you Mark is the fact we aren’t living in the 1970s anymore.

    By that I mean the globe is a far more open and accessable place. If your income is hitting £250,000 pa and way above then often there is no need for you to be fixed to one country over another. Some will be stuck but a lot won’t.

    Plus those on that sort of income tend to be older and in more senior positions. My old CEO has cleared off to live in the Balearics pretty much running his company remotely.

    The left assume that the very wealthy ahve no option but to sit still and take whatever is thrown that them, sadly they in large numbers just up sticks and move if you squeeze to hard.

    Reducing avoidance at the same time as having a competitive top rate is of more use in the long term than squeezing out of spite.

    The top 1% already contribute 27% of all income taxation, how much more do you realistically want?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      Only most of them still wish to visit. As far as I am concerned, if they spend one day here, they should be fully liable for all tax. If we don’t see their money, they are not needed. There should also be restrictions placed upon the ability of those not living in the UK to own companies operating here. Globalisation does not benefit us any longer and will continue to do so less and less in the future

      • GuyM

        “if they spend one day here, they should be laible for all tax”..

        interesting, so anyone coming to the UK on holiday should be liable for all tax?

        Globalisation benefits us immensely, your protectionist claptrap is of no use to anyone. If every country put up trade barreirs to each other then we’d all be the poorer for it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          Its going to happen. Give it 10 years and just you wait and see…..

          • GuyM

            Ahh the “just wait ** and see”.

            Much like Chris Cook’s warnings of impending financial catastrophe.

            There will not be protectionaist trade wars starting up Mike. Everyone by now has realised how much better we are all off both economically and security wise by trade and doing business with each other.

            If you asked the population whether they’d prefer lots of small protectionist blocks all at economic war with each other, or the current system you’d not get much support.

            Your real problem Mike is you have absolutely no experience of private sector busines, the area where the vast majority of the UK workforce earn their pay.

            You walk into a London office these days and it’s full of people from all over the globe. I’ve employed around 50% of my staff in the last few years from non UK origins. All these staff are the managers and executives of tomorrow, they are used to working with all nationalities and doing business around the world.

            There is a snowball in hells chance of all of that turning on its head.

            Every time you come out with this protectionist fantasy you show yourself to be hopelessly out of touch and deluded.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            London is anything but representative of the rest of the UK, Guy… 

          • GuyM

            London, SE and midlands dwarf hte rest of the UK in terms of the private sector Mike.

            It’s multinational and getting ever more global. Good luck explaining in Birmingham to all the Asian 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants that you are going to enter into trade wars with “foreiners”.

            Have fun with the 50% of trade that goes to the EU when you start getting protectionist.

            Enjoy telling UK firms they can’t export to BRIC countries or set up offices in them.

            I’ve run programmes and projects for work in China, Germany, Canada, Italy, Russia, Chile, Australia and so on in the last few years. All whilst working for UK companies.

            I’ve managed staff from Australia, Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Latvia, Eire, Nigeria and Kenya and so on.

            The business world is already global, national governments rely on exports for their tax revenues and public spending. Global trade has moved ever more towards less protectionism and it isn’t going to turn around.

            The internet is making this ever more a reality. You seriously think the net generation who see no difference to a facebook friend in Spain than they do to one down the road are going to think in terms of trade wars?

            You think all the SME companies taking advantage of the net to sell further and further afield are going to favour trade wars?

            You think all the employess who have jobs for companies selling abroad are going to favour putting their jobs in jeopardy for your protectionist trade wars?

            You are out of touch and have no understanding of the global private world of business. It wold be frightening if you ever had any say in Labour business and economic policy. Thankfully Labour are free trade and understand the need to compete

          • Chris Cook

            Now, now Guy, I’m only predicting that the current oil market bubble is going to collapse by the end of Q2 at the latest.

            I’d be surprised if the other markets don’t go with it, but that’s not a firm prediction.

            Provided the government keeps printing money and buying debt with it then it can avoid debt deflation and depression.

            But I see no chance of avoiding indefinite zombiedom for the economy and a good chance – if the current daft austerity policies are pursued – of a deep recession.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

          In fact we should tax British citizens on world-wide earnings.  This is precisely what the United States does.

          • GuyM

            A lot of the top 1% aren’t British…. next suggestion?

            Just another one in the long list of lefties driven by envy aren’t you?

          • Dave Postles

             The socialist republic of the USA: taxes people on their worldwide income and also fines people for off-shoring their capital and assets.

          • GuyM

            The USA taxes US nationals.. a lot of UK 50% tax earners aren’t UK nationals, so what do you do about that?

            Further the US has a number of tax agreements in place so that it doesn’t result in double taxation. One of my best friends is a US national in London and he doesn’t pay income tax to the US.

            As for “off-shoring” I do love th elefts bullying of small countries who decide to not follow the high tax socialist mantra.

            Everyone has to do as you want Dave don’t they else perhaps you can get a dodgy dossier up and invade somewhere?

          • Dave Postles

            So you agree that the US is leftist then, fining people for off-shoring assets and capital?  My wife is a US citizen.  These are regulations in the US, so by your account the US is socialist.  The rest of your comment is even more ludicrous than usual.  I am simply stating the position of the US Treasury, but you have to insist that it is my personal position which I have imposed on Geithner and co. 

          • GuyM

            Nope by my account is has slightly diferent tax structures, as I said US nationals in the UK pay no US tax.

            If you want to bully smaller nations suggest it.

            The simplest way for anyone with enough money is to renounce US nationality, or UK nationality if so desired.

            But either way I’d far prefer the American attitude to tax and spend than the UKs. Socialism doesn’t get far in the US, in fact it’s a bit of a dirty word.

          • Dave Postles

             Ludicrous.  I am citing the US regulations.  It’s nothing to do with me.  It was you who decried the tax criteria as leftist, but they obtain for the US government.  Therefore, by your account, the US government is leftist.  FYI, there are increasing numbers of people , if still a minority,in the US who refer to ‘socialism’ and there is strong support for people like Bernie Sanders, a self-confessed socialist. If you prefer the US tax-and-spend policies, then no doubt you are also a proponent of the stimulus package, eh?

          • GuyM

            Small groups in the US who refer to themselves as socialists eh?

            So about the same standing as Christian Scientist then?

            Socialism is a failed horrible ideology not needed by humanity in any form

          • Dave Postles

             Why should we place any faith ‘in your account’?  Paul Halsall worked in the US for yonks; my wife is a US citizen who makes annual tax returns.  What makes you feel that you have privileged information.  Your comments here have about as much substance as a sieve.

          • GuyM

            Where as under UK:US tax agreements, US nationals in the UK do not pay tax on UK earnings. There is not double taxation.

            But the USA is a special case anyway, try the same regualtions within the EU and see how you go.

            Either way, if for instance i won £150 million on the lottert, moved to a tax haven and you brought this law in the UK, I’d simply renounce UK citizenship. No tax ot pay then.

          • Dave Postles

            Surprise, surprise!  So much for loyalty to the Queen – until money is involved.  I was simply stating the US regulations on tax and off-shoring assets and capital – factual data.  You accuse me  of being complicit in dodgy dossiers and invasion of countries.  You are the one who professed that he might vote for Blair.   I voted for a different party at the last election because of Blair and left the party accordingly.  Your insinuations are ridiculous.  As for Bernie Sanders, he is a Senator and has much popular support throughout the US. As for tax and spend in the US, you avoid the issue of TARP and fiscal stimulus.  You ignore the The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.  All your comment here is mere prejudice.   

          • GuyM

            Loyatly to the Queen – Yes

            Loyalty to the notion of England – Yes

            Loyalty to the population incliuding people like you?

            Never.

          • Dave Postles

             FYI The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

      • JoeDM

        There are strict rules about residnency and non-dom status.  

        For tax purposes you are non-resident if :

        – your absence and employment from the UK covers a complete tax year (that is 6 April to 5 April);
        – you spend less than 183 days in the UK during the tax year;
        – your visits to the UK do not average 91 days or more a tax year over a maximum of four years.

        HMRC will also look at the detail of your visits to the UK.   For example if you spend those 183 days in your big house by the Thames in Surrey and the rest of your time in a flat in Rio then they will say that your main residence is in the UK despite sticking to the number of days.

        Companies can be run from almost anywhere in the world and in many cases the employees can be located anywhere where there is an appropriate workforce.  Globalisation means that this country has to compete or decline.     The money to pay for the welfare state has to be earned by private business.   You have to earn it before you can spend it (or tax it) otherwise you end up like Greece.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          No, it doesn’t. There are far too many things in private hands which should be renationalised. The private sector has no interest in anything other than its own profits and that becomes ever more the case – they certainly have no loyalty to any one country!

      • Holly

        Maybe Labour voters could be treated the same when holidaying abroad?
        Do you just type stuff and press send?
        Try reading what you’ve typed first….We may hear less from you that way, because EVEN YOU would understand how ridonculous that idea is.

        Globalisation hasn’t benefited us because the Lazy Labour party FAILED to encourage the private sector to grow, and thought job creation only included the public sector.

        More than likely though, Miliband will push this as next weeks major policy announcement at his next re-launch party.

    • JoeDM

      And the top  5%  pay  47%  of all Income Tax.

      • Alexwilliamz

        That merely demonstrates how unequal our society has become then. Or do you really think that the 5% work as hard as the other 95% put together. Do me a favour.

        • GuyM

          Should it be down to “hard work” or does talent come into it?

          I’m sure a professional footballer in the Championship “works hard” but he isn’t as good as a top premiership player and hence earns less.

          I’m sure the dustmen who take my rubbish away workk every bit as “hard” if not harder than me in many respects, but they get paid far less.

          Being good at a scarce skill set will and should reap much higher rewards.

          If for every cleaning post there are 20 suitable applicants for every programme management role then you might argue that market pressures will move towards a 20:1 pay rate (mitigated by various factors that prevent it reaching that rate).

          “Hard work” as a simple concept is largely irrelevant

  • Holly

    So, when Miliband starts to go on this message, what will he say when I ask him why Labour did sweet FA during the THIRTEEN YEARS they were in FULL control of the treasury, to stop this?. Or, like all the other bandwagon jumping/seems like a vote winner ploys Miliband has come up with so far, he didn’t think of that….Oh & while I’m at it where was Balls when Osborne was ‘not a high rate taxpayer’?…Oh bugger….in the treasury…

    All Osborne has to do is implement as much or as little of it as he wants. It would be still a heck of a lot more than Labour ever did.
    Some people just don’t get how quick stuff just ‘pops’ into us voters heads.

    Lead balloon anyone????Bring it on.

    • Dave Postles

       Lead balloon?  Is that the predicted out-turn for the fiscal year 2011-12 which will constitute a deficit of £126bn, only £1bn less than last year?  Is that despite the windfall of £2bn (I believe) from the bad bank of Northern Rock and the not-quite-£1bn for the sale of the good bank of Northern Rock – both inheritances from Labour?  The deficit in the public accounts for February was £15bn, when the expectation was £8bn. 

    • Jeff_Harvey

      Too much ellipsis…

  • JoeDM

    Err….   What exactlly is your point?

    You state that as the holder of a major office of  Government he is paid £145k  on which he will pay his Income Tax and NI via PAYE like anyone else.   

    He is also fortunate to have wealth of various forms and he will pay income tax at the appropriate rate on the interest earned together with the other taxes that are due on wealth (Stamp Duties, Capital Gains, etc.) which will be paid following his annual Tax Return.

    Are you suggesting that he is evading tax?   If so the HMRC and the Guardian / BBC would be very interested.

  • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

    Alan, we’ve been getting on well of late so I’m not going to get in to another fight.  I do not disparage your 50 years experience, I just disagreed with your assessment of the company I was referring to.   I know there are bad employers, but it’s not really relevant here..

  • soso

    I am worried about declaring other people’s earnings.
    I am an OAP.
    When I see and read journos and people on the BBC doing it, all I can wonder is how much they are on themselves. 
    I also wonder if they declare all their income to the taxman. I also wonder if their expenses are really necessary. I also wonder if they get any little perks them selves.

    I just hope that nobody does this to me.

    I also hope that people who demand their rights are prepared to pay even more tax than we all do at the moment to pay for those pittances which dribble out of the vast governmental machine.

  • Franwhi

    But can Labour capitalise on any of this ?  I don’t think they can when they only put the rate up to 50p in the first place as a political tactic to stick it to the conservatives. If Labour are to the right on the economy now they should have the courage to say so and campaign on that basis instead of talking tough but never actually intending to do more than object to the fine points of Coalition policy. The danger with all this triangulation is that we have three UK parties who are absolutely interchangeable with each other and no distinct political voices reflecting most voters needs and concerns. 

  • Jeff_Harvey

    The heroically optimistic OBR forecasts as far as growth from 2013 onwards goes will not be realised. If Osborne obstinately refuses to revise his plans goodness only knows what cuts and tax rises he will seek to impose on the nation. The mind boggles!

  • Jim R

    I’m a bit dubious about the cut in the 50% rate being much of an incentive for businesses other than the smallest (sole traders etc) to reinvest. It’s a cut in income tax  – i.e. personal earnings. For higher earners with limited liability, personal and business funds are separate things. You’d surely be inclined to risk business funds or credit before your own income? Also, many Chief Execs on over £150,000 will be shareholders but not owners. They are hired hands, so why would they risk their own money rather than put it into savings, pension pots or children’s trusts?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    Jonathan Roberts could have just as well have asked whether the state has the right to take even 1/10th or 100th of any pound that an individual earns.
    Some would argue that the state has no right to tax at all.  None of us likes paying taxes but in a liberal democracy that is what we do – otherwise no public services, no government, no law and order, no defence, no country.  So yes the state does have the right to set tax levels. The politics is who and how much people pay.
    Clearly Osborne and co pay an awful lot less in total percentage of their wealth than do people in the middle, let alone the poorer.

    It seems a curious to argue that as  so little tax is gotten from the very top earners because they are avoiding paying it, the the answer is to reduce it! It would be interesting to see if HMRC would allow me – as self employed – to do the same and thus reduce my tax rate! Even more curious an arguement that basically to incentize the rich they need to be able to earn much more than they do but the middle and especially poorer need to be incentived by being paid much
    less. 

    Crazy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

      “Clearly Osborne and co pay an awful lot less in total percentage of their wealth than do people in the middle, let alone the poorer”

      Unless and until we change the basis of our taxation system from a cashflow basis (i.e. based on income earned from different sources over a period of time) to a capital basis (i.e. based on the value of what you own at a point in time) then that is symptomatic of the consequences we will continue to see.

      For those who would argue that we should change to the latter, you might consider the practical difficulties (not to mention the vast opportunity for avoidance) it presents: the point in time must by definition be a single moment, allowing the opportunity for a carousel of asset ownership to “mask” one’s actual wealth (i.e. lending your assets to someone, for instance an american friend, on the day of the test will make your wealth momentarily and artificially very small).

  • Sfeatherby

    Gordon introduced the 50p tax rates knowing that a conservative goverment (which was sure to win) would take it away. He did it so that articles like this could be written. 

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