Tag Archives: tax

Opinion: A fair tax revolution: Our most important manifesto commitment

Clegg fairer tax in tough times - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsA highlight of last week’s Spring Conference for me was Friday’s consultative Q&A session on the next manifesto. Lots of great ideas were suggested, ranging from river based power generators in flood prone areas to encouraging home work to reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions.

What stuck with me was David Law’s appeal for ‘manifesto themes’. There were lots of good suggestions but the majority were small scale – great ideas but difficult to tie into a strong simple theme we can get across to voters.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: Get real, Lord Lawson, it’s the low paid who need our help

Danny Alexander by Paul WalterLinking to the Daily Mail usually brings me out in hives, but there are occasions when it’s ok. Danny Alexander taking down Lord Lawson for suggesting that further tax cuts should be focused on higher earners is one such case.

In today’s paper he starts by reminding people that it was a Liberal Democrat priority to cut taxes for the lowest earners. He missed a trick by reminding people where Tory hearts lay – an inheritance tax cut for the rich, but that’s by the by.

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George Lyon MEP writes…Brave mountain rescue teams should not have to pay VAT on essential, lifesaving kit

We were navigating in near zero visibility in a white-out.

As I was navigating I put my foot out and onto nothing, and fell down about 800ft of sheer cliff.

You figure you have had it.

These are the words of 25 year old Scot Ollie Daniel, who plunged through snow while walking in the Cairngorms in January this year.

In Scotland we are lucky to have some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the world. Walkers and climbers are a common sight in the Highlands and Islands all year round. But we know that these activities are not without risk.

Ollie was rescued …

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Lib Dems reject 50p top-rate of tax by just 4 votes, 224 to 220

How many times have Lib Dems knocked on doors at 9.55pm to get out the last remaining identified voters because “your vote really could make a difference” in this election?

Today’s vote on whether to keep the top-rate of tax levied on those earning £150k or more at 45p, or to pledge to raise it to 50p was much, much, much closer: conference narrowly voted for the leadership’s preferred policy – 45p – by a wafer thin majority of just 4 votes, 224 to 220.

The closest previous conference vote I can recall was in spring 2007 when representatives voted …

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LDVideo: Danny Alexander on UK’s commitment to tax transparency and the unproven case for arming the rebels in Syria

Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander did the rounds of the TV studios yesterday to promote the Coalition’s actions to increase tax transparency. You can see his BBC News interview here. On Channel 4 meanwhile, he was also quizzed about whether he thought the UK should help arm Syrian rebels: he said the case was unproven that would help the country at this time:

Posted in Europe / International, News and YouTube | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Opinion: UKIP vote against EU tackling tax evasion

UKIP frequently describe the EU as a large, expensive, bureaucratic nightmare, stating that we pay into the EU more than we get out. Yet at a time when the EU seeks to change that, by tackling tax evasion and avoidance, potentially saving member states in total 7 times the EU’s annual budget, UKIP vote en masse against it.

This week the EU Parliament voted to halve the €1 tn lost due to tax evasion and avoidance by 2020 by closing tax loopholes and tax havens. This is to be achieved by tightening some of the agreements between tax havens such as …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

Fairer Taxes – Preview tonight’s Lib Dem Party Political Broadcast

Tonight’s Party Political Broadcast by the Liberal Democrats repeats the message that we have delivered a rise in the tax threshold, showing how people will benefit from this.

Nick Clegg says,

If you earn the minimum wage we have halved your Income Tax bill. And if you work tirelessly in a low-paid job, you’ll no longer pay any Income Tax at all.

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Jon Cruddas: in favour of a 45 top-rate of tax before he was against it

Sarah Teather isn’t the only MP attacking George Osborne today. Ed Miliband’s policy chief Jon Cruddas has strong words for the Chancellor in the Sunday People, accusing him of “cruelty” and of “giving a tax cut to millionaires” by dropping the top-rate of tax from 50% to 45% for those earning more than £150,000.

So what, you might ask, was Jon Cruddas arguing for when Labour was in power? A top-rate tax level of 45% levied on those earning more than £175,000, as it happens:

cruddas 45p tax

He’s welcome …

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The Liberal Democrat perspective on welfare reform that needs to be heard

On Monday, I wrote about the good things Liberal Democrats are doing in Government and also expressed  concern that nobody was out there giving the Liberal Democrat perspective  in a way that would resonate with and encourage members and activists. I know that some of them felt a bit exposed. They were out there on a day when we were under  media pressure, and nobody was giving them any air cover. It’s a balance, of course. There have been times when we’ve complained that our ministers are out there defending things we  feel uncomfortable with. These things can be …

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Devils, details and the tax threshold beyond 2014

There is no doubt that today is a very good day for the Liberal Democrats. The party has delivered a major pledge from its 2010 manifesto, as this infographic from Mark Pack shows:

Mark Pack graphic on tax pledge

 

This is not an idea that fell out of the Orange Book. It came from Elizabeth Jewkes, an ordinary member. I wonder how she feels today. It goes to show that being a member of this party can give you opportunities to make a real difference to people’s lives.

To deliver on such a pledge …

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Opinion: Withholding taxes are long overdue

If George Osborne really wants to find enough dosh to get Britain out of the mess he has created, our advice should be: Go after the tax-cheating multinational corporations.

It is about time these cross-border pirates were put in their place. And one place to be urgently put is paying tax on the profits made from operating businesses in countries outside their home base.

While no-one knows how exactly much money they are cheating us of, estimates vary from somewhere between £10bn and £20bn. Given that the Economist quotes a total worldwide figure of some $20 trillion lost in avoidance and evasion, that …

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Lord Greaves writes…We must do more for wage-earners below income tax threshold

I have tabled an oral question in the Lords to ask the government what measures they will take to ensure that wage-earners who are below the income tax threshold will benefit from any future increases in the personal allowance.

In a little-noticed debate last September the Liberal Democrat conference debated social and economic inequality. Inequality, the conference decided in the obscure language motion-writers use, “is an obstacle to individuals determining their own destinies and reduces aspirations”.

The resolution also, equally clumsily, said that inequality “prevents talent from fulfilling its potential to the detriment of the economy and society”. And, more accessibly, that …

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CentreForum: Three tax changes to help rebalance the economy

Tax ConsiderationsVince Cable this month launched our new publication on helping small and medium sized businesses access stock market finance. Here, I’d like to concentrate on three tax changes that could address the broader challenge of ‘rebalancing the economy’ away from an over-reliance on debt and unproductive investment.

I’m all for a highly progressive tax system that doesn’t privilege ‘capital income’, but that doesn’t mean the current system works in a fair or sensible way, as these three bizarre distortions show.

Corporation tax

As George Osborne said in opposition:

Our corporate sector’s

Posted in Op-eds | 36 Comments

IFS verdict: Labour’s 10p tax idea “has no plausible economic justification”

institute-for-fiscal-studies-logo-370x229Ed Miliband’s announcement yesterday that Labour will re-introduce a 10p starting rate of income tax paid for through the introduction of Vince Cable’s mansion tax has received a tepid response from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The IFS put out a note yesterday headed simply, Better options exist to help low earners than 10p tax rate:

A 10p tax rate would reduce taxes for those on low incomes and strengthen their work incentives. A far simpler and more sensible way of achieving these aims would be to spend the same

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Rejoice! Labour has a policy. Even better it’s a Lib Dem policy.

Yesterday at PMQs Ed Miliband channelled Ronald Reagan. Today he’s channelling Vince Cable:

Here’s what Ed has just announced:

Let me tell you about one crucial choice we would make, which is different from this government. We would tax houses worth over £2 million. And we would use the money to cut taxes for working people. We would put right a mistake made by

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LibLink: Kirsty Williams on taking up the baton from Lloyd George

As Kirsty Williams notes in opening a piece to mark the anniversary yesterday, 17 January would have been David Lloyd George’s 150th birthday, and she took the opportunity to raise the issue of tax varying powers for Wales;

Today seems like an opportune moment to consider how a future Welsh government can continue David Lloyd George’s radical and redistributive legacy.

We must take the opportunity of the Silk Commission to think big. As Lloyd George himself said, “You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” We must take the opportunity to create a new People’s Budget for Wales.

For the first

Posted in LibLink, News and Wales | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

LibLink: Vince Cable – We’ll hunt down the tax avoiders

Over on The Guardian website, Vince Cable writes:

Tax avoidance, sham directors, money laundering: the recent Guardian investigation made sobering reading. In the UK we are proud that it is easier and cheaper to set up a company here than just about anywhere in the world. This flexibility is hugely valued by the start-ups and small companies which create a significant proportion of our wealth and jobs, and which are vital to recovery from the latest recession. But this flexibility provides a challenge: how do we stop our system from being abused by people who want to use it to dodge tax or to launder the proceeds of crime?…

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Opinion: Why Wealth Can’t be Taxed (except very occasionally)

Wealth tax is becoming, or has become?, a core Lib Dem policy. Nick Clegg shakes his head alongside his Cabinet colleague the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing that the coalition government will not introduce a mansion tax. Vince Cable is back on the World at One the next day defending it.

There has been much discussion as to whether wealth and mansion taxes are fair. But fairness is a very subjective concept. Some think that wealth taxes appropriately ask the rich to shoulder relatively more of the financial burden imposed if we needlessly insist on the financial orthodoxy that the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 133 Comments

Opinion: The escalator that’s pricing beer into insensibility

Today, upward of a thousand enthusiasts are descending on Westminster to demand protection for one of the nation’s great heritage assets. Beer.

The Labour government of old was unduly fond of price and tax escalators, which generally take the form of retail price index plus a bit more. I have always regarded this as a rather odd fiscal mechanism because it simply creates a circularity that feeds itself. Costs go up, the RPI duly rises, and costs go up again as a result.

It beats me why the coalition has decided to maintain this blunt policy. Fiscal escalators

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‘Please give generously’: Tories mail-shot supporters asking for donations to fight Lib Dem mansion tax

That’s the story in the Guardian this weekend:

The Conservative party privately sent letters to Tory donors and wealthy homeowners promising to defeat Liberal Democrat plans for a mansion tax at the same time as their coalition partners thought they were negotiating on a version of the proposal ahead of the autumn statement, it emerged on Friday. … The letters were sent by the Conservative treasurers Lord Fink and Michael Farmer in November, when Lib Dem cabinet ministers privately believed there was hope that the Conservatives would agree to two extra higher-rate council tax bands as a way of raising

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LibLink: Christine Jardine..A coffee with a sweeter taste

Christine Jardine was until this Summer a Liberal Democrat Special Adviser at the heart of Government. She is now back working full time in politics in Scotland and writing occasionally for the Scotsman.

This week she’s turned her attention to the fact that large corporations like Starbucks don’t pay tax in the UK and reflects on the good that local, independent coffee shops bring to the community:

As I sat there enjoying my Americano, eyeing up the chocolate cake and cinnamon swirls, I began to think about the value that the entrepreneur behind the counter had brought to my community.

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Opinion: Get real about corporate tax

Companies currently pay corporation tax in the country where they are incorporated. A campaign is under way, in the Guardian, and the Commons Public Accounts Committee, that companies should instead pay tax where they make their sales. The proposal has populist appeal, but is impracticable.

Many companies, including UK companies, make export sales without costly incorporation in each sales country. If a US coal producer sells 1m tonnes of coal to UK powerplants for £100m, and makes £5m profit, it submits accounts in the US for tax authority scrutiny, and pays US tax on the £5m. Should this profit be …

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Tory Loughton slams Liberal Democrats for blocking Tory marriage tax break

We know that the Tories went on and on before the election about how they were going to reward marriage in the tax system.

We know that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats don’t think much of this idea.

We know that since the Coalition Government was formed that no such marriage tax break has been introduced.

It was therefore not unreasonable to conclude that the Liberal Democrats have stopped the Tories from implementing their prized policy.

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News snippets from the Conservative conference: tax, Europe, migration and more

Conservative Party logoTrouble ahead on tax as Osborne opposes a mansion tax:

We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties.

Before you rush to spot the loophole in that – what about adding extra higher bands to Council Tax? – he opposed that too. Given Osborne made much of his reputation as was by opposing changes to inheritance tax, perhaps it is on capital gains tax that there will be room fro an agreement with the …

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Opinion: Four suggestions on the future of Lib Dem tax policy

Last week at conference I attended our consultation on tax policy. As the chair progressed through the paper, it was quite interesting to hear all the opinions put forward on it. I was planning to suggest some ideas for the committee to consider but unfortunately the chapters on corporation tax and financial taxes were left out, and I put my hand up too late to be called in the NIC and Income tax section. So instead, I’ve decided to put the ideas up here for debate instead.

Corporation Tax cuts for paying a Living Wage

Using corporation tax cuts to incentivise desirable business …

Posted in Op-eds | 28 Comments

Danny Alexander: fairer taxes, with everyone playing by the same rules

Fairer taxes, crack down on tax avoidance, an emphasis on the mansion tax and a low-key, getting on with the work in hand delivery: that’s Danny Alexander’s conference speech in a nutshell.

Although not quite up there with his GMB speech (still well worth a read), it was an effective one as the delivery style matched the message.

Having often heard Danny Alexander talk in the past about action needing to be taken on tax avoidance and tax evasion, I noticed a change in emphasis this time, with more talk about what has been done. That’s a good sign of progress, …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Conference news snippets: economy, mansion tax, Dilnot reforms, business bank and Green Deal

In the key economy debate this morning, conference has backed the party’s approach to tackling the deficit:

Earlier in the day, Clegg was repeating his calls for a mansion tax in some form:

Our focus does remain on very high value property for the simple reason that I think most people in this country just don’t understand why people who have very high value properties just don’t pay their fair share, in the way that everybody does.

Danny Alexander has been calling for speedier action to implement social care reforms:

Danny Alexander will warn his Conservative colleagues on Monday not to delay plans to reform social care for the elderly and state pensions, amid Treasury fears that the changes would cost too much.

The Treasury chief secretary plans to use a question-and-answer session at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton to insist that the government goes ahead with both the Dilnot reforms and a single-tier state pension, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Vince Cable is winning out in the arguments with the Treasury over creating a new business bank:

Vince Cable reveals £1bn backing for business bank to help small firms…
In what Liberal Democrats are hailing as one of the major announcements of their conference, the business secretary will say that the new bank could leverage up to £10bn to help businesses struggling to find funds from high-street banks…

The Lib Dems say they have had to fight hard to persuade the chancellor to sign up to the bank, which will be funded from “underspends” by Whitehall departments. These are the funds that remain unspent by departments, which are then clawed back by the Treasury.

And here is Ed Davey and colleagues explaining the Green Deal:

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Cable: no to regional pay; Clegg: yes to taxes on wealth; Alexander: tougher tax rules

News snippets from today:

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Liberal Democrat leader ruled out the possibility of the Government filling the gap in public finances through cuts to the welfare budget – something reportedly being mooted on the Conservative benches.

He said the Government would “start at the top and work down”, and was optimistic about his chances of persuading his Conservative colleagues to agree to a so-called ‘wealth tax’.

 

Cable said that introducing regional pay was “completely unacceptable” and “terrible economics”. He said that although the Lib Dems were prepared to contemplate a measure of public sector pay

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Opinion: Creating a fairer tax system

As Benjamin Franklin wrote back in the eighteenth century, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. So while tax policy may not set hearts racing, anything that takes money from people’s pockets will provoke a strong response.

Already, in government, we’ve had major successes. Our flagship tax policy of a £10,000 tax-free allowance is being implemented, which will provide millions of taxpayers with an tax cut of £705 per annum by the end of this Parliament; we’ve raised capital gains tax for higher rate taxpayers; and we are clawing back £7bn worth …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Shouldn’t we all play by the same rules on tax?

So asks the new tax campaign website launched by the Liberal Democrats today:

We believe that everyone should pay their fair share of tax. That means the people who have the most paying more than those who have less. To help make that happen, we want to give a tax cut to every working family in the country by raising the amount you can earn before paying income tax, initially to £10,000 a year.

This would give every working person in the country a tax cut of over £500.

You can sign up to back the campaign or to find out more …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 13 Comments



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    johnmc "no one takes crutches, etc back to the hospitals – it’s too much trouble! " Wrong. I do.
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    @Manfarang "The UK has the eighth largest economy , " I'm sure that the million starving people in the UK who are dependent on Food...
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    Brave thread - it feels politically impossible to address these issues in Government as the NHS is such a political football. The only way I...
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    @ Phyllis. The Labour Party in 2006 introduced the THE CONSEQUENTIAL PRIVISIONS ACT. this meant that all those who were in private rented accommodation were...