When the Government seeks to justify the taxes it slaps on tobacco, we are told that it is part of an agenda to discourage smoking, because it is bad for us and costs the NHS money. Likewise, part of the rationale for slapping taxes on motorists and air travellers is to punish us for behaviour which is bad for the environment.
So if politicians are to insist on using the tax system to discourage behaviour which they believe is bad, then surely we can at least rely on them to ensure that it is not discouraging behaviour which they believe to be good, can’t we?
Alas not. For as long as I can remember, politicians have – rightly – lauded the idea of home ownership: allowing individuals and families to give themselves the security and stability of their own roof over their heads. Yet there remains an insidious tax which is making the dream of home ownership all the more distant for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. I refer, of course to Stamp Duty.