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George's plans on share-holding are not enough, and he knows it. We need a sense of urgency about this, for the sake of the poor.

With the No Turning Back Group's clarion call the case for a Tory tax-cutting policy becomes unanswerable and overwhelming.

My advice to David is. Ignore the reactionaries and pessimists. Press forward with a radical Tory tax-cutting agenda which will signal our way to electoral victory.

I'm not an admirer of George Osborne, but he was right to showcase flat rate tax earlier this year. Why has he backtracked. This could be the jewel in our crown!

" ... an incoming Tory government should "turn its tax-cutting attention first to taxes on effort and savings". "

Agreed, although I would add a third priority - to reduce the chronic and growing economic imbalances between different parts of the country there should be cuts in business taxes in those areas which have been lagging.

However I wouldn't agree that there's enough "effort" involved in inheriting wealth to justify abolition of IHT, and if the idea is to reduce tax on savings then the tax on dividends from share holdings should take a much higher priority than stamp duty on share dealings. Of course neither of those last two would especially help the poor, who by definition don't have much in the way of shares or anything else.

Capital is highly mobile Denis Cooper, and uncompetitive rates of tax means that wealth is haemorrhaging from the UK. All the emphasis has been on the numbers coming in, but the numbers leaving and planning to leave are rising even faster. The 250,000 that left this year are wealthy for the most part. The 500,000 that arrive came with little or nothing.

Where do the leavers head for? most go to Australia where there is no IHT. Many go to France where IHT is far lower than the UK.

There are also health services that work in these countries. Houses cost half. Food is cheaper, and almost everything else. The fact is that Britain's taxes are hugely uncompetitive. Capital knows that and is leaving. One fifth of the our current population - 12 million people want to leave. The trickle is turning to a flood.

Recovery of our economic competiveness will have to include a demolition of our capital taxes which are the highest anywhere in the world.

Why do we pay tax? To get the services we want. At the moment we aren't getting the services we want in the way they should be delivered. And the tax system is horrendously complicated. Therefore we should reform the services so they deliver what the public expect, simplify the tax code and deliver any excess back to the taxpayer.

I think that sums up the core Conservative belief on taxes. However please note that I put reform before tax cuts. This is simply because some reforms will cost money! Also if you are to properly fund Local Government to cover the costs of Social Care then some extra money is needed there.

It is essential however that the system is simplified and the excess returned to the taxpayer. It isn't the Government's money.

I have never met a Conservative that doesn't believe, at their core, that taxes should only be provided to pay for services, and that it is OUR money, not the Governments. I am therefore fully confident that the next Conservative election manifesto, and the next Conservative government, will reduce the burden of taxation. I hope they will also simplify the tax laws.

What I don't think is sensible is to put figures on it now, or say which taxes should go, simply to satisfy some impatient members who can't wait to 'get stuck in' rather than awaiting the outcome of the Policy Commissions. I don't want to live through another 4 years of Brown, Balls and Blair telling us how many Doctors and Nurses and Teachers we're going to have to sack - even though we (and they) know it isn't true. So I accept that tax cuts will come, but I also accept that we don't have to shout about them NOW.

As I write this we are 6% ahead in the ConHome poll of polls. Only 15months since Labour won another 5 years. I think we're doing ok and on the right track.

If Swayne Jenkin Davis Fox and Villiers are endorsing this pamphlet, why do they apparently have so little influence upon Cameron and Osborne when it comes to economic policy?

Osborne displayed the characteristics of a tax-cutter and small government man, until his cojones were removed after the Cameron victory.

So this leaves us with two suspects: Cameron and Hilton. I get the impression that Cameron has about as much time for the views of his shadow cabinet colleagues as does Blair for his (admittedly, pisspoor) collection of ministers.

I am pleased that the moral case for lower taxes is coming to the fore. I am optimistic that simplification and reduction of taxes can go hand in hand. The UK tax code is incomprehensible and needs to be completely rethought. Brown has succeeded in his aim of making things so complex people have no idea just how much they are being taxed.

DC is right to talk about taxing externalities but it needs to be done in a way people can understand and it is also true that such taxes cannot replace others because if behaviour changes then the tax take drops. The aim of such taxes should be that year on year the income generated from them drops.

DC should give equal weight to the appallingly high taxes paid by the poor in Britain and seek to change that. Removing stamp duty on share dealing is actually part of this as attracting capital is a part of creating wealth for all. However it is a curious tax to pick as the first one to promise to abolish and there must have been a better alternative (from a PR viewpoint)

tapestry, on balance capital has not been leaving - it's because of the influx of capital that it's been deemed necessary (and convenient and profitable) to import extra labour. The country is being treated not as our shared national homeland but as a kind of giant business park, for the benefit of both investors and the Treasury. Which is itself one reason, among many, why increasing numbers of Britons are now thinking that they'll finally give up on this country and leave.

However there is an argument that as many of the individuals who leave with a lump of private capital have obtained much of the money through the tax-free capital gain on selling their houses here, one element of a tax reform package should be to end the anomalous exemption on the principle residence.

It is possible, of course, to simplify the tax system as a way of reforming the system, as Geoffrey Howe did when Chancellor of the Exchequer. This had the effect of raising compliance rates as well as making the system more transparent. It shoudl then be possible to lower the tax burden. Simplified taxes will also help people on lower incomes.

Absolutely. And it should be done. An end to all these damned stealth taxes. And some proper funding of Local Government, so that the Council Tax doesn't have to double every ten years.

When you make a clear connection between how much you pay and the services you are providing people are happier to pay as well. Assuming the service is valued. If it isn't they'll soon tell you.

On things like the fuel levy, it could be argued (as Steve Norris tries) that the elevator should be brought back. But people forget that fuel taxes are already double taxation (VAT on Fuel+Fuel duty) and are inflationary in nature - if fuel tax goes up so does everything because the cost of transport increases, so food is more expensive etc. It is also the most regressive taxation we have, hitting the poorest in society the most.

Simplification would be good - but might mean increasing income tax to maintain the levels of tax revenue...

There's no doubt that everyone wants lower taxes and little doubt that it would benefit the economy. However, the TPA asked the question do you want lower taxes? with the specific caveat don't worry whether it's possible.

Debating the benefit of tax cuts is a total sideshow to the real question: how to deliver them? The public will only believe borrowing or cuts. The promise to be more efficient is one one that has probably been made by every goverment, ever.

We need to clearly identify where the waste is so that we can prove to the electorate that tax cuts are possible.

We also need to keep highlighting the link between tax cuts and economic growth using every resource at our disposal to back up our claims. Higher economic growth = richer country = more money to spend on public services.

I agree Richard, but I'm not sure the message ever gets through against NuLab with their consistent cry du guerre of 40billion Doctors would be sacked if the Tories take 1p less in tax revenue. What they mean is there would be fewer members of the civil service, but the public believe them on the doctors thing, so we have a problem in saying it. We need to explain very carefully why we want tax cuts and where we would have them and how much they would provide in extra revenue by stimulation of the economy etc. That all takes evidence which is why we should wait for the policy commissions to report.

Richard, the problem is that if you seek American points of view, it's too easy to find economists with powerful arguments that Bush's borrowing-funded tax cuts have failed to deliver.

As I posted elewhere on this Forum today:

"Never mind tax cuts, with the level of the state sector pension deficits shown in the following Sunday Telegraph article, we might be lucky to keep tax levels static."


With regards to Malvolio's comment about flat taxes, don't assume it could be at 10% or something of that ilk. Our first policy should be tax simplification with no means of avoidance, thereby ensuring all of those who should be paying taxes are paying taxes.

Mark, how did Richard propose borrowing funded tax cuts? I thought he was proposing waste funded tax cuts?

kingbongo @ 11:33 -

"DC should give equal weight to the appallingly high taxes paid by the poor in Britain and seek to change that. Removing stamp duty on share dealing is actually part of this as attracting capital is a part of creating wealth for all."

No, removing stamp duty on share dealing would not reduce the taxes paid by the poor, and in fact the poor might have to make up the loss of tax revenue.

As for attracting capital to create wealth, I think this may be a similarly erroneous line of thinking to that of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown ten years ago.

They emphasised the importance of long term share holdings so that companies had the capital to invest in improving Britain's productivity (which they described using words like "dismal", as I recall) - hence the complex system of taper relief for capital gains tax which Brown introduced.

The fact is that if I buy shares on the LSE I add nothing to the capital available to a company for investment unless it's an issue of new shares when my money actually goes to the company. Otherwise it's just a change of ownership of the existing shares without in any way affecting the money in the company's coffers, and it makes no odds how often the shares change hands.

Everything Brown did on capital gains tax to discourage investors from frequent share dealings was pretty pointless from the point of view of increasing capital investment by companies and so improving productivity, and much the same is true of encouraging frequent share dealings by abolishing stamp duty.

Of course if the market is more liquid then companies may be more likely to offer new share issues and investors may be more likely to buy them, but that's only a second order effect. In any case, money raised by a company by a new issue on the LSE may not even come from this country, and it may not even be invested in productive assets in this country.

Mark, how did Richard propose borrowing funded tax cuts? I thought he was proposing waste funded tax cuts?

Sorry Richard (and Ben), I didn't notice your previous post about waste.

As I said before, I don't think the public will buy waste funded cuts. It's too easy to rubbish as an empty promise.

My preferred solution is not to promise tax cuts (talk which get rubbished). When we get into power we can deliver efficiency savings (IF we are able to) and use the savings to drop tax. No talk required.

My prefere

Taxcutting lies at the root and marrow of Conservatism. It needs to be right at the heart of our party's plans for the future.

It's all very well talking about these so-called "commissions". That's just an excuse for doing nothing, and look at some of the bizarre people who have been appointed to head up these silent bodies.

We need action now! I firm commitment to Conservative tax cuts is no more than our country deserves, and demands.

You are right Denis (12:30) and furthermore our opponents would say we are doing it to help our wealthy share trading friends and supporters.

For most people direct share ownership tends to be confined to shares they bought in the privatised utilities or given when Building Societies became banks.

I suppose it could be argued that removing stamp duty from shares might help pension schemes, but the biggest help there would be to reverse the Chancellors tax treatment of dividends that pension schemes receive, but we are talking about £5 billion a year so a not insignificant tax cut.

No, removing stamp duty on share dealing would not reduce the taxes paid by the poor

I didn't mean to imply that it would directly reduce taxes paid by the poor. I am afraid I must have expressed myself very poorly if you think I am thinking along Alistair Darlings line.

As somebody who used to write derivatives trading software I am aware that the buying and selling of shares doesn't directly add to the company's store of capital. However what liquidity does is lower frictional costs and this is A GOOD THING.

As you appear to believe that money coming in from overseas is somehow tainted ('it may not even come from this country') and that second order effects aren't worth bothering with then it's unlikely we'll agree on whether abolishing a tax that almost every major market has already got rid of is a good thing. It would also really be no more than the completion of a previous Conservative government commitment that was reneged on.

Economics is like that though, especially at the macro level. Hopefully, what we would agree on is that the poor pay more tax than is right and that better ways need to be thought of to address that.

Monday clubber, I don't agree. I think that what lies at the heart of Conservative thinking is providing good, small, government. That means taking a small amount of voters money and providing quality public services with it. However we want to take the minimum we need, rather than Labour who use it as some sort of levelling process, redistribution. If you have no commitment to quality public services, why take any tax at all? Why exist?

Since the next GE is three or four years away how does promising tax cuts now help? All it does is give the enemy a stick with which to beat us. You will never agree that the cuts are enough, and for some they will always be too much. Surely it is better to win power so we can reduce the burden of taxation? Rather than shouting from the sidelines...?

Removing stamp duty on share dealing may be a good idea in itself, but the electors we're trying to reach out to won't get excited about it.

The effect on them is too indirect. It's the taxes everybody pays directly that we have to cut.

Let's recapture that great Churchillian slogan from our party's glorious past.

"Set the people free!"

Ben I posted before reading your last post.

Anybody can say that public services are going to be "better". It may be more difficult to deliver the promise, however.

What would you do to achieve this end that the government are not trying to do already?

I certainly hope that Osborne listens to the growing tide of pro-tax cut voters. I can understand that Cameron does not want the Tories to be easily attacked by Labour and the liberal press over public services but the tide is turning. In 1997 tax was low but public services were not up to scratch. People voted Labour again and again because Labour delivered more money into public services to improve them, and the tax increases did not focus on income tax. Now people are feeling the pinch with more money going out in tax and mortgage repayments, and are seeing services which have had billions of pounds pumped into them performing at below-average.

I would just like to mention one more issue about tax cuts. Because of Labour's tax and spend psychology, we are in the midst of a structural deficit during a period of unprecedented growth. If we cut taxes, we run the risk of increasing inflation unless we reduce spending. So here lies the challenge for the Tory leadership: as business competitiveness and social mobility rely on lower taxes, can he deliver on that without breaking so many promises to be a New New Labour?

I strongly agree with tax cuts but I do not go as far as to support a flat tax. I am not convinced or the case for them and I feel they will hurt the lower middle class more than help them.

Good stuff by Redwood if this is true. Lets have this argument. Tax is a key aspect of any political manifesto and we need to argue the case for tax cuts right now. Leaving it till election year is not good enough.

I'd let the public servants make more decisions, with less interference from Central Government for starters.

kingbongo @ 12:55 -

"As you appear to believe that money coming in from overseas is somehow tainted ('it may not even come from this country')"

Not at all. I was only pointing out that Brown complicated the capital gains tax regime for investors in this country to put pressure on them to hold shares longer, arguing that companies should be given the chance to invest the capital and increase productivity without the fear of investors pulling out, when in reality it makes no difference to their capital budgets how often the shares change hands after they've been floated and in any case some of the money in those capital budgets won't even have come from the investors in this country who Brown was targetting ... the whole concept was complete nonsense, as you evidently know, and I kept waiting for a Tory spokesman to stand up and say so in forcible terms but that never happened.

"and that second order effects aren't worth bothering with ..."

Of course they are, but not as the first priority. In effect the LSE would like a £4 billion pa cut in its business taxes. Fair enough, but they would have to argue hard to explain why it should be their business, based in London and involving a relatively small number of people, some of whom are very well paid to say the least, which should have first call on that £4 billion pa. Why not businesses in other parts of the country, where the labour market still has some slack, and where per capita GDP is well below the national average? Or why shouldn't it be put towards the £5 billion pa needed to restore tax relief on dividends in pension funds, which would also benefit many more people across the country?

"Since the next GE is three or four years away"
Can our country take another 3 or 4 years of this government?

Possibly not Deborah, but unfortunately we have no choice - thanks to 14500 voters last time! Maybe all those who voted UKIP/BNP would like to review that choice...

Good idea to start selling the moral case for lower taxes now. At the same time we must if we wished to be trusted on this issue start to articulate where we will cut spending.Sadly at the same time we do also probably have to realise that if we are to have an up to strengh well equipped army and border police force we will have to pay for them. The cost is likely to be high and will have to be offset by cutting spending elsewhere.Above all, we have to avoid the policy of President Bush of building huge and unsustainable deficits.

"Maybe all those who voted UKIP/BNP would like to review that choice..."

Seeing as the BNP are now claiming Clement Attlee was someone who inspired them let us hope that they do!

Of course they are, but not as the first priority

Denis, I think this should be directed at GO. I was merely setting out the case that the tax should go. At the end of my first comment I did state that it was an odd choice for the first declared tax cut.

I think restoring the dividend tax credit needs to be an essential part of the tax rebate agenda and should come before anything else, as Brown's destruction of private pensions and its replacement with massive disincentives to save is doing very serious long term harm to the economy.

the whole concept was complete nonsense
a pithy description of most of the things Gordon Brown has done and yes, I too waited in vain for a tory spokesman to explain basic economics in understandable language. I think because Brown once,deliberately, said 'neoclassical endogenous growth theory' at a press conference he convinced most of the UK population that he was a genius and that entirely false image has stuck.

Perhaps George Osborne could start talking about the Public Sector Multiplier Effect fallacy or something as GB and most of the Labour party seem to still cling to it.

There's a lot of talk here about getting 'good public services'. What, like in the Social Services we have? In Education, in Health, virtually any Govt Dept you'd care to mention? I'd laugh if I weren't crying.

Whilst you do occasionally bump into public servants who try to do a good job, most can't be bothered, or are ingrained with a negative mentality, or most likely have been ground down by insane rules or rule changes or futile bureaucracy.

I want good PRIVATE services, that I can pay for with my own money, that I have been encouraged to save, and I'd like a proper private charities sector to help the disadvantaged, not more Govt Agencies in disguise.

I want to pay tax only for the following services: protection of Her Majesty's subjects from exterior threat by the Armed Forces and Intelligence Services, and protection from interior threat by the Police and the Criminal Justice System.

I would rather campaign on cutting waste than cutting tax. Both deliver the same end result, but cutting waste can't be misconstrued as cutting service.

Further, as Malcolm has pointed out, the war on terror is going to cut more, not less. I don't see how we can promise to cut tax at a time when we don't know what our future expenses will be.

"cost", not "cut"!

the war on terror is going to cut more, not less.

Only if we continue to crawl up Bush's backside.

If we pull out of places where we're not wanted like Iraq and Afganistan there will be a huge peace divident we can use to cut taxes.

How can we use a peace dividend to cut taxes Malvolio? Don't you think there is a need for much much more border protection and a larger better equiped army? Are you sure you're a Conservative?

Whilst you do occasionally bump into public servants who try to do a good job, most can't be bothered

what a crock - I've worked in the public sector, large corporate sector and for myself and I've worked with lazy people in all those roles.

You are a troll and I claim my £5 or you are a motormouth with little reasoning capacity and an inherent need to be angry.

If you really want to live in an anarcho-capitalist paradise you are suffering from the same mania that grips Marxist determinists and the results would be equally dismal.

Broadly agree with Ben Redsell. We need to put this into context by talking about reform that achieves better services which will also pave the way for future tax cuts. If we talk about tax cuts first it appears to be the same old tax-cuts-for-the-sake-of-it image that frightens off swing voters. We have to accept that there are real issues about perception and we have to reach beyond appearing to be just bean counters. There are many people who do want to know about what we can do to make communities better (ie putting the "we" into politics not just the "me"). This is very important.


Also agree with Mark Fulford when he says that people will tend to say they want tax cuts when questioned in isolation of the issues (If as Mark says the TPA said they were to ignore whther it was achievable this is even more valid). As has been pointed out before they also say they don't want cuts in public services. And again as someone says in this thread, all Govts promise more efficient services but don't seem to succeed. I think it can be done, but not as easily as some think and it will take proper planning and really hard work. The issue is about empowering civil servants lower down the chain so thay can truly excel rather than just meet lowest common denominator targets. Anyone who has managed orgainsations knows that culture change takes time. We should be looking at sensible reforms to improve services and which will form the foundation of tax cuts. There are some win-wins here esp if we could reform the welfare/benefits side of things,


I do not think some of you have followed the career of Gordon Brown closely enough

Mr Brown is a monetarist in the tradition of the right (and a far better one than Norman Lamont in my opinion)

If you look through history at the most powerful economies, you will see examples of how a strong right wing government controlled the moronic masses by organising them into labour fronts and attatching them to the state.

It is far better that Mr Brown is able to nullify the power of the Trade Union mob by taking away their political voice in parliament. The influence the unions now have on government is absolutely nill.

The real problem is the loose cannons such as the communist RMT & the FBU who have broken away from New Labour and are thus out of the control of Mr Brown & Mr Blair.

These are the real enemies we are facing. My family has payed millions of pounds in taxation so that lazy yobos may one day hold us to ransom.

As Mrs Thatcher said the real enemy is within. These people are a danger to us all. Unless we have a monetarist like Mr Brown who can control the mob and silence their voices we will all pay a price that is to terrible to contemplate.

If we run on a tax-cutting agenda, we will lose the election. Labour will be delighted to read this.

If we run on a tax-cutting agenda, we will lose the election.

Utter bilge.

Clearly you don't believe in Setting the People Free.

Richrad Sykes sets out all that needs saying on this issue in his Sunday Telegraph lead article.Tax cutting is essential if GB is not to be left behind in an increasingly globalised world where capital flows freely.

Delivering these reductions is however wholly dependent upon a wide ranging reform of how we fund and operate public services.


And that's the kind of thing the party should be investigating now instead of messing around with gimmicky people like Geldof who's not even a Tory anyway.

Increased private funding for "public" services together with all "pay-as-you-go" options should be investigated.

One of the greatest tragedies of the Thatcher years was the conspiracy to overthrow the Community Charge, which was one of the best things we ever did.

We need to get back to the idea of people paying something like a proper price for whatever goods and services they consume.

A voucher system could well be the way forward.

Restoring MIRAS would benefit the majority . It will also allow key workers and the young to get a home.

MIRAS restoration will in itself put the Tories back into power.

Of course, the big problem is how on earth do we afford it? However, the Conservatives managed it right up to about 1994 and then started cutting back on it...and Gordon Brown (obviously) finished it off.

The fact that it did exist at one time suggests to me that it must be possible to do.

I agree.

We lost before because we lost middle-class homeowners (due to inclometence and sleaze)

They are the people we need to win back

Tax cutting will not win us the next election and anyone who believes it will must have there heads in the sand or up there backside.
If you run with tax cuts you will have Brown and Co say that these will be paid for through cuts to front line services and as certian as night follows day voters will be scared off voting for us.
People do not trust us with the public services. We have to win back there trust if we are to win the election and you will will not do that if you start talking about cutting taxes.
We have to get into power, prove that we can run public services better and more efficiently than Labor then and only then will we be able to think about cutting the tax burden.
Any other way will lead to defeat yet again!

There is a course between the two sides of the above debate which I tried to map out before. I think we have to talk about how we will make public services better and then how this would enable sensible tax cuts to follow. A purely ideological approach will frighten the horses and remind people of the past not a course for the future. Also, and importantly, it is hard for Labour to offer reform as they claim to have done this already but have clearly failed. They are from the past and the public are at alsy perceiving that we are working to offer the future. We have to get this right and crude tax cuts per se are risky,


I do appreciate Matt's arguement but in reality I don't see any choice.There is simply no way of running the public services " more efficiently, without looking at how they are structured and more importantly paid for.

The idea that a public service must be adminstered and provided by the same entity needs to be unpicked.Failure to do this will mean they will continue to consume an increasing proportion of national wealth which our economy will be unable to furnish. Unless we grasp this nettle and move forward the future is bleak.

Quote from a post earlier:

"Taxcutting lies at the root and marrow of Conservatism. It needs to be right at the heart of our party's plans for the future."

The EU will be setting harmonised taxes (starting with property taxes) so this is one more thing the EPP (Conservative) Party will not have to plan for.

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