Autumn Statement must be ambitious

December 01, 2014 9:44 AM

George Osborne will this week deliver the final Autumn Statement of this Parliament. He should use the opportunity to declare a real War on Waste, going further and faster in real deficit reduction rather than political grandstanding. He should also help secure the recovery by speeding up threshold changes to the personal allowance and 40 per cent rate, and restore honesty to the tax system by renaming National Insurance as the Earnings Tax.

In detail, the TaxPayers’ Alliance recommends:

Waste
  • Tackle wasteful spending. One existing Minister in each Department should be given the additional responsibility of rooting out waste in their respective Department and implement more stringent budgetary processes
  • Re-start the process of assessing the role of every single public body and abolish those that are no longer required
  • An end to the NHS ring-fence so that wasteful practices can be eliminated, allowing Simon Stevens, the boss of NHS England, to enact the changes he has identified that could save £22 billion of taxpayers' money. The Chancellor must challenge the NHS to find savings and prioritise frontline services, not provide a financial sticking plaster
  • Scrap the HS2 white elephant and use some of the money saved for better value rail and road projects.
  • Set about departmental reform by announcing plans to close the Department for Culture, Media and Sport along with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, transferring some responsibilities such as museums, universities and training to other departments
Taxes
  • Extend the use of dynamic modelling used in last year’s Autumn Statement to all fiscal policy announcements. Dynamic analysis should be required for all fiscal policy changes announced by the Government
  • Rename National Insurance as Earnings Tax, to properly reflect its true function as a parallel system of income tax on employment earnings. Further, bring the 'Earnings Tax' threshold up to the same level of Income Tax, giving millions of people on low incomes greater reward for their work
  • Further, the Chancellor must report on the 2011 Consultation into plans to merge Income Tax and National Insurance
  • Flesh out proposals to increase the 40p threshold, and consider indexing it to earnings to eliminate fiscal drag
  • Reform Stamp Duty, either by eliminating the slab rate system, reducing the rates by 50 per cent, or doubling the thresholds at which the different rates apply
Speaking in advance of the Autumn Statement, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:

“The deficit is still enormous and with the credit card bill getting ever larger, it's time for urgent and radical action to cut both down to size. That means the Chancellor should wage a war on wasteful spending and cut out unnecessary quangos and departments to trim down the size of government. That will leave room to make the tax cuts hard-pressed families so badly need.”

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