Five years on from the start of the recession, with GDP still 2.5 per cent lower than it was then, it speaks volumes about the feebleness of the economy that today’s announcement of meagre growth last quarter was greeted with relief. But it’s not just the overall level of growth which is worrying, the dominance of Government growth is also a major concern.
GDP was up a paltry 0.3 per cent compared to the previous quarter, and up 0.6 per cent on the same quarter last year. Compared to 2008, it was down 0.5 per cent. But Government was up 0.5 per cent on last quarter, up 1.2 per cent on the same quarter last year and up 6.9 per cent on 2008. Our bloated and still growing Government might give the economy some short term relief from adjusting to new circumstances. But five years on, we’re not in the short term anymore.
Reacting to today’s report Tax avoidance: the role of large accountancy firms from the Public Accounts Committee , Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:
“Our hideously complex tax code makes it easier for well-paid accountants to run rings around a taxman who is reliant on the external help of the big four. The power to make our tax system simpler and fairer lies squarely in the hands of politicians. They must stop pontificating about individual cases and actually do something to reform the system which they designed and have been tinkering with ever since.
“The committee is right to say that radical action is needed to simplify the tax system. Strategic reforms are needed to get rid of redundant double taxes and end the need for countless complicated reliefs. Then taxpayers could have confidence that everyone was paying their fair share.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) proposed a radical simplification of the tax system in the 2020 Tax Commission, a joint project between the TPA and Institute of Directors (IoD). The final report of the commission, The Single Income Tax, can be found here.
Islington Council will have to repay motorists a huge amount in compensation over a bungled road layout scheme. It has apparently caused a number of accidents, including three in which vehicles over-turned while trying to negotiate it.
The scheme has attracted a large number of complaints from local residents, and has already cost local taxpayers some £110,000 including revisions. Apart from the accident toll, it seems that technical failures by Islington Council will also lead to over 10,000 traffic fines illegally issued between November last year and February having to be repaid at a cost of up to £1 million. Opposition councillors have called for the scheme to be scrapped. Continue Reading
The Daily Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner has written about his ‘epiphany’ moment when he realised that UK banks really are being too risk-averse:
At a Grant Thornton discussion among businessmen in the West Midlands which I was moderating, Jonathan Duck, chief executive of the flooring company Amtico, said that he had become so frustrated in trying to persuade bankers to finance new investment that he’s sold the company. Continue Reading
Writing for politics.co.uk TPA Campaign Manager Eleanor McGrath argues against a 60 per cent pay rise for MPs.
It emerged over the weekend that transport minister Stephen Hammond thinks MPs deserve a pay rise of 60%.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to The Sun on Sunday he responded to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) review into MPs’ pay with a call for their salaries to be increased to over £100,000.