Straight talking please Mr Osborne

February 15, 2008 9:10 AM

Sometimes it's a wonder anyone bothers to vote these days. Why can't politicians stand up for what they believe in, and give it to us straight?


A classic example of this is today's FT report on George Osborne's speech later today on the principles of tax reform. Mr Osborne has said repeatedly (and rightly) that the Government's tax rises have been damaging to the economy. So why won't he come out and say that he will reduce them? Given that he won't, are we to believe that he is actually happy with the Government's tax rises? You'd be forgiven for being confused.


As the FT reports:

Mr Osborne will promise a “fundamental rethink” of the tax system to ensure a longer-term approach to fiscal changes that addresses the effects of taxes on issues such as climate change.

So what does "fundamental rethink" actually mean? Sounds like higher green taxes, lower taxes elsewhere, but no cut in the overall tax burden, when a cut in the overall burden of tax is the very think that Britain's economy needs. Some fundamental rethink!


Politicians who are afraid to address the high-tax, high-spending consensus should remember our YouGov poll last August, which found that 64 per cent think that the government spends too much and therefore taxes too much.


That all said, there are some welcome moves that Mr Osborne will announced today. Chief among them will be an Office of Tax Simplification, proposed by the Tax Reform Commission and designed to do to complex tax law what the National Audit Office is doing to government departments. The Tories would also require the Treasury to publish technical changes to the tax system in the autumn and set up a new parliamentary committee to scrutinise those changes. Hopefully this will insure no more CGT and non-dom chaos.

Sometimes it's a wonder anyone bothers to vote these days. Why can't politicians stand up for what they believe in, and give it to us straight?


A classic example of this is today's FT report on George Osborne's speech later today on the principles of tax reform. Mr Osborne has said repeatedly (and rightly) that the Government's tax rises have been damaging to the economy. So why won't he come out and say that he will reduce them? Given that he won't, are we to believe that he is actually happy with the Government's tax rises? You'd be forgiven for being confused.


As the FT reports:

Mr Osborne will promise a “fundamental rethink” of the tax system to ensure a longer-term approach to fiscal changes that addresses the effects of taxes on issues such as climate change.

So what does "fundamental rethink" actually mean? Sounds like higher green taxes, lower taxes elsewhere, but no cut in the overall tax burden, when a cut in the overall burden of tax is the very think that Britain's economy needs. Some fundamental rethink!


Politicians who are afraid to address the high-tax, high-spending consensus should remember our YouGov poll last August, which found that 64 per cent think that the government spends too much and therefore taxes too much.


That all said, there are some welcome moves that Mr Osborne will announced today. Chief among them will be an Office of Tax Simplification, proposed by the Tax Reform Commission and designed to do to complex tax law what the National Audit Office is doing to government departments. The Tories would also require the Treasury to publish technical changes to the tax system in the autumn and set up a new parliamentary committee to scrutinise those changes. Hopefully this will insure no more CGT and non-dom chaos.

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