After Brexit the UK could cut VAT on energy – but should it?

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During the EU referendum, one of Vote Leave’s promises was that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone”. Specifically, Boris Johnson and others argued that: “In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed. This makes gas and electricity much more expensive. EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills. The least wealthy … Continued

Torsten Bell

How wealth taxes can raise billions more without scaring any horses

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Raising taxes is never easy. Raising taxes with the government’s slim parliamentary majority is harder still. Raising taxes on wealth in those circumstances, given our diverging senses of fairness is…  not a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need doing, and the good news is that significant progress can be made … Continued

The Chancellor may have one arm tied behind his back, but there are still tax levers he can pull

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How can a government with a tenuous majority, an intra-party feud and Brexit uncertainty find the money to ‘end austerity’ on top of more than £20 billion a year it has promised for the NHS? The safe bet is that it won’t find anywhere near all of it in the Budget. This can – like … Continued

Public spending
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Tax
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Intergenerational Centre
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Political parties and elections

Britain is set to replace the era of austerity with a new era of tax rises

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The main message that has united both main party conferences over the last fortnight is that the era of austerity is over. For Labour that means more spending on new things – from universal childcare to a mass programme of nationalisation. And for many Conservatives it means a return to what they love doing best … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Is there enough fuel in the fiscal tank for another duty freeze?

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After eight years of freezes, it had started to look like successive governments’ cancellation of the annual RPI-linked uprating of fuel duty had run out of road. After all, it’s already costing the government around £9 billion a year, and that cost will grow with each passing year. But we now know that the Chancellor … Continued

Torsten Bell

All gain, no pain? – the Chancellor’s cunning tax plan

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British politics is odd these days. But even by current standards something very unusual looks set to happen in next week’s Budget. A basic rule of British politics is that tax rises tend to happen soon after a general election, with the Chancellor betting that we’ll all have forgotten about them when the next election … Continued

Torsten Bell
Housing
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Tax
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Intergenerational Centre
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Political parties and elections

Death taxes, the Conservative manifesto, and the changing politics of intergenerational fairness

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Today we got sight of the Conservative Party’s Theresa May’s manifesto. Just two short years since the last Tory manifesto was presented to the British public, this 2017 offering is a very different beast. The personality shift is all too obvious as Mayism well and truly buries the Cameron/Osborne era of combining rhetorical focus on … Continued

Torsten Bell
Tax
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Political parties and elections

Let’s talk about tax

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Something unusual is happening in this general election campaign. Everyone is talking about raising taxes. Last Sunday Theresa May told Britain she wouldn’t be repeating David Cameron’s mistake of ruling out ever raising any of National Insurance, income tax or VAT. Before that Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, had hinted that people earning over £70-£80,000 … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson

A small and sensible National Insurance rise for the self-employed is not the real strivers tax

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Here’s proof that a small and sensible National Insurance rise for the self-employed is not the real strivers tax in three charts. Conservative backbenchers and some newspapers are outraged by the Chancellor’s announcement this week that self-employed National Insurance contributions (NICs) are going up.  Broken manifesto pledges and headlines about men in white vans adds … Continued

Torsten Bell

Is the Chancellor about to start closing the self-employment tax gap?

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The Treasury is worried the self-employed aren’t paying enough tax. Conservative backbenchers are worried the Chancellor might do something about it. But what are the facts lying behind this pre-Budget anxiety outbreak? First things first, the Treasury is right to think there’s a fairly simple issue with the self-employed and tax – they pay a … Continued

Inheritances and gifts: The generational challenge facing the Chancellor at this week’s Autumn Statement

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When setting out the challenges facing younger generations – from the hit to pay they’ve suffered post-crisis to the diminishing opportunities to match the housing or pension wealth their parents have– we are often told that it will all be ok once they get their hands on their inheritances. The truth is of course more … Continued

Will the Chancellor replace employer National Insurance with a payroll levy?

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The Autumn Statement – the first fiscal statement not delivered by George Osborne since March 2010 – will be no small event. Given the replacement of the Prime Minister and Chancellor, the economic implications of the Brexit vote and the resetting of fiscal policy for the rest of the parliament, there will be plenty to … Continued

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