In a leader that welcomes David Cameron’s commitment to social justice The Spectator calls on the Tory leader to recognise the damage that Gordon Brown’s stealth taxes have done to the poorest Britons:
"When Labour is attacked for its numerous tax rises over the past nine years, it is often taken for granted that it is the well-off who are paying the extra tax. Yet this is not so. The Chancellor has tended to raise money from spending taxes, which fall disproportionately upon the poor: fuel, alcohol and tobacco duties. At the same time he has failed to raise the thresholds for income tax in line with average earnings, with the result that many more low-earners have been brought into the tax system. True, Mr Brown has tried to compensate for this by handing money back to the poor in the form of ‘tax credits’: i.e., handouts. Yet these benefits have been poorly taken up for the simple reason that in order to claim them, it is invariably necessary to fill in very complicated forms. This is an especially difficult task for the poorly educated, and so Gordon Brown’s model of wealth redistribution discriminates against them."
The leader also goes on to say that hi-regulation also imposes an unfair ceiling on the would-be upwardly mobile:
"If we want to help the poor to help themselves, it must be easy for them to start their own microbusinesses. Yet those who do so often find themselves embroiled in regulation designed with huge companies in mind."
It’s not just regulation designed with huge companies in mind – huge companies and their lobbyists help create those regulations as barriers to entry. Adam Smith’s warning that "people of the same trade seldom meet together [without concocting] a conspiracy against the public" is a principal reason why David Cameron is right to say that Conservatives should stand up to big business.
If David Cameron is right about big business it is disappointing that he is silent about tax. It is not just low income families that need to be rescued from Gordon Brown’s tax bombshell – the whole British economy needs tax relief. This week’s most important fact came from last Sunday’s Business (see graph on right):
BRITISH TAX LEVELS ARE ABOUT TO EXCEED GERMAN TAX LEVELS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A GENERATION.
It is the duty of the Conservative Party to lead public debate on this issue. The excellent Taxpayers’ Alliance can’t do all of the campaigning. Gordon Brown’s tax burden has deadly consequences for wealth creation and social justice. Without tax relief and tax simplification the British economy will become uncompetitive and the progress of the Thatcher years will be slowly undone.
One of the key insights of David Davis’ leadership bid was that we needed to use a whole parliament to make the public case for difficult policy priorities. The public are not yet persuaded of the need for economy-boosting tax relief. The Conservatives need to start persuading soon…