Martin Vander Weyer has written an excellent article for today’s Daily Mail (not online). He reviews Gordon Brown’s great tax squeeze on Britain’s middle classes and the declining tax competitiveness of British business. He provides a reminder of the extent of Labour’s tax grab:
- The fact that our tax burden is rising faster than any other EU nation and has just exceeded that of Germany;
- The £5bn-a-year raid on pensions that has reduced the value of retirement funds by at least £100bn; and
- The failure to raise tax thresholds in line with inflation so that 1.2 million more people have been caught in the 40% tax bracket and that inheritance tax cuts in at £285,000 when indexation to house-price inflation would have put it at £430,000.
The article could also have mentioned soaring council tax and the many other stealth taxes that Gordon Brown has imposed. Steadily and surely Gordon Brown is undoing the good of the Thatcher years and a sharp change of course is needed if we are not to return to our high-tax and high-waste past.
Taxes from Whitehall and regulations from Brussels are sending Britain further and further down the competitiveness league table. It is extraordinary that Britain’s Conservative Party chooses this time to stop talking about tax and Europe in any meaningful way.
I hope it’s not too late for David Cameron to change emphasis. Later today the Tory leader is giving a speech on tax simplification. I hope the speech moves beyond generalities and embraces the thrust of Lord Forsyth’s Tax Commission and the imminent publication of its findings. If the Conservative Party is to avoid a dangerous challenge from a low tax party at the next General Election – perhaps birthed on the internet – it needs to listen to Lord Forsyth.