Congratulations to Ben Gummer MP, who has just made a fundamental change to the relationship between taxpayers and the state.
This week, 24 million people people will receive a transparent breakdown of how their taxes are spent – an idea which Ben picked up from this ConHome article, which he campaigned on in Parliament and which was adopted by the Chancellor in 2012.
This is what the Conservative family is for – taking a good idea from a blog, to a campaigning MP (supported by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, among others), to Government policy and now, at last, to reality.
At its heart, this is a question of accountability. In return for their taxes people deserve at minimum an explanation of where their money goes. Better information makes for better decision-making – which is the reason the left are up in arms about a step which will help people find out that they spend more on debt interest than defence, for example. This information will undoubtedly change people’s attitudes to taxation and public spending.
The BBC has a sample of the statements:
The story is also a reminder of the growing power of individual MPs to champion ideas – from Jesse Norman to Rob Halfon, we’re seeing more and more of them change things for the better through focused campaigning rather than by the longer march through ministerial office.
Now that we have some degree of transparency about how taxes are spent, I wonder if we’ll ever get transparency on how they’re collected? A more transparent breakdown on receipts of the tax involved when you buy items in the shops, for example, would be interesting.