Category Archives: Tax

Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

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The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

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Is Starmer right to oppose tax rises on businesses and wealth?

Labour leader Keir Starmer seems to have provoked another attack on his tattered left-wing credentials, after he opposed plans to levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune from the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring Budget.

But is he right?

On corporation taxes, it seems he isn’t. Here’s Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, speaking last year but applying his words to this year too:

Okay, but how about wealth taxes?

The argument on taxing businesses is clear – it would discourage them from taking on (or retaining) staff at a time when we need people to keep their jobs, and it would take money out of the economy.

But wealth is kept in (very large) bank accounts and is not attached to employment.

So why not tax the people who have made (or increased) fortunes from the suffering of the rest of us?

At the very least, it might blunt the (fake) Tory argument that we all need to pay back the cost of the Covid crisis (that they’ve already paid anyway, by creating money).

This Writer would therefore tend to support it – but I’m ready to be corrected if you have a better argument.

Starmer’s alternative to taxing the rich is – as perhaps we should have expected – a neoliberal nightmare: he wants ordinary people to give any money we’ve managed to save during the Covid crisis to a new national investment bank. Why should we? If we back businesses, who would get the profit? And what if those businesses failed?

No Holding Back, a campaign group of socialist MPs, has said that Starmer seems to have his priorities wrong and Labour “needs a partnership with society, paid for by taxation,” not a “partnership with business, paid for by society”.

So it’s looking bad for Starmer.

But the outlook for the nation is looking worse. With no direction from either main political party, it seems the UK is drifting into economic shipwreck.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Will Sunak tax you cash you don’t owe, to pay a Covid-19 bill that doesn’t exist?

Rishi Sunak: now his nervous look may be attributed to the possibility that he will lie to us next week, demanding we pay back £300 billion that the Tories used to cover the cost of the Coronavirus when there is absolutely no need to do anything of the kind. The government created the money that was used to pay for the crisis.

Pay special attention to Rishi Sunak’s spring Budget speech next week because he will probably try to steal money from you.

It is likely Sunak will introduce measures that he claims are needed in order to pay back the £300 billion (roughly) cost of everything the Tory government has done to keep the UK running during the Covid-19 crisis.

He will be lying if he does. No such measures are needed.

You see, the money used to pay for Covid-19 was created by the government. It wasn’t borrowed and there is therefore no need to pay it back.

Watch Richard Murphy’s explanation here and you should get the idea:

What strikes This Writer as particularly evil is the implication that Sunak may impose taxes on us, in order to perpetuate a myth that the Tories have spun since 2009: that austerity is necessary.

It isn’t. It never was.

And this means that all the deaths that have been driven by Tory austerity policies were unnecessary; they were deliberately planned by Conservatives from David Cameron’s era onwards and this means that Cameron and those Tories who conspired with him (Iain Duncan Smith springs particularly to mind) should be brought to account for it.

But I doubt they will.

Public opinion is largely led by the mass media, who are currently owned by the Conservatives. They’re hardly likely to do anything that endangers them.

And that means you are unlikely to hear on the BBC any suggestion that we don’t owe anything for Covid-19.

But you don’t. And now you know this, you need to tell everybody around you.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Are the Tories trying to stop poor people having a say in public services because they stopped the low-paid from paying tax?

Some of us saw this coming.

If you’ve seen the video clip in which Richard Murphy explains how money works, you’ll know that people who pay tax are more likely to vote – they feel they have more of an interest in it.

(Of course, tax is about returning money the government has created, in order to avoid catastrophic inflation – and not about giving the government the money it needs in order to provide public services, but let’s not complicate matters by going into that.)

But the Tories have spent the last 11 years raising the earnings threshold at which people pay tax, claiming this as a sign of their generosity.

Oh really? Watch the video and consider the comment by Paul Sweeney.

It seems to This Writer that, through no fault of their own, attempts are being made to deny more than 20 million people the right to say which services the government funds. Presumably the next step is to say, if you don’t pay tax, you don’t get to vote.

We’re on a very slippery slope, here.

And a hypocritical one.

You’ll notice that nobody is saying you shouldn’t have a say if you don’t pay all the tax for which you should be liable – for example, because you engage in tax avoidance.

So super-rich tax avoiders will be able to vote/help decide which public services are funded or whether they get funded at all – despite the fact that most of them don’t need the most expensive of those services. Logically, they’ll say those are the ones to get the axe.

Meanwhile, the super-poor – who are now prevented from paying tax, either because they are on benefits or their wages have been pushed into the dirt by Tory employers – may be denied that right.

It should not even be a subject for discussion.

The qualification for voting – and therefore for helping decide how public money is spent – is UK citizenship because we all live here and we are all affected by the decisions the government makes.

Oh, and of course Income Tax is not the only tax that people pay.

So to rule people out of the process because they have been priced out of paying just one of the UK’s many taxes would be unfair in the extreme – and Emma Barnett was talking out of her rear end.

What a shame that’s such a good description of our current Tory government.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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No taxation without representation! But do we get value for money from our taxes?

Richard Murphy’s YouTube channel really is a goldmine if you want to explain to people how money works and why it is important.

In the video below, he discusses tax – why it is a good thing (yes, really!), how it balances faults in our economic system, and how it gives us a voice in government.

Did you know, for example, that without tax our money would be worthless?  Its value is validated by the fact that the government will only accept payment in pounds sterling, and that’s the only reason the pound has any value at all. Money is an artificial construct, you see. Its only worth is given to it by the importance we allow it.

Did you know that the government (it doesn’t matter which party is in office because they all do the same thing) must tax us in order to maintain the value of our money? If it didn’t take out of the system at least some of what it pays in, we would face rampant inflation. This means that governments create money, of course.

Did you know that, when they pay money into the system, governments support particular projects – either by directly funding them or by providing tax “breaks” to allow businesses or organisations extra cash they need to be financially viable?

And did you know that people who pay tax are more likely to vote – because it means they have a say in what is done with their money?

All these things are explored – albeit briefly – in the video below. It’s a great little primer on why the money in your pocket or bank account is important. And it’s less than four minutes long:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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So much for ‘free trade’ between the UK and EU! Have you seen how much tax the TORIES are charging us?

Money, money, money: the UK government is coining it in VAT and other taxes since Brexit finally happened on January 1. And YOU are paying.

Tales of shoppers having to pay huge extra costs to have goods delivered from the EU post-Brexit are proliferating.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have free trade!

It means our own – Tory – government is charging us extra in taxes.

It seems possible that this was the intention all along.

So in the BBC story (link below), one shopper was lumbered with a £12 extra cost for a £50 item.

UK VAT accounts for £10 of the extra £12 that Sascha was asked to pay. Sellers may also be charging higher delivery fees to cover any extra paperwork or border delays they may face.

On items costing less than £135, the charge is applied at the point of sale.

Another buyer was asked to pay £123 on top of £600 (and £25 delivery) for two designer handbags from Paris – when they arrived. This was still UK VAT, the BBC reckons, but because the items cost more than £135, the charge was applied when the items reached their destination.

A woman who received earrings as a gift, posted by a friend, was charged £28.85 by parcel handler DHL, even though they were sent before Christmas. Deliveries ran late so they arrived after January 1 – and came with the added taxes.

Gifts worth less than £39 don’t attract any extra charges… But gifts over that, like gold earrings, are eligible for VAT and (if it’s over £135) customs duties. And it’s always the recipient who receives the bill.

Import VAT applies for second-hand items as well as gifts, even if bought from a private individual.

EBay already has its system set up to charge the extra VAT upfront. Amazon says VAT will always be charged at point of sale on its site too. But the system won’t be running smoothly yet everywhere

Oh – and it works in reverse, too. A person in France, buying a £150 pair of boots from the UK, was asked to pay 88 Euros in import duty, breaking down to 43 Euros VAT, 30 Euros customs tax and a 15 Euro handling fee.

She was able to reject the delivery – but many others may not have the option as firms are

changing their terms and conditions so that customers have to cover the extra charges, even when goods are returned.

The BBC explained:

Shoppers on the continent buying from UK firms face the same rules as UK shoppers do in reverse so Jemima would have had to pay VAT and customs charges, because the boots or the materials they were made from, originated from outside the EU.

The revelations received this response on the social media:

Goods shortages, much higher prices, but at least we’ve got blue passports eh? How many still think #Brexit was a good idea? Voluntarily kicking ourselves when we’re already down,” tweeted Sheridan Webb.

Pete Franklin added: “That normal, apparently successful, people are being surprised by this gives us a clue why we are in this mess – they simply haven’t been paying attention. ”

Perhaps Steve Feasey put it best: “When Project Fear turns out to be Project Hasn’t-Everything-Got-Dear.”

And some have added this to the list of disasters caused by Brexit since the EU referendum in 2016:

Source: Brexit parcel price shock: ‘I had to pay £30 for a gift’ – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Beware this email campaign from scammers claiming to be HM Revenue & Customs (Vox Political Scrapbook)

I received one of these.

It was headed “2021 Reimbursement/Ref HM05012021 Payment confirmation” and stated that I needed to go to the “HMRC Online Payments website”  in order to receive £520.99.

I never clicked on the link. If HMRC is running a website called timeless-sunsets.com then I am Rishi Sunak!

A wave of scam text messages are being received across the UK, potentially duping people into giving up their card details in order to claim a non-existent government grant.

The scam has been quickly designed to take advantage of confusion following yesterday’s announcement of another national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But there are a number of signals in the text message, including grammar and spelling errors despite claiming to be sent from HM Revenue and Customs, that can alert people to the fraud.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC will never offer a tax refund by text, email or phone. One way to check whether you are due a rebate is to log into your Personal Tax Account.”

Source: The Great HMRC Scam: Don’t fall for it – Dorset Eye

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Will you be able to pay next year’s FIVE PER CENT council tax rise?

 

Isn’t it wonderful that dodgy Tory Robert Jenrick has announced a huge boost in councils’ spending power next year?

And isn’t it diabolical that, after finding billions upon billions of pounds for fake firms run by Tory cronies, these funds will be provided via a massive five per cent hike in council tax?

Councils will be given the freedom to hike bills by 5% next year despite wages and growth stalling in the pandemic.

The small print of a police grants report, published today, also reveals next year’s police funding is dependent on council tax hikes of £15 for a Band D home.

Those hikes would be over and above the other rises in council tax to pay for general services and social care.

And what will you get for it?

Street lighting, rubbish collection (except you still won’t be able to recycle everything that you should), and inflated salaries for councillors and council officers who don’t deserve them.

Source: 11 bits of bad news the Tories sneaked out hours before the Christmas holiday

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Wealth tax plan to help pay for Covid crisis could be ignored if you don’t have your say

Cash: The richest people in the UK can afford to lose one per cent of theirs much more easily than you can afford to lose nine per cent of yours. But the Tory government listens to them, not you. What are you going to do about it?

The UK’s wealthiest households should pay a special tax to help cover the enormous cost of the Covid-19 crisis, according to an independent team of experts.

The Wealth Tax Commission said it would be better to pay part of the £394 billion in Treasury borrowing, incurred this year, with a tax on those who have profited during the crisis than by causing more hurt to those whose lives have already been seriously disrupted by the pandemic.

The Commission said a rate of just one per cent per year on households with more than £1 million would raise £260 billion over five years.

The Conservatives are, of course, biased against a wealth tax, with Rishi Sunak saying in July that he could see no reason to impose one.

But times change, and huge increases in taxes on the poor – income tax would have to rise by 9p per pound to produce the same effect; that’s nine times as much as the proposed wealth tax – would seriously harm Tory electability in the future.

That being said, critics have justifiably questioned why the proposed tax is being touted only as a way of paying off a national debt.

They say it would be better to invest the money in projects that will raise more revenue for the UK in the future, helping to reduce the wider national debt which the Tories have more than doubled to over £2 trillion in the 10 years since they took office in 2010.

The message for ordinary people is simple: If you don’t want to end up with an almost 50 per cent increase in income tax – or a 6p rise in VAT, which is the other alternative – get on to your MP at once and lobby for the wealth tax.

The richest people in the UK won’t want it, even though the loss of £10,000 harms them less than the loss of £260 (the equivalent from the so-called average pay packet) harms an ordinary working person.

Better still, how about forming groups to lobby your MP? Large numbers of people working together seem to impress the authorities more than individuals, who they can dismiss as lone voices.

The alternative may be a very expensive, poverty-ridden future.

Source: COVID-19: Experts make case for one-off £260bn tax raid on wealthy | Business News | Sky News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook