Tag Archives: tax

Thousands of disabled people could be eligible for £4,600 a year – in tax credits

If you have a disability and are receiving Personal Independence Payment, then you could be eligible for a bonus – from the taxman (or woman).

If you are still able to work, you might also be able to get the disability element of Working Tax Credit, totalling up to £3,220 a year, or up to £4,610 if your disability is severe.

Gov.uk’s tax calculator can help you find out how much you could receive – you can do it here.

It is true that tax credits have been replaced by Universal Credit for most people, so usually you can only make a new claim for tax credits if you also receive the severe disability premium, are entitled to it, or if this was the case within the past month.

If you can’t make a new claim for tax credits, you may still be able to apply for Universal Credit (or Pension Credit if you and your partner are State Pension age or over).

You have nothing to lose.

Source: Are you eligible for PIP? Thousands of claimants could be missing out on an extra £4,600 – Chronicle Live

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Sunak gets the collection bowl out – and the cosh. But why should we pay?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants us to cough up the money he, Boris Johnson and their government have wasted on crony companies that have done nothing – and in some cases weren’t even real (we’re told).

According to the Office of Budget (Ir)Responsibility, by the end of the financial year in March 2021, Johnson is likely to have spent £316.4 billion more than was spent in the previous 12 months.

Not all of it was wasted, even This Writer has to admit. But much of it was – and Sunak is now suggesting that the general public should stump up the cost – even though we’re the ones who have felt the brunt of the harm caused by Covid-19.

And remember, Brexit is likely to take between one and two per cent off the UK economy from January:

And the BBC report states that Sunak

old the Sunday Times people would soon see “the scale of the economic shock laid bare” , indicating taxes might have to start rising next year and there could be spending cuts.

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies agreed:

Why should we pay a single red cent to cover Sunak’s – and Johnson’s – mistakes?

One of the Tories’ selling-points – on which they stake their reputations and their chances at every election – is that they are the party of financial responsibility. They fool people into voting for them on this premise and then immediately betray those people by throwing money away stupidly.

That is what has happened after every election over the last 10 years, in spite of what David Cameron and George Osborne said about the need for austerity, and in spite of what Johnson and Sunak are saying now.

If you want to get a grip on the scale of Tory waste, visit My Little Crony – the app that shows exactly how the Tories have been siphoning off public funds and giving them to their friends – ostensibly for work to tackle Covid-19 but actually with very little result.

We have very little to do with the way governments spend our money.

We vote according to their promises in election manifestos but, once they’re in office, we can’t force them to honour their promises – and when a crisis like Covid-19 comes along, we have to bow to the inevitability that something had to be done and it had to be funded.

(Was Covid-19 unforeseen, though? Johnson knew about it in November last year – before the election. Why didn’t he mention it?)

Worse, we have no leverage to force a government to keep its spending under control – which would then remove the need for extra taxation. We cannot legally withhold the extra money if the government increases taxes – indeed, we face heavy penalties if we try.

But governments do have alternatives.

There is no laissez-faire in economics. Public demand for goods, services and other commodities changes all the time and it is a matter of good government to anticipate the changes and prepare for them.

So, for example, if a government wanted to divest itself of carbon-fuelled energy and invest in the green economy, in response to public demand and environmental pressures, it might launch a long-term strategy that would involve heavy investment immediately, to be paid off over a long period of time in the future – with no extra burden on the taxpayer. The cash borrowed to carry out the work would be paid down over future decades as the benefits made themselves felt.

This does not work for investments in defence, which carry no immediately-apparent economic benefits beyond the obvious one of a nation remaining free from invasion by its opponents. This is one reason Boris Johnson’s determination to increase defence funding by 10 per cent, at a time of economic trauma to the UK, is confusing.

Sunak doesn’t need to raise taxes. The UK’s borrowing level will decrease – hopefully after the anticipated Covid vaccines arrive. He can impose measures to ensure the costs will be paid off.

He can also make an effort to recoup the cash he wasted on crony companies (although it seems doubtful that he will; the whole point of the exercise seems to have been handing out free money to Tory pals). If he doesn’t, then he’ll be hard-pressed to persuade any of us to part with our cash.

Many of us have lost our jobs. We have lost relatives to the disease because the Tories failed – perhaps deliberately – to contain it. We are poorer and we are demoralised by our government’s lack of ability to get to grips with even the simplest tasks that have been put before it.

And now Sunak wants us to pay up because he can’t do his job properly. What do you think of that?

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Cummings council tax: a form letter for your local authority

Where he belongs: but Dominic Cummings (and his family) seem able to get away with anything because of his connection with Boris Johnson.

The family of Dominic Cummings has been allowed to avoid paying historical council tax on several properties built on their land without planning permission, it has been revealed.

What a great opportunity for the rest of us!

It seems clear that every other council taxpayer in the UK should write to their local authority’s council tax department, demanding appropriately similar treatment. The text could run something like this:

To whom it may concern,

I read with pleasure that a family in Durham has received an effective Council Tax rebate of £30,000. What a boost for them in these Covid-19-blighted times – and on properties without planning permission, too!

write to request delivery of my own council tax rebate. While I accept that this may be adjusted down according to the council tax band in which my dwelling falls, I expect I must be due a considerable amount more than the family in Durham – because my dwelling does have planning permission.

It has occurred to me that the rebate may not be applied to my area, but only to families in Durham – but that would make no sense, would it? Why would one area receive preferential treatment? We’re all in this together, after all – or at least, that’s what we’re told!

I look forward to your reply by return of post, stating the amount of rebate to which I am due for my property, along with notification of the transfer to my bank.

Alternatively, you’d better be able to explain why a wealthy family of lawbreakers is being rewarded, rather than punished, for breaking planning laws and hiding the fact for 18 years, when the rest of us have to pay.

With regards,

(And so on.)

The injustice is clear – just think about Melanie Woolcock, the single mother who defaulted on her council tax because she wasn’t well enough to work and the Tory benefit system paid so little that she could not afford to pay the amount outstanding and buy food.

She was arrested for non-payment of £4,742 in council tax – less than one-sixth of what Cummings’s family is said to have owed – and forced to serve an 81-day prison sentence.

Between her and the Cummings family, who do you think deserves leniency?

It’s not even up for question, is it? Yet in Boris Johnson’s Britain, his adviser’s rich family walk free while the sick woman went to jail for the crime of being poor.

This latest scandal has sparked a wave of outrage – and a few alternative proposals:

Source: Dominic Cummings allowed to avoid backdated council tax on second home | Politics | The Guardian

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Sunak threatens tax raid in yet another Tory u-turn

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

This won’t play well with the Tory backbenchers: after u-turn after u-turn over Covid-19 and schools, their government is promising yet another u-turn – over tax.

Tories pride themselves on being a tax-cutting party. But Rishi Sunak is said to be threatening not just one but several tax hikes:

And to add insult to injury, the planned policy change means the Conservatives will be mirroring a policy planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in its 2019 election manifesto:

And if the voters don’t like it – and they don’t:

… What are Johnson’s already-disgruntled backbenchers going to do?

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Supine Sunak set to axe ‘Facebook tax’ because he’s scared of big, nasty Donald Trump

Rishi Sunak: ‘Please don’t force us to eat your diseased chicken, Mr Trump! Look – we’ll cancel our tax on your tech companies! They can take as much money as they like from operating in our country and we won’t ask for a penny! Will that persuade you, Mr Trump? Mr Trump? Are you there..?’

Could there be a more blatant display of the UK’s newfound powerLESSness in the world?

The UK imposed a tax on tech companies like Facebook last year, expecting to bring in £500 million per year from firms that make more than £25 million each and would otherwise pay very little indeed.

But now Rishi Sunak is reportedly planning to axe it, in the hope that doing so will encourage Donald Trump not to insist on sending chlorinated chicken to the UK.

Sunak doesn’t even have the bargaining power to say he’ll do it on condition that Trump relents on his determination to foist food poisoning on the United Kingdom.

The justification to the rest of us? “Oh, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.”

I don’t know about that. £500 million is a lot of money to most of us.

The whole situation is pathetic.

The Johnson government, in the footsteps of Theresa May and David Cameron, has reduced Britain from Greatness to a state that can only be described as Little.

Source: Rishi Sunak to axe ‘Facebook tax’ on US tech giants deciding it is ‘more trouble than it’s worth’ | Daily Mail Online

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Tories are stalling on social care because they don’t want you to have it

Matt Hancock: millions of people are going without vital care because this bubblehead can’t be bothered to read a report.

Is it really any surprise that the Tory response to Covid-19 in social care situations has been a massacre?

They have no interest in using public funds to provide care for people who need it; they don’t think the money is meant for that.

Also, of course, anything with the word “social” in its title is like garlic to a vampire for them.

For example, has Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock got round to reading a report that stated – in July 2019 – that the social care system needed a cash injection of £8 billion, just to keep it ticking along?

Who knows how much cash it needs now?

Hancock was supposed to respond within two months but didn’t. Perhaps he was on his summer holibobs.

It is now more than a year later. Yes, Hancock has had to handle the Covid-19 pandemic – but if he was a responsible minister, he would not leave other matters dangling, and in any case the crisis has identified serious failings in care home provision.

Hancock has done nothing about them, nor has he lifted a finger to address failings that have left no fewer than 1.4 million older people in the community without help that they need desperately.

Public funding has fallen by £700 million since the Conservatives came back into office in 2010, and 400,000 people have lost their entitlement to help because successive Tory minister couldn’t be bothered to increase the level of means below which a person should be eligible for help, in line with inflation.

Boris Johnson ignored the scandal in his manifesto for last year’s election because he was afraid it would derail is campaign – and your true-blue Tory mass media dutifully turned a blind eye.

Theresa May’s 2017 election campaign was derailed by the issue of social care, after she proposed draconian measures to take families’ property away from them, in order to fund care for frail relatives.

Finally, last week, pressed for an answer on social care by a coalition of English councils, Hancock volunteered a cobbled-together choice between forcing everybody aged over 40 to contribute extra taxes to fund social care in later life – in line with models running in Japan and Germany, and compelling us all to take out insurance that will pay the bills later.

Neither plan is workable.

Firstly, what if people who are taxed for social care in later life never actually need it? This Writer’s grandmother lived to the ripe age of 88, with Altzheimer’s in her later years, but never had social care; my parents are both in their 80s now and are happily – and healthily – at home. Contribution to such a fund for any of them would have been a waste of money.

And the insurance plan is a no-hoper too: payment into private insurance schemes inevitably creates the temptation to cheat the payee out of their funds. Look at the way the criminal US insurance firm Unum cheated its clients out of their payments by ensuring that they could never meet the conditions required for payouts. Look at the number of UK pension funds that have been raided.

And of course we already pay into an insurance fund for our old age: National Insurance. The Tories could simply increase that by 1.5 per cent (that’s the amount of their income that Germans pay), rather than farming the job out to let privateers rob us all.

Either Hancock hasn’t considered any of these issues or he doesn’t care.

Source: Matt Hancock has failed to respond to report warning of social care ‘scandal’ nine months after deadline | The Independent

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Sunak’s online sales tax really is just another way to attack people with disabilities

Rishi Sunak: he keeps interfering with the market, despite his party’s claim that it’s better to leave it alone. Is it because Tories love to torture people with disabilities?

Rishi Sunak isn’t making any sense at all.

He says his plan for an online sales tax is intended to push people back onto the High Street, to physically go out and buy products in order to save businesses that are in danger after the lockdown forced us to stay indoors.

We’ve been buying products online while Covid-19 remains a threat.

And we’ll go back to the High Street, but only once we are convinced the danger is over.

So if High Street shops are in danger, it’ll be because we can’t trust Sunak and his fellow Tories on when that’s likely to be.

Not only that, but in considering such a tax, Sunak is saying the UK is hostile to the new commerce that the Internet represents – as net-based firms still pay business rates and all the other taxes associated with sales.

That’s not good for any country’s economy in this day and age.

It simply doesn’t make sense.

But, considering the Conservatives’ well-known passion for cruelty, there is one reason for bringing in an online sales tax that does make sense: they’ve found out it’s another way they can attack people with disabilities.

People whose health conditions mean they can’t get out of the house have to use the Net to get their stuff, and many shops don’t have access for people with disabilities anyway – despite disability access laws having been enacted many years ago.

People with disabilities don’t have much cash to enjoy, either. They’re either on benefits or in low-waged employment.

So the logical reason for imposing an online sales tax is to push disabled people further into poverty – or to deprive them of goods that they should have the same opportunity to enjoy as the rest of us.

Tories have form in this regard; “Eat out to help out” was another attack on people with disabilities, as you can’t benefit from a discount on restaurant meals if you can’t actually leave home.

Underlying it all is yet another big lie:

Tories have supported, on the face of it, neoliberal ideology since Margaret Thatcher became their leader in the mid-1970s – and that means they support a laissez-faire attitude to the market.

This means they believe the market will automatically adjust to prevailing conditions in order to keep going.

So the proper government policy is non-interference.

Yet here they are, interfering.

Source: Rishi Sunak’s planned online sales tax is a tax on disability | Disability | The Guardian

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DWP rejection of benefit increase call proves conclusively: we’re NOT ‘all in it together’

The Department for Work and Pensions has rejected a call by its own advisors to increase benefits and help two million people get through the Covid-19 crisis.

The Tory government promised to increase the amounts of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits payable to claimants, way back in March.

But people on the so-called “legacy” benefits like Employment and Support Allowance have been denied the same courtesy.

Ministers said this is because it would take too much time to implement.

What – a few keystrokes on a computer takes too much time to implement? I don’t believe it.

How do they manage the regular annual upgrades, then?

This Writer reckons the intention all along was to give a false impression to normally-working people who were thrown onto UC by the Covid crisis, that the benefits system provides an ample safety cushion to claimants in need. It doesn’t.

People on the “legacy” benefits already know the system is set up to punish people for being out of work, and therefore are deemed not to need an increase that is only for show, while the Covid contingent is claiming.

In other words: the Covid-related benefits boost is just another public-relations scam.

Getting people through the crisis is only its secondary function.

Its main purpose is to reassure Conservatives in the electorate.

If it dupes enough Tory voters into continuing to vote Tory, it will have done its job.

Source: DWP rejects own advisers’ call to up benefits to help two million through coronavirus pandemic

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Employees are to be taxed for every Covid-19 test they take, HMRC confirms

HMRC: if you have a Covid-19 test, the government will tax you for it.

Just when you think the Tories are as low as they can go, they find a new way to disappoint.

HMRC has confirmed that Coronavirus tests are to be treated as a “benefit in kind” and that every employee who takes one as part of their job will be taxed for it:

Some of us should be tested regularly because our jobs involve regular contact with large numbers of people.

Consider the doctors and nurses who have saved so many lives already, for example.

Do you think they should be penalised, simply because the nature of their work – saving lives – requires them to take these tests?

It won’t be a step too far because British people are notorious wimps when such impositions are made on their working pay and conditions.

But if you are affected, you should be downing tools and demanding that this decision be refused, and if you aren’t, you should be downing tools in solidarity. This is an attack on all of us.

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Scotland joins Wales to ban Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues. Wales and Scotland have made this clear; let’s see Westminster do the same.

Quite right too. If you’ve opted out of paying tax when the going was easy, then you can’t try to get help from the taxpayer in hard times.

Has the Tory government in Westminster made this decision yet?

The Scottish parliament has voted to block companies based in tax havens from using millions of pounds in coronavirus relief funding, in emergency legislation.

MSPs approved measures on Wednesday night brokered by the Scottish Greens to prohibit firms or individuals who are registered in tax havens, or are a subsidiary of an offshore company, from getting support grants.

The vote follows similar decisions by the Welsh government last week and by other EU member states, including Denmark and France, but ministers have yet to say how much Scottish government spending will be affected or how it will be enforced.

It is thought it could prevent companies with offshore links from applying to a new £120m enterprise resilience fund that provides grants for small- and medium-sized firms, and a £30m creative, tourism and hospitality bailout fund for firms that cannot get business rates relief.

The Welsh government blocked companies with headquarters in a tax haven from accessing its £500m economic resilience fund on 15 May. Ministers in Cardiff said last week it would affect a small number of companies.

Source: Scotland bans Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens | Politics | The Guardian