Monday, June 5, 2006

Alice and the Holy Grail in Taxland

"Tories will not promise tax cuts"....."LibDems to cut income tax by 2p"...I did feel a bit like Alice slipping down the rabbit hole when I heard that couplet of headlines. Cameron is becoming a LibDem to get elected, while we're becoming Tories to not get elected.

I jest.

But I was very gratified at the evidence of some radical thinking on tax. From all the reading (not much) I have done on global warming it is emphasised again and again what great damage plane travel does to the environment. (I speak rather shamefacedly as someone about to jump on a plane to Belfast but at least I did spend some time looking at the alternative - 18 hours by ferry and car.) So I am delighted that we are proposing a tax on air flights (the flight - not the passenger) although Tony Ferguson is right to urge caution on this one. The Tories are bound to go to town on us for ruining people's holidays (isn't it about time we laid into them on tax in some way?). I am also delighted at the tax on the very high carbon emitting cars. At last we are seriously talking about taxing enironmentally damaging behaviour (unlike Cameron) while, for once, letting up on income tax.


But Quaequam Blog has a good point. The local income tax did do us serious damage in places like Newbury and Guildford at the last election. I agree with it. But, I think we have never really managed to get the message of its advantages across to pensioners. While we failed to get that message across, the Tories certainly got the message across in places like Newbury and Guildford that 20 and 30-somethings would get shafted by our local income tax. I had several non-political people repeating that line back to me. So we should remember the south and the areas where we fight the Tories.

I will look forward to seeing what happens to our Holy Grail of the local income tax in the final tax proposals from our team. From what I have heard so far, I expect they will come up with something devilishly clever. I have a lot of confidence in the likes of Vince Cable and Ed Davey. Oh my hat, does that make me "Orange Book"? Goodness knows. Someone will have to tell me. I have not read it and I haven't really a clue about this Orange book v non-Orange book debate. All I know is that I like what I have heard so far.


  1. I think it makes you a considered thoughtful person when you comment on it.

    The 'Orange Book' label is more of an easy way to set up a false opposition for some people to fight against to push their views.
    It is far from the ultra-Thatcherite bogey-man that some seem to portray it as, it has some controversy, but that's healthy and encourages debate.
    Personally I'd just wish people would stop hammering on about it, read a copy if they can find one, and argue for or against the specific ideas rather than creating bogeymen.

  2. 20 and 30-somethings would get shafted by our local income tax

    And who is also paying the highest housing costs?

    Double whammy to replace a single whammy on low income high home value folk. Of which I'll bet there are actually fewer than those paying high proportions of their incomes already on housing costs and who have ten or fifteen general elections left to hate us in if we do them wrong...:)

  3. Agreed, Jock. "the Tories certainly got the message across that...." was what I wrote. I agree with you that the message was misleading.