If I were Chancellor

Thursday 23rd February 2012

HOPE George Osborne hasn’t misplaced the helpline number. Did tell him to give me a call. Perhaps he’s too busy training Gibson, the family budgerigar, to spout nonsense at anyone within earshot.

No matter. I’m sure he’ll get in touch nearer the time.

The question is whether he has the guts or gumption to sort out the mess. Here are a few suggestions.

Taxation and Income

Income: nobody earning less than £20,000 a year should pay a bean. Most of what they pay goes back to them in some form of benefit and costs more to collect than it collects.

VAT: remove the exemptions that, astonishingly, currently apply to gambling (including the lottery and scratch-cards), insurance, finance, and the selling/leasing/letting of commercial land and buildings. Start at 10% and increase gradually.

A new Instant Direct Informed Options Tax on all those silly things people ought by now to realise are a waste of time, money or effort: from cars built like tanks to junk mail; from art valued at £10,000+ to speeding fines; from newspapers and magazines to toy guns; from costly jewellery to yachts; from plastic shopping bags to each new i-phone that comes out. Variable rates will apply, proportionate to the silliness of the product.

A new Stupid Salaries tax, on a sliding scale: 1% payable on sums of £10,000 a week, 5% on £50,000 a week and so on, up to a maximum of 25% for the likes of Carlos Tevez.

Both the above revenues will be collected electronically at point of sale or when transferred to the recipient’s bank account, saving all that palaver with devious accountants.

Spending and Stuff

Scrap reforms of the NHS, education, and anything that would mean somebody makes a mint by providing a poorer service.

Scrap Trident and deploy armed forces only to defend the nation rather than attacking others whenever America orders us to.

The minimum wage to be twice the weekly unemployment benefit.

Solar panels on all new/public buildings.

Make bus and train travel free, sponsored by the banks.




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