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Médecins sans frontières

By Tom Papworth
April 17th, 2012 at 9:00 am | Comments Off on Médecins sans frontières | Posted in health, Nannying, Tax, Uncategorized

Doctors just can’t help trying to save people, it seems.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which brings together the presidents of the Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties and so purports to represent nearly every doctor in the UK, is to lead a campaign to tackle rising levels of obesity.

One’s initial reaction might be to welcome a medical intervention aimed at combating something that kills as many as 30,000 people each year. But unfortunately, it is not a medical intervention that these doctors have planned.

My latest article on the IEA blog explains that the medical elite, having identified what it considers to be the end that society should pursue, is turning to the coercive power of the state to achieve that end.

Comments on the IEA blog, please.

And they say WE need saving!


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Clegg’s solution to complex tax code: another tax!

By Angela Harbutt
March 10th, 2012 at 12:51 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Liberal Democrats

A rather depressing Telegraph online headline today reads “Nick Clegg goes after the ultra-rich” . Nick Clegg  has apparently recently “uncovered evidencethat our tax code is too complex and that complexity is benefiting tax-lawyers and the super-rich.

The Deputy Prime Minister says he has uncovered evidence that hundreds of millionaires are paying a tax rate of less than 20 per cent on their earnings by using an “army of lawyers and accountants……. A wide array of tax loopholes and reliefs are exploited by the wealthy to reduce their tax bills, leading to them paying overall rates on annual earnings beneath those faced by ordinary workers, he said.

“Uncovered” really? Good grief – where has he been for that last couple of years ? Here is an article from Mr Littlewood (formerly of this parish) now of the Insititute of Economic Affairs back in Autumn 2010.

Early this year, an IEA research paper showed that with over 8,000 pages of primary legislation – in very rough terms about six times the length of War and Peace – Britain has the longest tax code in the world. For those inclined to believe that other Western European countries are always more bureaucratic than Britain, it was worth noting that the German and French tax codes weigh at a comparatively modest 1,700 and 1,300 pages respectively” Mark Littlewood: Telegraph 8 September 2010

Then again one year later Littlewood said it again …

The Tax Commission research points to the incredible length and complexity of our tax rules as the principal culprit. Tooley’s corporation tax guide, for example, has nearly trebled in length in the last decade. It now has a word count not dissimilar to the complete works of Shakespeare. The TPA amusingly illustrates the farcical scale of our tax code by showing that one of the fastest readers on the face of the Earth would take five days to read it out loud.  Goodness knows how long it takes to understand it“. Mark Littlewood: IEA blog 16th August 2011

Er.. And again a month later…

“The UK’s tax rules are now so complicated and lengthy that British businesses spend around £20bn a year simply trying to comply with the rules . Not handing over a single penny in tax, just filling in paperwork and attempting to calculate their liabilities. That’s an overall cost of around £300 for every man, woman and child in this country every year.

Things are getting worse, not better. When a country’s tax rule book is five times longer than the complete works of Shakespeare – and growing – you can only expect this kind of ludicrous waste and inefficiency. If the laws of association football were this long and confusing, you’d probably need hundreds of referees at every game and it’s doubtful the sport would be viable at allMark Littlewood: Mail On Line: 29th September 2011

Littlewood’s answer to the problem – simplify the tax code by employing best practice from other countries. That (according to Professor Philip Booth (IEA)) would save about £5billion in regulatory costs but also disproportionately assist small businesses being crippled by the burden. It would, of course, also eliminate a lot of the highly complex loopholes much beloved of the rich.

Clegg’s answer to the problem – introduce another tax!  If it was April the 1st I would be laughing. It isn’t and I am not.

Any chance that Clegg’s bizarre approach to this (much-publicised) problem is connected to a certain event being held in Gateshead this weekend?

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By Angela Harbutt
March 15th, 2010 at 1:09 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Personal Freedom, UK Politics

HAT TIP : The Drinkers Alliance  have put together this very nifty little video, made in response to the fear that alcohol taxes are going to Sky Rocket at the upcoming budget. 

Yes we know this Government has spent money like a man with no arms, brought the country to its knees and we’ve got to find the money from somewhere. But taking away the anaesthetic, (or at least making it so damned expensive we can’t afford it) while our arms and legs are being chopped off, is downright insulting.

It’s less than a minute long and jolly well made…..definitely worth viewing in our book..


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An (almost) two thousand per cent tax rise on nice, frothy beer

By Julian Harris
May 12th, 2009 at 3:14 pm | 11 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

mmmbeerSome people, strange folk, think Liberal Vision’s all about fags and booze. Yes, we do like fags and booze, and yes, this post is about booze. So maybe they’re onto something.

T’other day I railed against Lord Avebury, as I’m prone to do, for his comments on alcohol tax. I am quite appalled at the level of tax on various alcoholic beverages in the UK, but as this story from over the pond shows, things could be worse:

Oregon state to raise beer tax by 1,900%

Yes, really. 1,900%.

Of course this will absolutely hammer their micro-breweries, while the likes of Bud and MDG will be able to ride the storm.

Not cricket, Oregon, not cricket.

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New LibDem tax policy (sort of)

By Mark Littlewood
April 20th, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Comments Off on New LibDem tax policy (sort of) | Posted in Economics, UK Politics

Two-and-a-half cheers for Nick Clegg, who seems finally to have settled on the policy the party will take into the next election – namely, raising the basic income tax threshold to £10,000, shedding about £700 off the annual bill of the average worker.

The party leader loses half-a-cheer for having moved away from an overall tax-cutting agenda to one of “tax neutrality”, although I’m reliably told by Cowley Street that Nick’s overall long-term aim to reduce the overall tax burden remains in place.

All those of us who applauded Nick’s determination to go much further in cutting tax last September when he spoke to the Sunday Telegraph’s Melissa Kite, need to continue to press against the old approach of recycling 100% of identified expenditure cuts back in to alternative public sector programmes. Economic times may be tough, but we don’t want to fall into the trap of simply shifting government expenditure from one department to another. If spending reductions can be made, at least some of these savings should be passed on directly to the taxpayer.

I gather that the reasoning behind changing the tax policy from a “4p cut in the basic rate” to a “raising of the threshold” is because Chris Rennard believes it’s easier to communicate to voters a £700 tax reduction rather than a 4% cut. £700 sounds bigger too.

The key thing now – as I argued on the BBC’s six o’clock news this evening (15 mins in) – is to make sure this message is aggressively communicated. The party’s spent four years arriving at a new tax policy, but only has one year before the election to make the case to an electorate who will probably find it counter-intuitive that the LibDems want to lower the average income tax bill.

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