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Categorie archief: The Guardian
A cut in stamp duty for first-time buyers? Lower student loan interest rates? Out with the winter fuel allowance? We look at next week’s likely announcements
Don’t expect much in the way of fireworks when the chancellor reveals his second budget on Wednesday lunchtime. Philip Hammond’s hands are manacled by Brexit uncertainty, public finances remain tight, and the outlook is worsening as forecasts for future economic growth are slimmed back. Yet, in a bid to woo younger voters, there is widespread anticipation of a package of giveaways to students and first-time buyers, while conventional taxpayers will be told that they are in line for a £12,500 personal allowance – though quite when remains to be seen.
Centre for Social Justice urges chancellor to row back on manifesto pledge to reduce income tax and invest in benefits instead
Iain Duncan Smith’s thinktank is calling on the chancellor to renege on promised Tory tax cuts and instead plough billions of pounds into universal credit if he wants to help families that are just about managing.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded and chaired by the former Conservative leader, said that Philip Hammond should cancel plans to raise the threshold for personal allowance to £12,500 by 2021.
What is universal credit?
Inflation-linked pay rise would cost £5.8bn – but £2.5bn would come in from extra tax and from benefits savings, thinktank says
Philip Hammond is facing renewed calls to unfreeze public sector pay, as fresh analysis suggests the cost to the Treasury would be cushioned by £2.5bn in additional tax revenues and benefits savings.
A significant portion of funding required to lift the cap would be returned almost immediately to the Treasury, according to research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank.
After revelations about offshore wealth in the Paradise Papers and the IMF coming out in favour of higher taxes for the rich, we ask some of Britain’s top earners if they feel they pay their fair share
The Paradise Papers have shed new light on how the world’s richest people hide their wealth offshore, driving up inequality levels across the world. “Tax havens are at the root of a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth which enriches the old and impoverishes the young,” wrote Gabriel Zucman in response to the latest revelations, which are based on leaked company registries from 19 separate tax havens.
But how do members of the top 1% (in income terms) really feel about levels of taxation, those who avoid paying it, and how this impacts on society as a whole? Is it time for a clampdown, and do they agree with the IMF’s recent assertion that higher tax rates don’t affect growth? Here’s a collection of their views:
It’s corporate tax avoidance we need to tackle, writes Simon Diggins and Andrew Phillips recalls the first major scheme, plus letters from Kevin Donovan, John Wilson, Mark Lawrence, Jeremy Beecham and John Pelling
Aditya Chakrabortty’s excellent article on international tax avoidance (7 November) skewers the many lies that western electorates have been fed. It also makes clear an abiding truth that austerity is a political project. Seized upon by those who were fundamentally opposed to the creation of social democracy and the welfare state, the banking crisis of 2008 has been ruthlessly exploited to further dismantle the post-second world war structures and consensus around social security, fairness and equality; and now we know why and can answer the question, qui bono?
But we should ensure we aim for the real target. Individual tax avoiders, however objectionable, are slipstreaming in the wake of the real over-mighty subjects, the international corporates. Satisfying though it may be to bring down the Ashcrofts of this world, it is companies like Apple, shopping around for 0.005 tax rates, that need to be brought to book. This will not be easy, but it truly is a life or death struggle for our democracy; either government is for the people or it is not.
Nearly 10% of the world’s wealth is held offshore by a few individuals. The rest of us pay the price for this theft
Out of sight, a powerful industry has been developing since the 1980s in tax havens across the globe. By following the money, we can start to grasp the costs that these territories impose on the economies of other countries.
The data that offshore centres publish is far from comprehensive, and our system for measuring household wealth and multinationals’ profits has many weaknesses. But it is improving, and by analysing the data carefully, we can detect consistent patterns and dissipate some of the secrecy that has for decades surrounded the activities of tax havens.
More than €600bn is artificially shifted by multinationals to the world’s tax havens each year
The Paradise Papers have revealed the true extent of tax havens’ shady practices: only a radical reform of the law and HMRC will make wealthy elites accountable
The Paradise Papers once again show that secrecy, trusts, shell companies and a thriving tax-avoidance industry are undermining much-needed tax revenues in the UK and elsewhere. The revelations provide a glimpse of the moral bankruptcy of British governments which have done little to tackle tax avoidance at home or through crown dependencies and overseas territories such as Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.
Abolition of class 2 contributions would leave lowest-paid to choose between five-fold NI increase or forfeiting state pension
Campaigners have welcomed a government decision to delay a national insurance change that will leave some low-earning self-employed people facing a 400% increase in their costs if they want to retain their right to a state pension.
The Treasury has also suggested that it may consider measures to help those affected, who include part-time tutors and hairdressers. Several hundred thousand self-employed people who earn less than £6,000 a year could be hit.
For 15 years I’ve never really lived in the property, and now I plan on selling it
Q I retired 10 years ago and split my time between my holiday home in the Algarve for six months of the year and travelling in my motor home. I do not have a main residence in the UK, but I did inherit a flat which I have rented out for approximately 15 years – although when I have needed to work on it I have lived there.
This year I will be 65 and want to sell the flat and buy a main residence for myself and my wife in the UK. I have always declared any income from the flat on my self-assessment tax return. My question is, will I be liable to pay capital gains tax on the sale of the flat, and if so how will it be worked out as it was an inherited property. MF
The head scratching over the failure to raise productivity is ignoring the real problem: cheap labour is a disincentive to investment
Theresa May originally wanted her purpose in power to be defined by improving the wellbeing of the less well-off. Despite all that has happened since, she has not, apparently, given up: with the gender pay gap in mind, at the weekend she pressed even those smaller firms not legally required to publish the difference between their male and female employees’ earnings to survey their workforce. This is typical of her style: imprecation rather than action. Within weeks of that Downing Street pledge, she was backtracking on some of the measures, such as workers and consumers on boards, that she had proposed as a way of showing she would be the voice of the just-getting-by.
Yet there is no doubt she got one thing right: she identified the issue that is likely to do most damage to her government, whatever the upshot of the Brexit negotiations. A decade after the crash, many voters are still not better off; the roll-out of universal credit is going to leave some even poorer. And many of those who have had real income growth don’t feel the difference.
IFS analysis of HMRC self-assessment data shows 1 in 3 returns under-report tax owed either in error or on purpose rising to 2 in 3 self-employedBed and breakfast owners and taxi drivers are the British workers most likely to underpay their taxes when … Lees verder
A royal commission recommended the extension of free care as long ago as 1999, says Robin Wendt; plus Gillian Dalley on private sector planning; David Herriott on the need for a ‘death tax’ and Bernie Evans on short-term thinking in government generally
You suggest (Editorial, 17 October) that “the gradual extension of free care, starting with critical care and extending to those with substantial needs as money became available” would be a key part of the reform of social care funding. A solution on these lines has been available to governments since 1999 when the royal commission on long-term care (of which I was a member) recommended that the costs of intimate personal care should, in principle, be met by the state from general taxation, with individuals being responsible like the rest of the population for their housing and living costs subject to means testing.
The unassailable justification for this proposal is the gross injustice whereby cancer sufferers have all their needs met by the state while others, notably Alzheimer’s sufferers, are liable for their own care costs unless they have negligible resources. However, the proposal was brusquely rejected by Westminster, though adopted in Scotland, where it works effectively. Had it been accepted back then, “free care” would now be a seamless part of health and care provision covered by mainstream funding.
For a generation, politicians have ducked the challenge of restructuring health and social care. But if they don’t act now it may be too late
The cost of social care is bankrupting local councils and threatening the NHS. The latest study points out that any reform based, like the so-called dementia tax, on property values must take account of how different they are in the south of England compared with the north or with Wales. Last week, the normally ultra-cool NHS boss Simon Stevens told MPs on the health committee that its budget was “extremely challenging” and unless it was increased, the NHS might not be able to meet patient demand. With both health and social care budgets under such extreme pressure, it is no surprise that the two arms of care, instead of being locked in a protective embrace of those who should be able to rely on them, are engaged in the most bad-tempered wrestling that informed observers can remember.
Surveying the wreckage of seven years of austerity, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, is under instructions to find a headline-grabbing initiative in next month’s budget to redress the generation gap. The dementia tax may have been flawed, but some kind of windfall tax on the huge increase in house values enjoyed by many older voters is one answer, and seems still to be in the mix. At the Tory party conference, it has now emerged that the social care minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, repeated the argument that it was unfair if old people who lived in valuable houses had social care bills paid by the state.
Jeremy Cushing on the money that could be put to use to reform society, Neil Hornsby advocates abolishing the national insurance upper limit and Lawrence Lockhart taking more from the higher rates of income tax, while Jamie Gough warns of the problems of communitarianism
Abi Wilkinson suggests a massive redistribution (How about an NHS for housing and food?, 12 October) and in your front-page story the IMF suggests a way of financing it (Higher taxes for rich will cut inequality without hitting growth).
With the minor exception of George Osborne’s national living wage – which will distribute around £4bn to the poorest workers, compared with £14bn the Tories are planning to take away from them through welfare cuts – redistribution has all been from the poor to the rich. The IMF report says the average income tax rate for the rich OECD countries fell from 62% in 1981 to 35% in 2015 (and probably even more if you count extra tax relief). The amounts of money this reflects are simply staggering. In the UK, the fall in the share of national income going to wages – from 80% to 73% over the last 40 years – represents about £130bn every year going to profits rather than wages. As a result, there are enormous amounts of money sloshing around in the economy. But instead of being used to benefit all of us, it’s being used to create more wealth for those who already have more than they need.
Scotch Whisky Association blames chancellor’s near 4% tax rise in March for six-month fall in bottle sales
The Scotch Whisky Association has called for a cut in duty on the strong stuff after warning that sales fell by 1m bottles over the first six months of the year..
The association said the slump could be attributed to a near 4% increase in duty on spirits, one of several tax-raising measures imposed by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in his March budget.