Was it not that long ago? Was it all just a dream? The not too distant memories of George Osbourne, a Chancellor who believed in cutting taxes, championed the notion of shrinking the welfare dependency and rolling back the scope of state involvement.
Mr Osbourne’s significant cuts to corporation tax were important policies which helped restructure the inherited mess of the economy the country was facing.
I miss the days when a Conservative Chancellor respected economic liberalism and businesses, and thus allowed productivity and economic activity to flourish in a massive boost, the total intake of tax increased whilst closing tax loopholes and lowering basic rates also resulted a further increase to the intake of tax. These tax cuts generated the growth that has enabled the Government to deal with the structural deficit on current spending whilst still investing in infrastructure, Research & Development and education.
So how did we go from that strategy to having a Conservative Chancellor who wants to introduce punitive taxes to penalise online businesses and self employed business owners?
Regardless of your opinion of Cameron and Osbourne, the state undoubtedly shrank under their watch, but unfortunately now set to blow up again under May and Hammond.
Both May and Hammond can celebrate the recent news that Britain’s tax burden reaches its highest level since Harold Wilson was in charge while government revenues are now at a 32 year high.
Surely no announcement could be worst than the latest series of uninspiring announcements? Well, it happened, Mr Hammond had the opportunity to level out the playing field between bricks and mortar firms and online giants such as Amazon in terms of tax. Two options went through Mr Hammonds mind, to either reduce existing taxes that are damaging businesses, or introduce new taxes to damage all businesses ‘fairly’, unfortunately he chose the latter which we now know as the Amazon tax or Tech tax.
Like many economically liberal lovers, I was absolutely astonished that a Chancellor, who doesn’t seem to have a Conservative bone in his body, would support a move which would even make New Labour advocates would squirm.
Online retailers such as Amazon and Ebay, provide a popular service but more importantly, also makes life more affordable for those struggling to get by.
The government will punish the poorest in society by causing products to be more expensive, a horrendous idea. A better move would have been to level taxes down instead of up or to even scrap business rates altogether, then with multinational corporations tax gross rather than net profits. Or alternatively have their tax rate connected to their global revenues.
The government should be prioritising a cut to business rates, not introducing an Amazon Tax as I do firmly believe that the success of big businesses should not be used to subsidise businesses that are currently struggling.
It still baffles me as to why a Conservative government would allow corporations to exploit the tax code in order to avoid tax unfairly to pay a 3–4% effective rate when a small family business can’t do that and they’re essentially taxed twice since it’s their main source of income. We should be trying to make an environment that makes small businesses more successful and enable startups easily.
This piece was originally published by the author on his personal blog: https://medium.com/@chrisrose_18266/the-conservative-party-needs-a-conservative-chancellor-unfortunately-it-has-spreadsheet-phil-af2016a29fee