Here are three tax changes that won’t be in next week’s Budget – but should be
Anticipating drama from Philip “Spreadsheet” Hammond is a bit like watching Theresa May negotiate Brexit in the hope of catching a flash of Thatcherite steel. Whatever else the Chancellor’s autumn Budget on Monday afternoon may offer (and see page 5 for our rundown of the runners and riders), it’s unlikely to stir much in the way of emotion. Should Mr Hammond really be intent on raiding pensions tax relief, as some fear, his speech will manage to raise the blood pressure of investors, but that’s about as heart-pounding as it’s likely to get.
What a missed opportunity. There’s a desperate lack of vision at the heart of our current government, exactly at the moment when it is most needed. It is now painfully clear how little Mrs May has gained with her backbone-free “Brexit means Brexit” wheelingand-dealing approach to EU negotiation. The cost is not just in the current frustrating muddle but in the absence of bold economic proposals that would have brought into focus the opportunities for Britain as it leaves the EU.
At the same time we have the soft-Left tenor of Mrs May’s domestic policy agenda, full of plans to regulate this and ban the other. This isn’t the sound of leadership but a quiet surrender to conventional thinking – mouthing weak echoes of the kind of full-throated interventionism being planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s socialists.
Conservative politicians can do better. If they are willing to be bold, they have something more nourishing to offer voters than fudge. Instead of a warmed-up rehash of Leftist talking points, they should serve up fresh ideas that reject top-down control and favour the mass flourishing only markets allow.
Yes, there is a need to keep the deficit in check, but smart tax cuts can help grow receipts, as we’ve seen in recent years with corporation tax.
The party of Margaret Thatcher has, if it chooses to stand up and admit it, a proud and distinctive message of its own. That message champions economic freedom, individual ingenuity and a robust civil society. It backs policies that favour low taxes and light regulation, because it trusts citizens with their own money and their own lives.
But we won’t be getting much of that on Monday. Mrs May and Mr Hammond don’t do common-sense capitalism. So here are three tax cuts that you won’t find in next week’s Budget – but should.
A plan to slash and then scrap stamp duty on house purchases
Margaret Thatcher showed Tory politicians how to be bold and principled