End tax madness: Rishi urged to scrap or overhaul 20 levies in huge Budget move

Owen Jones says that inheritance should be taxed

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The Institute for Economic Affairs called for the Chancellor to abolish or reform inheritance tax, stamp duty and a swathe of other levies in favour of a more simplified revenue-raising regime to encourage businesses to expand. And a second think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, also urged him to avoid any increase in business taxes in his keynote financial statement on Wednesday. In a pre-Budget report yesterday, the Institute for Economic Affairs warned that the UK’s tax burden had already reached the highest level for 70 years.

Alexander Hammond, policy analyst at the institute and co-author of  20 Taxes to Scrap: How to grow the UK economy by simplifying the tax system, said:  “A low and radically simplified tax system is the best way for our economy to recover from repeated lockdowns and prosper for decades to come.

“Given our newfound post-Brexit freedoms, now is the time for a brave Chancellor to embark on a radical tax-scrapping bonanza. The UK is in the unfortunate position of having many regressive taxes, and this paper suggests a number that could be among the first to go.”

Sam Collins, advisor to the director general at the institute and another co-author of the report, said: “Retaining or increasing distortional taxes will be a block to the British economy growing and harm all of us in the long-term.

“Now is not the time to clamp down harder on people and businesses by raising tax. Now is the time to go for growth and reform our complex and outdated tax code.”

Their report called for abolishing or significantly changing inheritance tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, both the stamp duties that exist for buying shares, the apprenticeship levy, the television licence fee, Vehicle Excise Duty, the bank surcharge and duties on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.

They also proposed replacing a swathe of property taxes – including council tax, the community infrastructure levy and business rates – with a single land value tax.

The report said reform would remove the current disincentives for property improvements and housebuilding.

It also called for Air Passenger Duty to be wrapped into the Government’s general environmental policies and emissions trading scheme management.

A separate briefing note from the Centre for Policy Studies argued against any increase in business taxes in Wednesday’s Budget.

Author Tom Clougherty, head of tax at the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “There will be a time for fiscal conservatism, and for a balanced approach to deficit reduction, but for now the overriding objective must be to go for growth.

“That means rejecting rumoured tax increases on business and investment, which would only undermine the recovery, and instead charting a clear course towards an increasingly competitive tax system.”

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