Category Archives: government spending

More taxing stuff


My ‘friend’ Longrider has been sounding off again ripping apart my ‘logical fallacies’ in the recent posts I published about tax. You can read his latest here.

Normally I would comment on his article at his place, but as he blocks me from commenting I reluctantly have to respond here.

The thrust of his argument is twofold. Firstly he continues to insist that the self employed shouldn’t pay the same NIC for unequal benefits. It might surprise him to know that I agree with him. However, the fact is that even after the proposed NI increases, the self employed will still be paying less than employed.

It is sensible that the government has delayed the changes until later in the year. In the summer the House will examine benefits and it will be made clear how the benefits the self employed enjoy have been improved to bring them closer – not equal but closer – to those given to the employed.

Secondly, he regards all taxation as theft. This is patent nonsense. He sites the waste of government as his justification for this stance. Again he may surprised that I agree with him that much government spending is wasteful and shameful, but that is not the real issue. There has to be collective responsibilty for the operation of a civilised society.

He rightly points out the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. As a chartered accountant I am well aware of the difference. Avoidance is perfectly legal and a thorough knowledge of tax legislation should always be used to ensure each person or organisation pays the proper amounts required by law and no more.

The morality and fairness is irrelevant when one is filling a tax return, as I do every year. Several of them, in fact! However, it is proper to consider such issues when framing the laws that govern what level of tax is appropriate.

I am criticised for citing large companies who pay little or no UK tax on their profits. They do this by setting up complex corporate structures to artificially move profits to tax shelters, thereby paying little tax in countries when their profits are generated. There are laws – too lax in my view – that make such practices illegal in the UK.

And are such schemes immoral? Well it’s answer that depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting, isn’t it?

So let’s have a direct quote from the self appointed expert. He’s fond of quotes so how about this one from him?

“So, to summarise, there is no morality in taxation; merely theft”

Right on the first, but the second is ‘a logical fallacy’ and ‘cockwaffle’

Feel free to comment because I don’t censor you the way you censor me…

Scottish EU propaganda

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One thing I noticed about my recent jaunt to Scotland was the proliferation of Fourth Reich propaganda. Every day without fail you’d see loads of signs proclaiming “This project was part funded by the European Union” particularly on road building. I’d say I saw around 50 or 60 during the week I was touring around.

Now I’m not against spending money on Scottish infrastructure. That’s all well and good, but the EU does seem to have a penchant for self promotion and half truths.

What actually happens is that the Scottish government puts up half the money but the money it puts up is heavily bolstered by the English contribution through the Barnett formula. The EU money that it puts up is 50% the money we’ve contributed in the first place that they’ve graciously decided to give us back.

It reeks of SNP hypocrisy that they claim to so hate the English and yet they are happy to take English money via Barnett and via the EU.

The truth is that these projects are 75% funded by the UK taxpayer and 25% by the EU. Wouldn’t it be so much better to fund these things ourselves and for our own government to decide which project the money would be spent on?

And it would save an awful lot of money on road signs too…

Foreign Aid – again!

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Now I’ve banged on about Foreign Aid many times in the past, Charity, in my view, begins at home and we should look after our own people first. It’s certainly ridiculous to borrow money to give away.

But it seems that the whole sorry mess is collapsing around the government’s ears at the moment and the public and even senior MPs within the Tory party are getting hot under the collar. A one MP so rightly put it “We shouldn’t be looking around for people to give money to just to hit some arbitrary target. This is of course the UN arbitrary target adopted by the EU and forced on the UK by Nick Clegg as the price of keeping the coalition in power.

And it was reported over the weekend that Justine Greening – the token Tory totty in charge of the Department for International Development – commented when offered the job that ‘I did not bloody well come into politics to distribute money to people in poor countries!’ and yet now she claims to be 100% behind the rise in aid spending. It’s an odd comment for a woman whose father and grandfather were Yorkshire steel workers. One wonders whether she doesn’t reckon the money could be better spent on the UK steel industry.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the US has suspended its aid program to Tanzania after it was accused of rigging the elections in Zanzibar. Liam Fox has demanded a review of aid to Tanzania, but the government seems so set on meeting its 0.&% aid target that they are ignoring calls to follow the US example.

Meanwhile the petition raised by the Daily Mail to force a debate on the Aid budget has reached its 100,000 signature target in record time, so now Parliament will be forced to debate the issue. Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting a sensible outcome from that discussion…

Robbing Peter…

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Foreign aid. A subject always close to my heart. Fine when you’ve got the money, but charity begins at home.

We give away £12 billion a year in foreign aid since the idiot Clegg forced the coagulation government to adopt the 0.7% of GDP abitrary Fourth Reich measure. So where does it go? What do we piss it up the wall on?

Well, 40% of it goes to “multinational organisations’ such as the United Nations. The UN last year spent £7 million of the ‘aid’ money it received on spin doctors to promote it’s own image.

The remaining 60% is ‘bilateral’ – in other words we give it direct to foreign governments. Countries like India and China who you might think don’t really need it as they are better off than us. And you’d be right.

And some of the odder stuff? How about £1million to fund a project sending people around the world to teach the natives English folk songs? Or a BBC project for Somalia to give tips to illegal immmigrants on how to get to the UK? I kid you not!

And here’s a classic – £3,400 was spent on the scheme to find female partners for the endangered Mangarahara cichlid fish in Madagascar.

So why did I call this article ‘Robbing Peter’? Well because we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, because we don’t actually have the £12 billion a year we’ve committed to. The government borrows it so they can give it away. No wonder the world thinks the UK is a soft touch!!!

And that’s probably why when surveyed recently, only 3% of the respondents support our aid ‘programme’

The Daily Mail has launched an ePetition to put a stop to it. It’ll likely get the usual lip service, but I urge you to sign it anyway…

Trident

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I become more convinced every day that politicians of all colours in the UK are losing the plot – if indeed they haven’t lost it already! Take the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent as a case in point…

Cameron wants to renew it at a cost of £32,000,000,000 but he’s getting a lot of opposition. Plus the country doesn’t have that money to spend even if you believe that on past performance it’s actually going to end up costing that much. So he’s putting off the dreaded decision by spending more money commissioning a report.

Corbyn is even worse. His latest harebrained scheme is a ‘compromise’. He’s thinks we could build the submarines but not arm them with nukes. To suggest this is ludicrous. The idea is that there is always one submarine at sea at any time so if this country is decimated in a nuclear attack then we haven’t lost the ability to respond. If you take away the nukes and replace them with conventional missiles, then there is no point in having the subs in the first place.

Sturgeon is equally living in a fool paradise. The SNP know that losing the contract to build the subs will costs jobs – which is why Corbyn is suggesting we build them anyway. He also knows that he needs to keep the jobs in Scotland if he is to have any hope of forming a coalition government with the SNP. Without Scotland there can never be a Labour majority government.

So the SNP’s policy is to support nuclear disarmament provided that alternative employment can be found for the workers who were going to build them. That’s not going to happen.

There’s no easy answer, but the one that seems to fit the best is to maintain the deterrent, build the subs, keep the jobs. Secretly, I think they all know there’s no other option…