Tax in all its forms.
The total collected from citizens is staggering
February 2020 Local authorities are due to publish budgets for coming years and already the Face Book activists are screaming “cuts.” At same time some are also complaining about local tax increases. According to some this is the fault of a Tory government.
Has any Local authority ever actually lowered local taxes when there was a socialist government?
Has any socialist controlled local government lowered taxes under any government?
Publishing budgets is a way of publishing the most vague guesses at to what money they will need. People do not understand and the media does not want to attempt to explain, that estimates and budgets are not the same thing as costed facts.
In Britain we have many layers of tax; from VAT and excise duty, to Income tax. From local authority council tax, to the TV licence. We have National insurance contributions, capital gains tax, stamp duty, tobacco duty. Alcohol duty, environmental taxes, corporation tax etc. The HMRC tax and NIC receipts for year 2018 to 2019 show a total income of £620.2Billion Statista show the amount of Business rates collected in same year is £30.7 Billion. Finding figures for a total of council tax collected, by all the many various bodies entitled to do so, from Municipal to rural, is harder; best guess for this same year is £43 Billion so roughly a total Tax income is £700 000,000,0000 This is probably a low estimate of total moneys paid to all forms of government in the UK Such things as University student fees do not seem to appear on statistics, nor do council tax rental income as this is now paid to housing associations.
It could be argued that any and all, moneys paid to a governmental body are taxes, since they can not be legally avoided and the person paying has no choice. So car parking at NHS hospitals is a tax to central government while local authority car parks, that change, are a tax paid to that local authority. Local authorities charge for many “services” that are local monopolies and allow the “customer” no option but to pay. Parking zone fees, licences to have a market stall, charges for planning consent etc. etc. there are so many. We pay council tax to local governments then we pay them again for the services they provide. A reasonable guess is that in year 2018 to 2019 the various governing authorities and government authorised monopoly enterprises, such as the BBC, will have an income of around £1000 Billion between them all. That is roughly £15,000 for every person, regardless of age or income, in the UK.
Because there are often local authorities where the political control is with a party opposed to the national government, the opportunity to make mischief, to cause problems to local residents and blame the national government for these, is very high. We have far too many layers of local authority in Britain, the boundary of some are historic and have not been modernised to adapt to the computer age. Those authorities not politically governed by the same party as the current national one, then claim it is all the fault of the national government. Education, care for the elderly, local infrastructure projects, all get politicised, money is wasted by there being controls enforced by both national and local governments.
The total amount of taxation paid to the sum of all forms of national and local government; is as shown above; a frighteningly high figure and much of this is paid by those who are too poor to pay income tax.
For many years the national government have tried to shift some of the burden of taxation onto local authorities. The creative accounting of Gordon Brown saw us move council housing costs and liabilities from government authorities onto “private” housing associations. They are still effectively public bodies but off the government's “books.” The same was done with the railways. By reducing the amount of tax payers money that the national government passes to local authorities, the government seeks to moderate the amount of money raised from the general taxation, In practice this still goes up but not by as much as it would have done. The individual local authorities then have to change they way they work and reduce their costs, or reduce the services they provide, or increase the local taxation. In practice it seems most lack the willingness to actually reduce their costs by modernising the way they function and so they reduce the services while at same time increasing the tax they try to raise. A good example of this is that when the council housing stock was passed to Housing Associations, in some areas the newly formed housing association was staffed by the people who had been employed in the council housing department. For many reasons this makes sense but the council tax was not decreased because these people were no longer paid by the local authority. The councils still had to have a housing department to deal with people requiring social housing, there should have been much smaller numbers of staff but in some areas this has slowly increased again, despite not having physical buildings to administer.
If Tax in all its forms is reduced, then the need of those who pay the tax, to have greater income, is reduced and so the pressure to increase costs is reduced and so the price of everything is reduced, the economy becomes more competitive in the world.
How can we reduce the overall burden of taxation? One way would be to ban all and every tax funded organisations, from paying for consultants- If the salaried officials can not do the job or will not take the responsibility, then sack them and give full time employment to the consultant they were going to pay with other peoples money. Another possibility is to look at the legal costs paid by all these various bodies. It is known the NHS pays vast sums in compensation for mistakes and much of this ends up in the pockets of lawyers. The NHS also pays £millions to its own lawyers. There are so many legitimate and semi legitimate, governing bodies that overlap in their activities. There is a department of education in the national government and education authorities in every local area. Every council has paid staff to deal with education. Every school has paid staff to deal with the authorities. We have a national department of transport and we have highways authorities in every county authority.
We need to improve the productivity of the state apparatus. We need to improves the value we get for our taxes. We need everybody to realise that we all pay tax, even if not income tax, we pay tax on what we buy, and the cost of everything we do is inflated by the need of those providing services, to pay tax. Every thing we buy has its price increased because the company providing the goods, has to pay tax. The staff in every retailer are liable to pay tax and so their pay has to reflect this. There is no need to cut services, there is no need to reduce benefits, we need to cut the cost of providing these services and benefits. Lower tax overall, and increase the income of the poor, and more money will be in circulation and more money will end up being paid in tax.