Fair enough

If you were Chancellor what would you do?

Reduce income tax rates for everyone. I think they’re too high at the moment.

Higher earners should carry on paying a bit more than lower earners, but I think all taxpayers should pay less.

Bruce Foxton of The Jam.

45 thoughts on “Fair enough”

  1. Do you invest directly in the stock market? “No. I don’t understand it well enough. I’m a ‘play it safe’ person. It’s a big gamble in my opinion. I’d rather get a lower return on my money and take fewer risks.”

    He echoes lots of savers, particularly women. Writer and journalist Lionel Shriver made a similar point in the papers this weekend – would rather tuck it away at 2pct or less that accept any sort of risk.

  2. Mrs. Stonyground and myself have recently been sorting out what to do with my pension pot as last year I passed the big 60. We both agree to err on the safe side without being so safe that we make sod all. So far this has worked out reasonably well.

  3. probably wise advice on stocks. Or just stick the money in a tracker and spread the risk.

    My #1 advice about stocks is to know the industry and/or company. And I don’t mean insider trading, but like, I once bought some shares in a couple of estate agents because I was working in mortgages, knew how low the income multiples had got and that meant the market was about at bottom.

  4. Income tax?

    10% for me.

    20% for everyone who makes more than me, except

    30% for yer stinkin’ rich: footballers, pop stars, CEOs, that sort of income.

    97% for Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Speaker Bercow, and suchlike.

  5. Mr Stonyground… A fraught time, when all we want is reassurance. Used to be the case you cashed in your shares at 60 in readiness for retirement at 65 (expecting at most several years in the sunshine). Nowadays, however, everyone lives forever – and 2pct doesn’t cut it over the long term. An old golfing partner diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has recently been consigned to a suitable home. £6k/month. How do you plan for this sort of shit?

  6. Income tax, notoriously, was introduced as a temporary measure to fight Boney.

    And it was furiously controversial at the time. A nation of freeborn Britons utterly outraged at the idea that the government might swipe the fruits of their labour.

    Imagine it, as J Lennon might have said.

  7. If I were chancellor I’d reduce income tax for everyone, and then put a couple of voluntary top-up rates at say 5% and 10%, that I’m sure that the ridiculous tax code system the UK has could accommodate. Just tell the salary department / HMRC that you want to pay more and hey presto! It’ll be PAYE’d.

    The fact that almost nobody will do that will just be political ecstasy, and whenever some lefty idiot is on the TV they can be asked directly if they’re availing themselves of the voluntary top-up rates and be made to squirm when of course they won’t.

  8. The voluntary thing is brill. You could lower income tax to 1%. Cue: squeals of outrage [on twatter]. How will this be funded?*

    Answer: taxpayers can pay as much as they like to ensure the services you tell us they value continue to be paid for.

    * = where will I get your money from?

  9. abacab,

    I’d give them a shiny certificate to show they’re paying the additional tax. Maybe silver for 5% and gold for 10%. Give them somethng to produce when asked to prove they’re paying it.

  10. “If I were chancellor I’d reduce income tax for everyone, and then put a couple of voluntary top-up rates at say 5% and 10%, that I’m sure that the ridiculous tax code system the UK has could accommodate. Just tell the salary department / HMRC that you want to pay more and hey presto! It’ll be PAYE’d.

    The fact that almost nobody will do that will just be political ecstasy, and whenever some lefty idiot is on the TV they can be asked directly if they’re availing themselves of the voluntary top-up rates and be made to squirm when of course they won’t.”

    I’ve been saying this for years. And I’d have a public register of all those who have signed up for it. No details of income of course, just full name and rough location.
    Its so easy to set up and such an open goal for a Right leaning government that its a measure of how pussified the Tories are that they’ve never done it.

  11. Dennis the Musical Peasant

    Foxton sounds eminently sensible. Given that, how he put up with a dick like Paul Weller becomes downright mysterious.

  12. I’d certainly be in favour of personal taxes being a matter of public record. In fact I have difficulty in understanding why they’re not. They’re part of the social contract between the individual & the society they’re a member of. Why should what the individual contributes be a secret?

  13. @bis I’ve seen some dickheaded comments on this site (not that many, tbh), but yours is beyond stupid. What right do you have to know how much your neighbour makes? Or how he mahes it? Totalitarian bullshit.

  14. I seem to remember Tim telling us that Norway has a final box on their tax return that allows citizens to make an additional donation to the government. The maximum anyone contributed was a few £K and the total for the population as a whole was a few million.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    Conversation in my local a year or so ago:

    Friend 1: I’d be happy to payer higher income tax for the NHS.

    Friend 2: I would as well.

    Me: That’s easy, you can send your voluntary donation to HM Treasury at 1 Horseguards, London. And better still, you can hypotheticate it.

    Friend 1: No, I mean everyone should be paying higher taxes, we should have higher tax rates.

    Me: Virtue isn’t conditional.

    The: Quizzical looks.

  16. Why should what the individual contributes be a secret?

    Because what I am obliged to contribute – what my personal finances are – is my business. Is fuck all to do do with my neighbours.

  17. So presumably if we pay more income tax to fund the NHS we will finally get an improved standard of healthcare? Will it even get up to the same standards that my cat enjoys from the vet?

  18. “Pay more to fund the NHS”.

    And yet, the mere suggestion of an NL/CH-style insurance system is kryptonite…

    What they really mean is that other people should pay more to fund the NHS…

  19. Like most i value the NHS. Like as not, however, the enterprise smacks of state collectivism – in the manner of being obliged to spend my holidays in two star accommodation at some crummy government run camp on the Essex coast.

  20. “Will it even get up to the same standards that my cat enjoys from the vet?”

    I have 2 (relatively) senior dogs that have had a pretty expensive last 12 months. In that time I have been able to see a vet at a moments notice for several emergencies, always to get a non emergency appointment within a day or so, mostly the same day if I’m prepared to go to an outlying branch, have an MRI done within 48 hours of first seeing the vet (it would have been immediate but my vet’s CT scanner was on the blink so I was moved to another vets), get biopsy and blood test results with a few days, take my dogs to be seen multiple times on Sundays (for some reason they both seem to prefer to come down with something at the weekends) and have one of them hospitalised immediately following a consultation. My vet will also text me when appointments are due, and also when regular medication and vaccinations are due for renewal, and will renew prescriptions over the phone and get the medication delivered to my local surgery the next day. I could collect it the same day from the main branch. My dogs have had multiple procedures and consultations, as have friend’s dogs, and not one has suffered any episodes of negligence or lack of care. All of this can be covered by insurance that costs anywhere from £20/month for young dogs to maybe £100/month for very old ones.

    If the NHS was half as good it would be about 10 times better than it is now.

  21. Thought that would attract a degree of hostility. But there’s no suggestion of disclosure what of you earn or how much wealth you have. Solely, what you pay into the common pool of taxation.

  22. Gah! My comment disappeared!

    Anyway, it suggested that we change things so that every citizen gets one vote, and for every X,000 you pay in taxes (X to be chosen later) you get another vote. Legal residents get votes too, citizens or not.

    Yep, it’s enabling the ability to buy votes.

    Hey, we fund ‘em, we get to choose.

  23. @Bernie G. September 29, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Also younger investors can take more risk.

    1st year at Uni I gambled my entire student grant plus maxed credit cards to buy BT shares in float. Did same with BGas. 1987 cost me a lot, but I bought some high yield eg C&W. Result 2 1/2 years after graduating I had enough cash to put down a 50% deposit on a house without selling any shares.

    Now I’m mostly in index funds UK, USA, FE….

  24. …no suggestion of disclosure what of you earn…

    If the amount you pay in income tax is public knowledge, your taxable income (aka “what you earn” for the vat majority of people) is public. I’d be jolly interested to know how one might argue this isn’t so.

  25. In comparison to some of my neighbours I’m strictly peasant class. I would hate to embarrass them, however, by forcing anyone to reveal their wealth (though the Bentley is a bit of a giveaway). Likewise the potential embarrassment such exposure might cause less affluent neighbours. Despite our traditional British reticence I think we all know where we stand in the scheme of things.

  26. @abacab September 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    …The fact that almost nobody will do that will just be political ecstasy, and whenever some lefty idiot is on the TV they can be asked directly if they’re availing themselves of the voluntary top-up rates and be made to squirm when of course they won’t.

    +1

    An audience member on QT said that about DfID & Foreign Aid a few years ago, much audience support.

    It’s far too easy for politicians to virtue signal with other peoples money

    .
    @bloke in spain September 29, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    iirc they are public record in Norway, maybe Sweden too

    .
    @Stonyground September 29, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Why would another increase improve NHS when all previous have not? Same with schools. Until delivery & ideology changes they won’t improve.

    One inexpensive change would make a big improvement – every GP Practice has a blood analyser like your Vet’s had since 1990’s

  27. Pcar… “The value of your investments can go up as well as down…” My boss took me to task when I was a young lad, watching me piss away every penny I earned having fun. He bullied me into taking out my first savings plan: £50/month into a tax-exempt shares-based scheme. Wish I could have afforded more but I was enjoying myself too much. For old time’s sake I’ve kept it running, the same old £50 every month, and it has grown to over £200k. If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to someone in their 20s it would be to start saving now and then ignore it for 30yrs or so. The first 10yrs generated diddly-swat, the next 10yrs it began to make money, the third decade it really came good. Helps to have money invested in American stocks, the fall in the pound’s value was icing on the cake.

  28. “If the amount you pay in income tax is public knowledge, your taxable income (aka “what you earn” for the vat majority of people) is public.”
    True by definition and by arithmetic.However, if someone knows my tax bill they won’t have a clue about my *gross* income, because I am paying far more into my pension than I am taking home.
    My wife’s tax bill is reduced dramatically for a different reason – costs of getting a BTL up and running spread over several years.
    In fact, the typical Guardian reader would sympathise with us (more likely patronise us) instead of hating us if all they saw was our tax bill…

  29. @Bernie G.

    Agree

    Re BT Float – one trick I pulled was maxing M&S store card (suit etc), back then it was new and returns were paid back in cash as receipt didn’t show payment method (M&S didn’t accept CCs then and no changing rooms)

    That provided a cash float between payment and sell for profit most BT shares

  30. @NDReader

    “My wife’s tax bill is reduced dramatically for a different reason – costs of getting a BTL up and running spread over several years”

    Assuming you are UK based, that’s an odd situation. You can’t offset rental losses against non-rent income. So BTL costs can’t ‘reduce’ a tax bill. If BTL is the only income and if costs outweigh income, there is no tax bill to reduce.

  31. “Assuming you are UK based, that’s an odd situation. You can’t offset rental losses against non-rent income.”
    You’re right, that occurred to me after I posted. The rental losses are spread over several years; maxed out, but only against rental income.

  32. Bernie G said:
    “‘I’d rather get a lower return on my money and take fewer risks.’ – He echoes lots of savers, particularly women.”

    Depends on your earning capacity. You’re less worried about risking your capital if you think you can work to replace any losses. But if you’ve not got a cat in hell’s chance of making that sort of money, you are much more cautious about it. Women are (in practice) much more likely to have capital that they didn’t make so wouldn’t be able to replace if they lost it.

  33. Pay no income tax up to the minimum wage and then a flat tax. The rich should pay more and of course the more you earn the more you will pay.

    Ofc the option to volunteer more of your hard earned money should always be available but probably not very exciting.

  34. What happened to the new site? This morning it was the usual old one, then around lunchtime there was a new version, now it’s back to the old one again.

    But it doesn’t have the new posts (anything after this one) – which I only saw briefly on the new version.

  35. The point that I was trying to make about the difference between the NHS and the vet was picked up by Jim but was apparently missed by Pcar. Max the cat doesn’t qualify for treatment on the NHS and, as a consequence of this he has to have his own health insurance. When Max visits the vet he gets excellent service because he is a paying customer who is free to take his cash elsewhere. I, on the other hand, am forced to pay for the NHS whether I use it or not. If I want to enjoy the kind of service that Max enjoys I have to pay twice. No amount of extra cash will make the NHS as user friendly as the Vet.

  36. What happened to the new site?

    Teething troubles, I suspect. The worst aspect was the loss of this version with all its history.

  37. Let’s hope we don’t get the begging bowl pop up pleading for money every time you click around the site.

    Tim wants ya money you know…..contins going bust means its all on this site folks for his pension pot top ups.

    Finance wizard is how tim styles himself….looks like he may be skint…..lol

  38. Stony, following your Max the Cat analogy. It is a matter of wonder that there are just enough vets, even though their numbers are not managed by some hypothetical national vet service. How can that happen? They can get drugs, they can maintain professional standards, all on their own. The downside of vet-like health services is what happens when your family decides you are suffering too much and not worth the money to keep alive, so they take you in to be put to sleep. Except that happens on the NHS too, it’s just all denied.

  39. Stonyground: it’s not twice, it’s more like 2.6 times. Once for the NHS, again for private, and then 0.6 times for the income tax you’ve got to pay to have the cash for the private cost.

  40. Bernie, my mortgage came with a 50quid/month enownment, and even though I got rid of the endowment mortgage I kept the policy stretching to the ends to keep up the payments, even skipping on the mortgage sometimes, as it was the best savings scheme I could get into. Paid off half the mortgage and gave me a 13grand surplus that’s buffered me through the last few years lackluster employment.

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