The Sunday Times reports it best: with an average tax take of 37.2%, Britain is now way above the OECD average and one of the highest taxed regimes in Europe.
Take an American. (Please!) A US citizen on my income has TEN THOUSAND POUNDS extra in his pocket, every year, to spend as he pleases. And that’s without counting the much lower costs of living in the USA.
You can’t even take the better healthcare and social care systems in the UK as offsetting: with private health insurance and a private pension, like every sensible person I know, I’m not actually GETTING anything for that vast extra treasury grab. Despite the huge gorge and gush of public funds into places like the NHS, hospitals are still showing deficits and the health minister gets booed by nurses; the money hasn’t been spent wisely. All those billions, simply wasted.
There’s been no real problem-solving throughout the last decade of Labour: rather, there’s been legislation, in the mistaken belief it can substitute for actually getting things done. From diversity to ageism to sacking people, the only government response has been to write new laws, irrespective of the drag they create.
I have in front of me a government tender request for completion. Approximately 30% of its 46 pages deal with some aspect of law or policy: ministers covering their own asses by moving all responsibility for compliance with the thinnest laws to the private sector. Linkage to other government projects, diversity policies and health and safety laws, etc etc etc ad infinitum. It will take 75% of the time taken to write the tender request to deal with these box-ticks alone. It will then take a civil servant another 75% of his time to pass the tender for approval. A minimum of 2 people, taken up for the best part of two weeks, creating stuff that never gets looked at or adds value. I estimate £4000 in economic activity that could be adding to the UK’s GDP, instead just wasted in a mass of red tape. And that’s before anyone even writes the fucking tender. Before they even consider whether the proposal being made will actually deliver the fucking results. Of course, with this mass of red tape, by definition it won’t deliver. It just can’t.
Any UK employer is now basically an unpaid government servant, responsible for implementing its laws, collecting its taxes, and paying an ever-increasing array of fines and fees if they get it wrong. The people writing this legislation just aren’t taking responsibility for it; they’re forever shifting the blame (and the costs) onto others. Did the tax code really need to double in shelf space in the last 10 years, Gordon? You are the worst Chancellor in British history. You inherited a huge surplus and a growing economy, yet – somehow – despite turning surplus into deficit and raising taxes every year – our public services aren’t funded properly. Britain’s public services are the least cost-effective in the world.
The ones cleaning up, of course, are the civil servants getting paid to sort out this mess and somehow make things work. A British public servant – in addition to his index-linked pension and non-market job security – now enjoys a higher salary compared with equivalent work in the private sector. And there are so many public servants these days. Essentially, the private sector half of the population is paying taxes so that the other half in the public sector can earn a higher wage than them. (Who says British citizens aren’t charitable?)
I used to be a fair taxpayer. Paying my share, no dodges or loopholes, just signing the cheques every month, even paying the Revenue before drawing my own salary. And yes, sometimes, going hungry because of it. Well, that’s history. I AM FED UP.
From now on, I’m exploiting every loophole, every tax wheeze I can find. I’ll be taking a potential customer along every time I go out and keeping every last receipt to expense away profit. If I earn overseas income, it’s staying overseas.
From today onwards, Treasury, you and I are enemies.