Darren Grimes is a political commentator and is content creator at Reasoned UK.
“C’mon folks, Dine Out To Help Out at the taxpayer’s expense, feast like a Bourbon King to help Britain’s hospitality sector…!
“…Except you, fatty!”
“C’mon folks, get splashing the cash on retail to get the economy moving again and speed up our economic recovery…!”
“…Online retailer? Not you, I think you’ve caused quite enough trouble on our high streets, ta very much.”
It used to be a source of much hilarity when I worked in the think tank world and would see article after article from left-wing columnists about the so-called influence that think tanks have upon influencing and shaping the Conservative Party and government policy.
They do, of course, achieve way beyond their size and numbers – but with HS2 still going ahead, strict new junk food rules that ban pre-9p, advertisements and a proposed online sales tax, if there is a think tank playing the role of puppet master, it certain;y isn’t one on the side of business and the consumer.
By nature Conservatives, especially the rank and file membership, are wary of taxes, and are therefore unsympathetic to tax rises. They tend to think that people spend their own money more wisely than the Government spends it.
They regard taxes as an unfortunate necessity, because some things, such as defence, law and order, foreign policy, and some parts of care for those needing to be caught by society’s safety net have to be handled collectively.
Polling carried out by Survation for the Adam Smith Institute reveals this to be the case beyond the Conservative Party’s card carriers. There is popular support for reducing taxes after the lockdown to help boost the economy and jobs – with young people the most supportive of tax cuts after the lockdown. You can understand why: they might not be casualties of Covid-19, but they have disproportionately suffered from the economic response to the disease. Young people who are trying to enter the workforce might well experience long-run lost earnings too.
I have two brothers back home in County Durham, both younger than I am at the ripe old age of 27; both struggling to find employment as many receive their P45; both wondering what their post-COVID future will look like, and both desperate for the experience that only gainful employment can offer.
We should be doing all they can to ensure that young people like them, in those highly-targeted former Red Wall areas and beyond, are offered the best possible chance to get back into work as quickly as possible.
That’s why I find it completely and utterly baffling that the Conservative Party seems to be doing all it can to kick consumers and businesses whilst they’re down. It’s those consumers and employers that we need to be helping to secure precious economic growth, and to regain those record levels of employment that we recently enjoyed and benefited from.
We should have a laser-like focus on reducing the tax burden on enterprises, supporting housing reform, improving accessibility to child care and championing trade over vested interests – instead of waxing lyrical about how fat Britain is and how one extra dose of nannying is all we need to get us off of our bottoms and away from our calorific excesses.
It really is quite something to see the Prime Minister, who once railed against paternalistic Toryism, becoming the champion of it – only days before the Government offers a taxpayer bung to encourage us all to stuff our faces to support British hospitality.
The proposals for taxes on online goods also don’t make any sense. At a time when many had no other choice but to shop online, these are taxes that are likely to get passed on to workers and consumers. They would make it much more difficult to sign a trade agreement with our American allies, are not what we should be doing at this unfrozen Brexit moment and will do nothing to alleviate the burden our consumers and high streets are facing. The solution to solving the issues our brick and mortar stores face will not be solved through clobbering online shoppers.
The question that it’s about time Her Majesty’s Treasury should ask itself would be: “which taxes should we cut to boost growth and jobs?” The answer is the taxes that discourage employment – such as National Insurance. We should reduce Corporation Tax, not by cutting the rate, but by allowing businesses to deduct the full cost of expenses they incur in the year that they incur them. In general, we should reduce or eliminate the taxes that discourage enterprise, employment and expansion – God knows, my younger brothers and millions like them could do with the helping hand.