The Mid-Atlantic Blog

January 24, 2006

I Guess Tories Care About Tax, Then...

158 comments today, and still counting, on the tax thread at ConservativeHome. You can find the comment thread here if you have a glass of Scotch to hand... you may need it.

My own views? I don't think that Cameron and Co want to see taxes fall as aggressively as some in the Party. I don't think that they want them to stay still. I do think that they think that raising the issue of tax simplification is a way to get to the argument they want to make without touching on all the old hot buttons.

You can think of it this way...
  • There are people who don't fill in a tax return at all. Either they don't need to (in which case tax policy isn't the most relevant issue for them), or they should but don't... in which case I suspect they'll be unlikely to support our law and order policy (being likely to be on the wrong end of it), let alone our tax policy.
  • There are people who have to fill in a tax return, but can't afford or can't justify getting an accountant to do the work. I'll bet most of these people (especially at this time of year) find the argument for tax simplification (whatever they think about appropriate tax levels) easier to understand than the sheaf of forms they're knee-deep in at the moment.
  • Then there are people who have their tax returns done by an accountant. Many of them already vote Tory. Those that don't aren't the market for a tax cutting message anyway: they regard it as a moral issue. They may, however, respond to the same issue if expressed as a waste and inefficiency one: wasting money that could go to the underprivileged, and imposing a burden on everyone.
I reckon this simplification meme has much further to go for now. Let's see how the arguments play out for a while before insisting on a pledge to abolish personal taxation on the first day of a Tory administration, shall we?

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