A refutation of the false propositions of the current tax avoidance debate

Written by | Tuesday 4 December 2012

Multinationals pay taxes that UK companies also pay such as employer NICs or VAT.

Use by multinationals of infrastructure etc. provided by the UK government is perfectly legitimate as they make a major contribution to UK taxation. Moreover, that such an issue arises is simply an argument to eliminate state provision of infrastructure and thus avoid such 'third party payer' problems.

Multinationals have been accused of avoiding paying corporation tax, which is a tax on economic growth and should be abolished.

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70 years on, it's time to dismantle the welfare state

Written by | Thursday 29 November 2012

This week sees the 70th anniversary of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, commonly known as the Beveridge Report, which is often credited as the underpinning of the welfare state in the UK (and several other countries which emulated the UK approach). To some extent this is an exaggeration as several aspects of the welfare state existed before 1942, especially in the area of education.

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High alcohol taxes are self-defeating

Written by | Tuesday 16 October 2012

Not too long ago I wrote about the HMRC's 'most wanted' tax evaders list. As I pointed out, most of the criminals concerned were being given an opportunity to exploit high rates of duty and VAT on alcohol and cigarettes by smuggling. Similarly, this very revealing programme by BBC's File on 4 traces some of the types of and scales of frauds carried out in the alcohol trade.

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The problem of BBC bias

Written by | Friday 12 October 2012

The Chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten, has launched an enquiry into impartiality in BBC news reporting. It should be noted that the BBC controls 60% of the broadcast news audience in the UK, which makes a mockery over any fears that Sky might pose a threat to competition in the market. The BBC is required by its statutes to adhere to impartiality in its reportage. This position is reinforced by the requirement that all broadcasters in the UK present impartial views on news.

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Ed Miliband and Disraeli: paternalism and interventionism

Written by | Friday 5 October 2012

Ed Miliband seems to have appropriated Disraeli's famous slogan about 'one nation' government. Whether this is merely a meaningless catchphrase,  an attempt to out-manoeuvre Cameron or has any real policy implications remains to be seen. Having raised the issue, it is interesting and instructive to reflect on nineteenth century government as well as what the phrase might imply for modern politics.

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Grand designs?

Written by | Thursday 27 September 2012

The Government's recent announcements on changes to planning are to be welcomed, but they represent a very half-hearted attempt to reduce the disincentives to construction (it's a shame that they also came with dollops of more spending as well).

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The mirage of 'affordable housing'

Written by | Friday 24 August 2012

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HMRC's 'Tax Dodgers' list shows the absurdity of the UK's tax position

Written by | Monday 20 August 2012

HMRC have published a rogue’s gallery of its most wanted ‘tax dodgers’. I’d better issue to a caveat before the ASI – which doesn’t have a corporate view - get accused of advocating criminality or I get arrested for inciting criminal behaviour by the (thought) Police, probably under the Terrorism Act. So, I can firmly state that I in no way condone criminality or criminal behaviour or support such individuals’ actions.

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The Olympics and public choice theory

Written by | Monday 6 August 2012

I view the Olympic Games as a prime example of a Public Choice dilemma. It has grown from being a relatively small-scale, privately-funded and organised event into a behemoth supported by a large bureaucracy, state-enforced monopolies (so-called ‘exclusive sponsorship rights’) and vast amounts of state subsidies.

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Milking the consumer

Written by | Thursday 26 July 2012

Let’s say that I’m a manufacturer of any product. Let’s take pins, as a good Smithian example. There is an oversupply of pins in the market, due in part to domestic and overseas producers being able to manufacture pins more efficiently than before. As a result, prices for pins fall. This means that consumers are able to buy pins more cheaply. Because many pins are used in further stages of manufacturing such as clothes production, prices of clothes fall as well.

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