This election has become about “Getting Brexit Done” and “Saving our NHS”. It could have been about so much more. We don’t live in a just society when we allow poverty of the type video’d here.
This is a tough watch, but this is the impact of a failing social security safety net. Families become stressed and under pressure. Children in poverty. We need this to start a conversation about what is fair and right. This shouldn’t be about economics. It’s about human lives pic.twitter.com/No8o2Il3pN
— Lee Healey (@leehealey_) December 4, 2019
I came accross a thread on twitter curated by Lee Healey, I think Paul Lewis pointed to it. You can read the whole thread by clicking on the tweet below
You may be wondering why families are in the situation as seen on #dispatches. I thought I’d try and explain the framework behind it
1/ The benefit cap
Most households affected have dependant children, are single parents or larger families.
Read 👉 https://t.co/0FPQlwK1TZ
— Lee Healey (@leehealey_) December 3, 2019
Thank you Lee Healey for the clear thread and for the background reading which will take me a weekend to digest. I now know about Lee’s organisation Income Max (the kind of private organisation that the DWP and MAPS should be working with)
If you a place to start, follow Lee’s advice and read the 66 page report on the Benefit Cap and how it’s “working”, published by the Work and Pensions Select Committee in April 2019.
I would pay more taxes to see Lee’s work better promoted.
I’ve never had it so good
I pay taxes and I still live in a warm place with plenty of food and financial security for the future.
I would pay more taxes so that the people who live around my house and were last tonight on pavements and in St Luke’s churchyard, were given a fair deal.
I believe that in a digital society, it is possible to hypothecate taxes to certain social problems and invent systems that target money at specific problems. That is what I do at work and that is what I would expect the Department of Work (and Pensions) to do as well.
I do not see the Benefits Cap as a way of targeting benefits at those who need them, nor do I see it as a way of getting people back to work, nor do I see it as a way of stopping scroungers. I know some scroungers and they have learned to adapt to the Cap – because scroungers – like scammers – are clever.
I would pay more taxes for the alleviation of poverty
I do not want to pay more taxes to provide bungs to all women born in the 1950s, whether they be rich or poor. I will pay more money where there is a clear injustice (and this may be the case – we await the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s verdict). I will pay more taxes if the compensation is targeted at the alleviation of poverty.
I claim pension tax relief at my highest marginal rate, this has recently been at 45% (though lower now). I do not need that incentive to save, I would gladly forego my incentive to save so that the 1.7 million who are missing out on a 25% contribution subsidy – promised them – get that subsidy.
The principle of progressive taxation – where those who have – subsidise those who have least – is one I subscribe to.
I would pay more national insurance – especially on my pension , if I knew that I and others were protected from financial ruin should I or my partner need long-term care.
I am keen to enter into a bargain on this. I pay the premiums in the way of national insurance today and I get the benefit – but only if I need it. I believe strongly in collective insurances – including collective pension schemes. I am prepared to take my chances on not living too long to collect on the insurance so long as I know the system pays to those who do.
I would pay more taxes for an NHS, free at the point of care.
Not only would I pay more, but I demand to pay more. I do not want to be under-taxed because of some misguided belief that increases in the cost of protecting the nation’s health can be capped. They cannot be. We are a society growing older, and – as I know – that means we demand more collectively of the NHS.
We use the taxation system to pay for the NHS as we go, we recognise that this will mean that we will have to pay more in tax to keep our health service coping and that if we cap this increase in spending, we are condemning ourselves to longer waits for treatment and less adequate treatment when we get it.
Who can deliver me more for my taxes?
I am not dogmatic about whether the services I , and others, need – is delivered directly by the state or indirectly through outsourced services.
The NHS is an obvious example , but a less obvious example, the pensions dashboard – shows just how much dogmatism is getting in the way of delivery.
Everyone agrees that we need a pensions dashboard. We spent 2017 arguing about proto-types and 2018 arguing about single or multiple dashboards and we’ve spent the whole of 2019 working out a delivery framework for governance and the dashboard itself.
If I had a placard , it would read
GET DASHBOARDS DONE
In the end, organisations like mine will deliver people dashboards, inefficiently and as a loss leader to other services, because we cannot tap into a centralised infrastructure that could and should have been delivered years ago.
When central Government, by which I mean DWP and it’s “arms length” delivery department the Money and Pensions Service, fail to deliver on my tax-spend, I am right to call this out. This is exactly what is happening at the moment and I resent paying my business taxes and my personal taxes to the DWP and MAPS so long as they trouser my money and fail to deliver.
I do not like paying taxes for failure, incompetence and the lack of accountability shown by the DWP and MAPS (in this specific example).
Why I’m happy to pay more taxes
I’m happy to pay more income tax, get less pensions tax relief and pay more national insurance to alleviate poverty, make pension saving universal, ease long-term care and help people take the right financial decisions in later life.
I don’t think I’m alone. So long as we can have a system that delivers tax revenues to the right people , in the right quantities at the right time, I will be happy with my spend and for that spend to be what’s needed.
I know no system is perfect and that there will be blockages and inefficiencies. So long as there are mechanisms to hold Government to account, like Lee’s Twitter thread or the W&P’s Benefit Cap report , I will go on writing about them.
I will be voting Liberal this year, not because they are any good at Pensions (they’re crap) , or because they will win (they won’t) but because it is the only mainstream party that has a shred of integrity left on the things I care about. I am beyond caring on Brexit, that bird has flown.
I want to pay more taxes to put this country right and I want to do it in a sensible undogmatic way .