What I’d pay more taxes for.

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.

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

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 .

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, age wage, pensions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What I’d pay more taxes for.

  1. John Mather says:

    A reason for voting Liberal would be that they are the party who clearly says that the promises of the “benefits” of leaving outlined in 2016 are not deliverable and the project should be abandoned and that revoking Article 50 is the only way to restore a known position on many fronts. That restoration plus a concentration on improved productivity would raise revenue for the treasury without increasing the rate of taxes to be applied to the issues you have identified.

    • Brian G says:

      Without commenting on which party will deliver what Henry wants, and without commenting on how much detriment Brexit uncertainty brings, please consider how much extra tax revenue is needed to solve the simply colossal problem of social care provision. I too would gladly pay more tax to know that I and my fellow human beings will be looked after with respect and offered dignity and comfort when we can no longer care for ourselves. The level of demand for proper care now and in the future will never be provided by the levels of tax currently paid. It also needs to be acknowledged that one of the wonderful principles of the NHS is that it should be free at the point of delivery. I passionately believe this principle should also apply to social care too. The profit motive and the need to deliver profits to shareholders contradicts and compromises thoroughly this overarching principle of patient care.

  2. DaveC says:

    Can I please have some of what you’re all smoking?

    Socio economic outlooks are worse than ever, demographics worse than ever, health and self responsibility worse than ever. Geo politics more unstable than ever. Global debt levels higher than ever. Global wealth disparity higher than ever.

    But throwing more tax at the issue will make it a utopia?

    Voting Swanson will fix the world? Or Corbyn? Or Boris?

    Labour tried all this from 1997 and failed, leaving debt and an NHS with bloated inefficiencies, PFI debt, and grew the UKs debt faster than I can remember.
    Prescott and his transport white paper, what a time to be alive.., the UK would be amazing! No, they ended up cutting bus routes and screwing up trains worse than ever.

    They’ve all failed before, and they’ll all fail again,

    The issue is systemic… across our politics and ourselves.

    Throwing money at it will not fix it. That approach is the root cause of our issues.

    Ignorance to humans and society having to change themselves to see the change in the world they want to see.
    Much easier to get the credit card out and feel like you’ve done your bit!

    • Brian G says:

      Interesting rant. I cannot quite see where I mentioned any particular party or any particular overall solution anywhere Dave. I made a specific point about taxation, at no stage did I say that this alone would solve a single thing. But trying to read behind the prejudicial tone of your comment, I would say that we are indeed in a worse place than we have been in for a long time in terms of inequality, poverty, and the lack of community spirit and care for others in society. I despise smoking and have never in my life taken any illegal substances, much as it might be tempting to escape from the reality of todays increasingly extreme, right wing political narrative. However, I continue to hope, no doubt unrealistically, that one day people will start to realise that looking after each other and caring for each other is far more important than spending money on toys for boys and pearls for girls.

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