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Boris Johnson’s tax disaster dooms Britain to years of decline




All ministers and senior officials should read a book by Neil Monnery called Architect of prosperity. This is how Hong Kong’s financial secretary, the late Sir John Cowperthwaite, ushered in the spectacular post-war economic success of this (then British) territory by sticking to a low-tax route. and stable and minimal government intervention.

This growth provided a beacon for the adoption of Thatcherian policies in Britain. Even under Mrs Thatcher, of course, Britain never became a very low tax country like Hong Kong, but the share of tax in the economy fell and there were dramatic rate cuts. highest marginal tax rates. Moreover, the message was pretty clear: whenever they could reasonably, Conservative governments would cut taxes. It had an effect on how people saw the future and helped counter one of the most painful features of pre-Thatcher Britain – the brain drain. Regardless of not being able to attract talent from overseas, at the time we were struggling to hang on, in large part due to the exorbitant taxes. The loss of such talent has reduced our tax revenues.

One of the most depressing aspects of the past week is the message it sent to mobile people overseas: Don’t imagine the Conservative Party is going to fight to cut your taxes. Indeed, in the future, we will probably put them in place.

In addition, there was no need to increase taxes. We are told that such an increase was inevitable, or to use the words of Mrs Thatcher, who would have been appalled by what happened: there is no alternative. Of course, there is an alternative. There always is. The decision to raise taxes was a choice, not a fate.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tried to defend the increase by asking whether Tory supporters would prefer to fund the NHS and care sector funding gap with additional borrowing, as anathema. In fact yes, I would prefer it to be funded in the short term by additional borrowing. The idea that higher debt is so unacceptable to this government is laughable after it ran up the largest peacetime deficit in history.




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