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Public services will wither unless Britain makes tough tax choices

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The author is a director of the think tank of the Social Market Foundation.

For more than a decade, the British nation retreated. This erratic withdrawal was unplanned and inconsistent, and felt most desperately by the poorest and the least voiced. It has also been largely overlooked, until this conservative leadership contest evoked echoes among Margaret Thatcher Liz Truss supporters of the call to bring the country’s borders back.

Local government services, the areas where the cuts are most impacted, receive little attention from decision makers who are physically and intellectually concentrated in the resource-rich capital. Library closures and reduced bus timetables do not dominate prime questions or front pages. Even hungry kids wanted Marcus Rashford’s celebrity campaign to get noticed.

New revelations of inadequate policing may further raise the question of where to set boundaries. What rights can the public at least expect? Victims committee points out that serious crimes such as rape are not even prosecuted. Last week, police investigators criticized robberies and robberies that were not routinely resolved. If you install a tracker in your car or a camera in your home and provide actionable evidence to a police officer, they can investigate. Otherwise, the case is closed.

The biggest failure is fraud. Because stealing money via card, phone or the Internet has been de facto decriminalized, law enforcement is not prepared to respond. When the money was taken out of my account, the bank fraud team was startled when they suggested I call the police. People usually don’t care.

The next place where the retreat will sound is schools facing falling rolls and high energy bills. Here too, wealthy areas suffer less because parents can raise funds to fill the gap. But will this raise debate about what could be left in a private fund or charitable organization? The self-sufficiency that citizens demand when services wan may sound like David Camerons Big Society, but a retreating country doesn’t ultimately depend on the former prime minister and his austerity agenda. It is the result of a structural failure in the way we raise and spend money.

If there are no major changes, the only result will be more worn out national regulations across the board.

Local government finances are not only inadequate, they are broken. Curiously enough, city council taxes are based on asset values ​​created in 1991, but no politician dares to take money from housing properties that have enjoyed decades of fiery growth.

And unreformed health and care systems scale relentlessly to support an aging population. At the current trend, health will absorb half of all day-to-day departmental spending, battling the remaining costs in all other parts of the state. If there are no major changes, the only result will be more worn out national regulations across the board.

The structural lack of public services stems from an inconvenient truth in British politics. We pay US taxes and expect European service. The Truss Champion jumped to the top of Britain’s tax burden in 70 years. It is true, but the British pay far less in taxes than most Europeans who enjoy more generous service.

Few politicians are trying to close the gap in tax and service expectations, and far less confronting voters about dissonant demands. They offer a comforting story about lower taxes and a better NHS on debt interest, which will soon cost more than health care.

Brave leaders will tell voters that they can and should earn more, especially from inflated real estate values. And there’s some fat to polish off, starting with universal giveaways that give unnecessary favors to the lucky ones. Bankers infants do not need free school meals. Their grandparents don’t need winter fuel payments. These families will save without a tax cut.

Politics comes down to difficult choices. Spend your taxes better, spend better. Or perhaps accepting the British nation’s further retreat in a way that more voters will notice and resent.

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