Economic justice campaigner. Professor of Accounting Practice, Sheffield University. Chartered accountant. Political economist. Co-founder, the Green New Deal. Also blogging at www.taxresearch.org.uk . I post on economics, politics, tax and climate change (and even accounting) because they make big differences to our lives. My bias is to the left but I am not party aligned. All views my own, not my employer’s.
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The Tory view of British values https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/02/the-tory-view-of-british-values/. Sunak is coming for you
Tax havens exist to undermine democracy. They are a fundamental threat to our way of life. https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/02/tax-havens-exist-to-undermine-democracy-they-are-a-fundamental-threat-to-our-way-of-life/. Why do we tolerate the existence of financial services firms, like the biggest firms of accountants, whose business model is designed to undermine democracy?
What happens when the Prime Minister thinks that the electorate are extremists? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/02/what-happens-when-the-prime-minister-thinks-that-the-electorate-are-extremists/. Sunak is not a man who can talk about unity, reconciliation or common values when his modus operandi is to create ‘others' to vilify.
Most people want politicians who stand up for ethical positions, and very rarely are they extreme ones https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/01/most-people-want-politicians-who-stand-up-for-ethical-positions-and-very-rarely-are-they-extreme-ones/. This is my plea for moderation. I hope it will not fall on deaf rears.
Galloway’s win only signals more trouble to come https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/01/galloways-win-only-signals-more-trouble-to-come/. Galloway’s win in Rochdale will only fuel the theocratic tendencies in both the Tories and Labour, and we will all lose from that.
The Bank of England is failing to control inflation that is being driven by the excessive consumption of the rich so it intends to punish those least well off even more https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/29/the-bank-of-england-is-failign-to-control-inflation-that-is-being-driven-by-the-escsssive-consunptiuon-of-the-rich-so-it-intends-to-punish-these-least-well-off-even-more/.
The Bank of England has admitted that inflation is now being driven by the excessive consumption of the richest people in the UK. As a result, they intend to continue the economic punishment of those least well-off.
Removing the domicile rule would be a rare smart move by Jeremy Hunt https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/29/removing-the-domicile-rule-would-be-a-rare-smart-move-by-jeremy-hunt/. I have campaigned to get rid of the domicile rule for almost twenty years. Hunt doing that would be good by me, and it might also force Labour to talk sense about government funding - which would be no bad thing.
Reforming the organisation, goals and funding of HM Revenue & Customs https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/29/reforming-the-organisation-goals-and-funding-of-hm-revenue-customs/. The last of the recommendations made in the Taxing Wealth Report 2024 is published this morning. It addresses the reforms required to the governance, ethos and funding of HM Revenue & Customs if it is to manage a tax system fit to both meet the needs of the government and people of this country and with which those people have a chance of complying, which existing policy makes nigh on impossible.
Why are government services going down the pan despite high taxation? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/29/why-are-government-services-going-down-the-pan-despite-high-taxation/. This question was asked of me, yesterday. The answer is pretty straightforward but never spoken of. It is the inevitable consequence of the economic policy of successive Tory governments, now also adopted by Labour. So why are we in a dire position? That’s because profoundly unwise politicians have decided to put us in this position.
Is it any surprise that people are depressed about the state of this country when those tasked with its management are deliberately trying to undermine it? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/28/is-it-any-surprise-that-people-are-depressed-about-the-state-of-this-country-when-those-tasked-with-its-management-are-deliberately-trying-to-undermine-it/. Day in, and day out, evidence is emerging of government ministers seeking to undermine the services that they are supposedly in charge of. Is it any surprise that this country is in a mess?
A little knowledge of macroeconomics is a very useful thing if you’re claiming to be a social policy expert https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/28/a-little-knowledge-of-macroeconomics-is-a-very-useful-thing-if-youre-claiming-to-be-a-social-policy-expert/. It's frustrating to be asked to debate social policy with experts who think that governments cannot spend without borrowing from financial markets and who allude to magic money trees when all the money we have is ultimately created by the government. Is anyone an expert when they do not question the real constraints on a system or seek to understand what they are?
Unless we put the UK’s wealth to work for social purposes, we really are in very deep trouble https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/28/unless-we-put-the-uks-wealth-to-work-for-social-purposes-we-really-are-in-very-deep-trouble/. The UK has a financial wealth of £8,100 billion, but councils are having to crowd-source funding to make investments in climate change-related projects. This makes no sense. When will we change ISA and pension rules so that the £70 billion pa spent subsidising these arrangements is used to a) create new investment in the economy and b) to support climate change-related activity?
The government’s deliberate policy of prejudicing the poorest in our society is imposing destitution on millions https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/27/the-governments-deliberate-policy-of-prejudicing-the-poorest-in-our-society-is-imposing-destitution-on-millions/. You don't have to be callously indifferent to the needs of the vulnerable in our society to be a Tory Chancellor, but it seems that most are.
Words matter: denying Islamophobia enables it https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/27/words-matter-denying-islamophobia-enables-it/. How did we reach the point where the Prime Minister will not acknowledge the existence of racism that feels like a hate crime to me?
The upward redistribution of wealth https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/26/the-upward-redistribution-of-wealth/. Non-mortgage debt charges are redistributing wealth upward in society at rates that are bound to result in economic instability. We need interest rate cuts, now.
Of course people are angry: we have totally useless politicians whose sole aim is to destroy government services. Why wouldn’t people be angry? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/26/of-course-people-are-angry-we-have-totally-useless-politicians-whose-sole-aim-is-to-destroy-government-services-why-wouldnt-people-be-angry/. Politicians wonder why people are angry with them and want to crack down on protest whilst the likes of Ed Balls and George Osborne suggest that the real answer is to deny people any political choice for 20 years. Why wouldn’t people be angry when faced with arrogant incompetence on this scale?
The rich have no more wants and are sitting on cash whilst those in need are getting needier. Why is anyone surprised that the world is getting angrier? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/25/the-rich-have-no-more-wants-and-are-sitting-on-cash-whilst-those-in-need-are-getting-needier-why-is-anyone-surprised-that-the-world-is-getting-angrier/. Western capitalism is out of road. The wealthy are sated. Their wants have been met. Markets can no longer generate growth as a result. But meanwhile, politicians demand growth as the pre-condition for meeting growing needs. No wonder we're in a mess. A failed economic system is matched by a failed political creed.
The energy price cap should, taking raw material costs and general inflation into account, now be about £1,400 a year, but is actually going to be £1,690. The difference is exploitative profit being extracted from us by energy companies. https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/23/the-energy-price-cap-should-taking-raw-material-costs-and-general-inflation-into-account-now-be-about-1400-a-year-but-is-actually-going-to-be-1690-the-difference-is-exploitative-profit-being-ext/. We are being subjected to daylight robbery and the Bank of England is blaming wage rises rather than. large companies who are taking us all for a ride for continuing inflation.
What is wrong with wanting a better world for those who are suffering? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/23/what-is-wrong-with-wanting-a-better-world-for-those-who-are-suffering/. Why are so many of our leading politicians so indifferent to the suffering of a whole population at the hands of a fascist government? They need to explain.
We desperately need a Green New Deal and our power elites would rather ignore that fact https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/23/we-desperately-need-a-green-new-deal-and-our-power-elites-would-rather-ignore-that-fact/. Millions live in fuel poverty in the UK. Tens of thousands want long-term careers. A Green New Deal could tackle both issues. But our politicians crave wealth for themselves and so we do not get what we need. That's the reality of politics in the 2020s.
Liz Truss gets (almost) everything wrong https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/23/liz-truss-gets-almost-everything-wrong/. Liz Truss thinks that there are left-wing, woke, hierarchies of power opposing her free-market ideology in the UK. She's right about there being hierarchies of power that oppose her deranged thinking. The trouble is that they also maintain the power of an established privileged elite. Doing so, they are anything but left-wing or woke. And that is the problem.
After the debacle of last night, Labour look like grubby power-grabbers intent on achieving their personal goal of office irrespective of who or what is harmed as a consequence https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/22/after-the-debacle-of-last-night-it-is-hard-tafter-last-night-labour-look-like-grubby-power-grabbers-intent-on-achieving-their-personal-goal-of-office-irrespective-of-who-or-what-is-harmed-as-a-conse/. No one came out of yesterday's debacle in parliament very well. But Labour's leadership revealed its true and rather ugly self, and what we saw was profoundly unattractive.
How long will it be before Labour does a U-turn on its promised reform of workers’ rights? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/22/how-long-will-it-be-before-labour-does-a-u-turn-on-its-promised-reform-of-workers-rights/. Is there any great surprise that business does not like what Labour is suggesting? Will there be any more surprise when Labour caves in, as it surely will?
The UK’s education system is aberrational in the interests of permitting private sector profit. Why do we put up with that? https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/22/the-uks-education-system-is-aberrational-in-the-interests-of-permitting-private-sector-profit-why-do-we-put-up-with-that/. A new report has shown just how weird the UK education system is - because we let the private sector manage it without delivering any obvious gains for society or those in need. Isn't it time we put the needs of young people and society before the right of some to extract profits from the state sector?
In a decent parliament we’d have a decent Speaker https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/02/21/in-a-decent-parliament-wed-have-a-decent-speaker/. Gaza should not have been a reason for Labour to threaten the Speaker with a loss of his office. Nor should he have caved in to their demands. If anyone thought that Labour might run a clean, ethical government they really do need to think again.