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January 30, 2011

Boris leads call for lower taxation.

It’s great to see Boris warming the hearts of Conservatives and libertarians everywhere, by calling on George Osborne to establish a plan for reducing taxation over the course of this parliament. He rightly argues that 13 years of Labour-rule (“miserable and anti wealth-creation”) has seen taxation spiral to a prohibitively high level which is now undoubtedly harming the United Kingdom’s global competitiveness. As an example, our top rate of income tax (50%) is higher than that of Germany, France, the US, Switzerland, China and numerous other countries. The top rate generates little extra revenue yet discourages the biggest talent from working here.

Boris is calling for a ‘pro-enterprise direction of travel’ – the details of which he hopes George Osborne will set out in his budget in March. This would go some way to combatting the criticisms of the government that it doesn’t have a sufficiently comprehensive plan for economic growth. It would put money in individuals’ pockets and reduce the burden on struggling businesses.

There would, of course, be political obstacles. A programme of tax cuts would be inherently difficult to force through (particularly as a coalition government) at the same time as cuts to the public sector and a presumed increase in unemployment. Lefties would describe such a programme as ‘evidence’ of the Tories’ ideological entrenchment and their desire to shrink the state. Regardless, it would be the right approach – helping businesses, increasing competitiveness and empowering individuals. I hope we hear a lot more of this from Boris.

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