- 2017年10月11日10:27 来源：互联网
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Britain Tax——Let me tell you how it would be
Whoever wins the next election, taxes are likely to go up.
To finance the many costly promises in its manifesto the Labour Party would need to increase taxes significantly.
It has promised a steep rise in corporation tax and a higher rate of income tax for those earning more than 80,000 pounds ($104,000) a year.
The Liberal Democrats want to add one percentage point to each band of income tax to pay for extra spending on health care.
The Conservatives, by contrast, like to portray themselves as the party of low taxes.
On the campaign trail Theresa May has talked of her low-tax “instinct”.
But she has left the door open to higher taxes, in contrast to her party's promise in 2015 not to increase income tax, VAT or national insurance contributions (a payroll tax which Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, is keen to raise).
Regardless of the parties' manifestos, a look at Britain's accounts makes one thing clear: whoever wins on June 8th and whatever promises they make now, in the coming years the tax burden is likely to rise to its highest level in decades.
When the Conservatives came to power in coalition with the Lib Dems in 2010, the government was running a budget deficit worth 10% of GDP.
As ministers went about reducing the deficit in the parliament of 2010-15, most of the adjustment was borne by cuts to public spending rather than by tax rises.
A number of departments, such as health, education and international development, have been largely spare the axe.
But others, such as work-and-pensions and transport, saw real terms cuts off more than a third in 2010-16.
Real spending on public services has fallen by 10% since 2009-10, the longest and biggest fall in spending on record.
This brought the budget deficit down to 4% of GDP in 2015-16.
Departments can make efficiency improvements up to a point, but eventually ever-smaller budgets make it difficult to provide core services.
From prisons to the National Health Service, measures of performance started to go south from around 2014, according to a recent report from the Institute for Government, a think-tank.
The rate of child poverty, which fell during the 2000s, is now rising sharply, in part because of big cuts in working-age benefits.
Since the election in 2015 the government has subtly adopted a new approach to austerity: less emphasis on spending cuts, more on tax rises.
In the average budget or autumn statement since then, the government has called for tax rises four times as big as the average in the parliament of 2010-15.
Granted, the personal allowance for income tax has risen.
The headline rate of corporation tax has been cut.
Yet increases in less-noticed charges such as environmental taxes, stamp duty (a levy on property transactions) and insurance-premium tax (levied on everything from holiday to vehicle insurance) have more than compensated.
Mr Hammond is fast gaining a reputation as a tax-grabber.
In his first budget in March the chancellor pencilled in a reduction in the tax-free allowance for dividend income from 5,000 pounds to 2,000 pounds.
He also proposed an increase in the national-insurance contributions paid by the self-employed—though this was hastily, and embarrassingly, withdrawn after an outcry from newspapers and Tory backbenchers.
In all, following recent revisions to official economic forecasts, it is now expected that in 2018-19 the tax burden, expressed as a percentage of GDP, will be at its highest level since the mid-1980s.
Mrs May's “instinct” may well be to lower taxes, but she cannot help being bound by Britain's unforgiving fiscal arithmetic.