Wednesday 27 December 2023

At The Threshold

We all know that "could" is journalese for "won't". But if inheritance tax is unpopular, then that is because far more people expect to pay it than ever would. The cuts that would be necessary to abolish it, or to reduce it considerably, would be very, very, very unpopular, indeed. Even before people worked out that such abolition or reduction would either benefit Rishi Sunak's daughters by hundreds of millions of pounds, or would make no difference to them, since all the paperwork would be in place for them to avoid inheritance tax altogether.

As for income tax, 42 per cent of adults have incomes that do not reach the threshold for it. No, not "before benefits". Those are taxable income. Two in five adults have gross incomes, from all sources, of less of than one thousand pounds per month. Of those in that position, the great majority are in work, rising to the overwhelming majority of those below pensionable age. If that does not sound like the Britain that you know, then you need to get out more.

Jeremy Hunt's headline measure on 6th March may be something like an increase in the income tax threshold. But I doubt it. The boundary changes have once again made decisive the votes of those who veered between one side of the Austerity Coalition and the other. Hence the return of David Cameron, who won the 2015 General Election.

And whatever Hunt did come up with, then Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves will say that it did not go far enough. They are already doing so. The last Labour Government effected the biggest upward redistribution of wealth in British history. Labour is now the greater evil, worse than the Tories. We should no more want it to win the next General Election than most of its MPs wanted it to win the last two, or than any of its staff wanted it to win the last four.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. The comedy "I'm an economist, me" types are now saying "falling inflation" has given the government money to spend! Inflation is just slightly lower than anyone expected, it's still off the charts by any reasonable standard.

    1. Their whole argument exposes the fact that they do not know how the money supply works. Their ranting against "taxing the same money twice" illustrates their ignorance of the taxation system more or less in its entirety.

      And notice the term, "death tax". 100 per cent of people die, but only four per cent pay inheritance tax. Unless the person from whom you inherited left at least a million pounds in one form or another, then it is irrelevant to you. The services that would be cut to pay for cutting it, however, most certainly would not be.

  2. They're obviously not going to abolish inheritance tax, that's just silly.

    1. The Liz Truss Honours List is a reminder, both of how recent the silly season was, and of how long ago it now feels.