I’ve been watching the “Challengers’ Debate” this evening. I watched the Leaders’ Debate the other week. Yesterday, I was at a local hustings meeting with our own local candidates for Mid Worcestershire.
At all of them, many questions were asked. But one subject was a glaring absentee at all of them.
Obviously, with time being limited, it’s impossible to ask every question. So, just on the off-chance that any politician competing for my vote happens to read this, this is the question that I would have asked:
We’ve heard a lot about people who don’t pay tax. Tax dodgers, users of corporate tax havens. But I want to ask a question about those of us who do pay tax.
Like most people with a job, I pay tax. Several taxes, in fact.
Income tax. National Insurance. Council tax. Value Added Tax. Vehicle Excise Duty. Fuel Duty. Beer Duty. Wine Duty. I don’t smoke, so I can’t complain about Tobacco Duty, although I’m sure many other people here will. But I did get stung by Stamp Duty when I bought my house.
And it isn’t just me. Take a walk along our High Street, and you’ll see empty shops. Step inside the open ones, and you’ll hear stories of how difficult trading can be. When I talk to local shopkeepers, I hear over and over again how business rates can be crippling. When they do manage to scrape a profit, they are taxed on it at rates higher than in many other countries, including the ones which are our biggest online competitors.
So my question for the panel is simply this: How do you plan to reduce this burden on me, on my family, and on my community?