East Devon constituency: Readers’ questions answered - tax
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East Devon constituency candidates for the General Election answer readers’ questions
Politicians always go on about income tax, but income tax is the only fair tax based on your income. Other taxes like VAT, car tax, TV licences hit those on low earnings harder. Do you believe the tax system should be changed and how should it be changed?
Andrew Chapman (UKIP)
Governments need their income. For a fair system, the basic criterion must be to make a contribution based on one’s annual increase, or growth (i.e. revenue income). To look for ways to tax people with lots of money reduces the ability of the community to invest in profitable enterprises that can produce growth and generate tax. Taxing spending hits the poorest. We have to encourage and reward enterprise and share increase better, not use capital for annual revenue expenditures. Changes are indeed necessary to achieve these goals.
Stuart Mole (Liberal Democrats)
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UK income tax is the largest single source of tax revenue. Unlike taxes on consumption, it is progressive. As their flagship policy, Liberal Democrats in government have successfully raised the tax threshold, lifting millions out of tax altogether, and plan to do more in the future. There needs to be a new package of measures to tackle tax evasion, raising at least £6 billion in the next parliament, and more criminal prosecutions, by a better resourced HMRC. A ‘Google tax’ must stop multinationals from making their money in one country while paying tax, at a much lower rate, somewhere else.
Stephen Race (Labour)
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The reader is absolutely correct - income tax is far more progressive than flat taxes such as VAT. The Tories, with their LibDem partners in Government, hiked up VAT from 15 per cent to 20 per cent almost as soon as they came into power, having said before the election that they had no plans to do so - a line they have used again this time. At the same time, they reduced the top rate of tax, giving millionaires a tax cut. Working families are £1,600 worse off under this Government, which is forcing austerity on to those who can least afford it, while letting their friends in the City off scot-free. Labour has a better plan for working people - making work pay for all, while ensuring the richest pay their fair share to enable the country to balance the books.
Hugo Swire (Conservative)
Indirect taxes are about choice. Direct taxes hit the pocket. We have prioritised income tax cuts because we want people and businesses to keep more of the money they earn. We think they know how to spend it better than Governments do. We have already cut tax for 26 million people - and taken over 3 million people out of income tax altogether. If we win the next election, we will raise the personal tax-free allowance to £12,500 - cutting tax for 30 million people and taking another million out of tax - and make sure no-one earning below £50,000 pays the 40p rate.
Claire Wright (Independent)
The Government claimed ‘that we are all in it together’! But while the poorest have to decide either to spend their limited budget on eating or heating, we hear Conservative Ministers making jokes at the expense of people on benefits. The Government’s banker friends award themselves huge bonuses, and many rich businessmen avoid paying their fair share of income tax. This is morally unacceptable, and denies money which should be used to fund essential services such as hospitals.
The cruel bedroom tax should certainly be axed, and I am in favour of the richest in society paying the most.