14/10/2011

Tax advice for the Silk Committee.

I know that the membership has just been announced, and that it hasn't even met yet, but I would like to offer one word of premature advice to the Silk Committee – Don't do what the press assumes that you are going to do, do not look at tax raising powers for the National Assembly!

Raising is an ambiguous word.

To raise taxes suggests to most of us that the level of taxation will go up, in the sense that VAT has risen from 15% to 20%, and that raising the price of a pint of beer means charging £3 a pint rather than £2.50 a pint etc

In the political world raising taxes means collecting money for the purpose of running government. So in an oxymoronic way a government that cuts taxes by 90% would still be a government that "raises" taxes.

Any public consultation on the Assembly having the ability to raise taxes will be met with howls of protestation, because none of us want our taxes raised in the colloquial sense of them being made higher!

To avoid complication and to have honest consultation the Commission must look at tax setting or tax levying powers for the Assembly, not tax raising powers!

And those of us who belive that the Assembly should have some direct responsibility for its own financial situation should avoid the trap of using the term tax raising.

Normally pedantry is petty, in this case pedantry is important.

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