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rko
97210.  Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:26 pm Reply with quote

If you had the ability to implement new laws, what would they be? Is there anything you feel strongly needs changing, getting rid of or creating?

I'd like to eliminate the ban on foxhunting but replace it with very strict licensing, maybe restricting the amount of people who do it and regaining its prestige.

I was talking to my grandma about it (farmer's wife since 21) and she tol dme about how it used to be very classy, it was a beautiful sport but over the years it has become barbaric. The trample over fields that don't belong to them, they're rude and go with far too many dogs.
I'll have thought it through properly by the time i'm PM.

So any laws for you lot?

 
Celebaelin
97216.  Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:34 pm Reply with quote

Yes, I've just re-written the AD&D 3rd Edn. (3.5) Shield rules.

What? At least it's something I can do now and provide to interested parties. Have you ever thought that whenever someone writes 'no pun intended' on a computer it MUST be a lie by the time they've finished writing?

I'd definitely make it so that administrators were not in charge of their own salaries, department budget allocations etc. MPs in particular of course, but then again who's going to vote for that change?

 
snophlake
97290.  Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:16 pm Reply with quote

One of mine would be to abolish many taxes. We pay income tax, council tax, business tax, national insurance etc... Surely we don't need all of them. One that I think we can definitely do without is inheritance tax. Money thats left to us in a will should be ours, without having nearly half of it going to the tax man, is it 40%?

 
Mr Grue
97303.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:38 am Reply with quote

New Labour loves new laws, don't they..?

 
Neotenic
97304.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:41 am Reply with quote

snophlake wrote:
One of mine would be to abolish many taxes. We pay income tax, council tax, business tax, national insurance etc... Surely we don't need all of them. One that I think we can definitely do without is inheritance tax. Money thats left to us in a will should be ours, without having nearly half of it going to the tax man, is it 40%?


Schools, hospitals, police, ambulance, fire brigade, refuse disposal, welfare payments, state pensions, defence, international aid, etc, etc. Pick which public service we can live without, and you can start lowering taxes. Additionally I would note that inheritance tax only kicks in on estates worth more than around 300K and then only on amounts over that figure (so, if you leave an estate of 300,001.00, your offspring will have to pay forty pence tax). Although the number of of estates on which the tax is payable is rising, it is still a minority proportion. 300K is nowt to be sniffed at as an inheritance anyway.

No, I don't work for the Inland Revenue, but I do think a lot of the fuss about inheritance tax is just media bluster.

Having said all that, I would try and trim the government down a little bit - which may result in the possibility of lowering taxes. I don't necessarily think we need a ministry of sport, for example.

Maybe more controversially, I would remove all IVF treatment from the NHS (I guess you could still get it privately if you really, really wanted), at least until there are no kids desperately waiting to be adopted.


Last edited by Neotenic on Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:44 am; edited 1 time in total

 
dr.bob
97305.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:43 am Reply with quote

Inheritance tax is 40%, but the first 285,000 of your estate is exempt. Unless you die rather younger than you were expecting, it should be relatively simple to avoid paying inheritance tax.

I agree that the tax system is a bit of a mess and, if I was PM, I'd probably rationalise it a bit more. Of course, this would probably end up with lots of "hidden taxes" being abolished, resulting in the visible taxes going up, so I'd probably get voted out of office at the next election in favour of a party that promised huge tax cuts.

Oh well.

 
Celebaelin
97308.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:52 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Schools, hospitals, police, ambulance, fire brigade, refuse disposal, welfare payments, state pensions, defence, international aid, etc, etc. Pick which public service we can live without, and you can start lowering taxes.

To be fair snophlake didn't say she'd lower taxes, she just said, if I read her correctly, she thought it was inefficient to have so many taxes. If it could be arranged such that taxation appropriate to the level of wealth (which, after all, controls the ability to pay) could be administered through one tax then administrative costs would drop and the level of tax could be lower for the same services. The truth is however that people do all sorts of clever things to avoid paying tax, so complicated taxation laws and systems are required. Shame really.

Further comments begin to reveal individual bias I'm afraid. It's only natural for people to protect their own interests, wrong but natural.

 
suze
97331.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:56 am Reply with quote

Good point Celebaelin - however the tax system is set up there will be those who find ways around it, and there's a whole industry devoted to finding those ways.

All the same, it is far too complicated and I'm sure some simplifications are possible. Here's just one that I've advocated for a while.

Why not abandon the television licence fee in its current format, and instead add it to general taxation? Whether or not the television licence should exist at all is a separate debate but the system currently operated is regressive, excessively bureaucratic, requires an army of enforcement officials, and criminalises many people whose only crime is being short of money. (This seems especially iniquitous to me; debt is usually a civil matter so why should non-payment of the television licence fee be a criminal offence?)

I've only worked the figures out to "back of envelope" precision, but I reckon that % on income tax would more than cover it (possibly less, given the savings to be expected from axing the current enforcement and collection system). It would also make the tax - and let's not fool ourselves, the TV licence is a tax - progressive, which to my way of thinking is usually preferable.

 
Neotenic
97333.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:01 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Why not abandon the television licence fee in its current format, and instead add it to general taxation?


Interesting question.

I am a staunch supporter of the BBC, so have no problem with the licence fee. I think eight TV channels, a bunch of radio and the news website make it a very worthwhile use of a hundred notes a year.

Plus, I think without the BBC, we would see a race to the lowest possible common denominator in UK media. I think it keeps at least a level of more high-brow entertainment in the mainstream.

 
Celebaelin
97335.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:06 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Why not abandon the television licence fee in its current format, and instead add it to general taxation? Whether or not the television licence should exist at all is a separate debate but the system currently operated is regressive, excessively bureaucratic, requires an army of enforcement officials, and criminalises many people whose only crime is being short of money. (This seems especially iniquitous to me; debt is usually a civil matter so why should non-payment of the television licence fee be a criminal offence?)

I've only worked the figures out to "back of envelope" precision, but I reckon that % on income tax would more than cover it (possibly less, given the savings to be expected from axing the current enforcement and collection system). It would also make the tax - and let's not fool ourselves, the TV licence is a tax - progressive, which to my way of thinking is usually preferable.

It allows for people who choose not to have a television.
The other way you'd need a system to administer refunds for people who opt out.

Other than that itemising it on you income tax bill to reduce administrative costs sounds good, perhaps there are some others that could be similarly handled. Isn't council tax (essentially) collected locally, sent to central government and then re-allocated locally? That needs looking at.

 
Mr Grue
97338.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:12 am Reply with quote

But this is true of all taxation. We all end up paying for stuff we don't use: public libraries, maternity wards, schools, etc. etc. And currently license fee payers money is spent on providing services to non-licence fee payers, via internet and radio broadcasts. They're looking at ways to redress this, the idea being to "commercialise" foreign service provision, but it's a lot of hoohah just to stop your brolly getting pinched.

Celeb, NuLabor want to make local councils keep hold of the money, so to speak, but the trouble is, they can't let go of the power. They get into this schizoid position where in order to let the councils have more power, central government has to have more control over them via monitoring, targeting, and so on.

 
Celebaelin
97340.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:16 am Reply with quote

And thus more administrators and their hefty additional salaries without any improvement in services. No surprises there then.

 
suze
97341.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:17 am Reply with quote

I tend to agree with Neotenic, and for sure the BBC makes some programmes which would never get made if left to commercial companies. If you want to see what happens in a country where television is not funded from taxation, just take a look at the USA...

(PBS and NPR do receive a small amount of money from government, but the majority of their income comes from subscriptions from stations who carry their programming and from charitable donation.)

The system I advocate is used in Australia (separate licence fee was abolished 1974), Flemish speaking Belgium (2001; French and German speaking Belgium still have a licence fee), Gibraltar (2006), Hungary (2002), Malaysia (1999) and the Netherlands (2000). Canada has never had a licence fee, and CBC/TRC has been funded from general taxation ever since the introduction of television in 1952.

 
Mr Grue
97342.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:21 am Reply with quote

Alright, suze, we'll do it, but only so long as we get to keep the charter.

 
Tas
97344.  Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:24 am Reply with quote

#1.
I'd abolish road tax and stick a penny on fuel. So, no more avoiding paying the damn thing. If you want fuel, you pay for it.
It also means that those who use their vehicles excessively pay more tax (more road usage makes more wear and tear). I'd probably give businesses a tax break on this to businesses to make sure that they don't ramp up prices to cover this cost and cause an inflation blip.

#2.
Old Age Pensions rise in line with the current rate of inflation (minimum). No more 45p per week raises or stupid things like this.

#3.
Taxation becomes more transparent. (See above). No more stealth taxes.

's all I can think of for the moment.

(Oh, and given the rate that house prices are increasing, especially in and around London and other major urban connobations, the 285K threshold for inheritance tax is soon to be too low, I think. My brother just sold his tiny one bedroom with one tiny box room) house with a postage stamp for a garden for 212,500. I dread to think what a decent sized two-bed semi goes for these days).

:-)

Tas

:-)

Tas


Last edited by Tas on Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:07 am; edited 1 time in total

 

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