Is the UK’s tax burden too high?

The Uxbridge Graduate

Introduction

On December 2 2018, Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted “The tax burden is too high”. His assertion derived from an analysis of historical data undertaken by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) which had been commissioned by the Sunday Telegraph. The TPA reported that the tax to GDP ratio had reached a new high of 34.6%, breaking the previous high of 34.3% seen in the early 1960s.

What does “too high” mean?

It seems reasonable to assume that “too high” in this context means that the tax level is impeding GDP growth; it’s not easy to think of a second reason for tax to be too high. This made me wonder whether there is an objective basis for asserting that tax is too high and prompted me to investigate whether a link between a nation’s GDP and its tax level exists.

Methodology

I chose the year 2016 (for which complete data exists), and…

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Sombre assessment for unionism

21centurymanifesto

by Tommy McKearney writing in the December issue of Socialist Voice, published in Dublin by the Communist Party of Ireland

Oxford Union votes down motion on the reunification of Ireland” read a recent headline in the Belfast Telegraph.

It was the type of news story guaranteed to warm the hearts of delegates gathering in Belfast a few days later for the DUP’s annual conference. Coupled with the attendance at the event of Conservative Party heavyweights—the chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, and the barnstorming Boris Johnson—it appeared that the spirit of James Craig was smiling benevolently on the DUP and its assembled delegates.

Yet for all the self-congratulatory backslapping there were more sombre assessments emanating from influential voices elsewhere within unionism. Arlene Foster’s party was suffering setbacks, they said, and the future of the Union was problematic.

While speaking at Knock Methodist Church in Co. Down on the eve…

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