TUC on CGT

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Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, has written a piece for the Guardian on Capital Gains Tax.

He has made some adept comments, including:

There has long been a boilerplate complaint from business that the British government's tax regime is too complicated. Comparisons are made between the number of pages in the standard tax manuals of 1997 and their size today.

In the recent pre-budget report, the chancellor acted on some of these complaints. At a stroke he simplified the capital gains tax regime and has based it around a single - and internationally low - rate of 18%. Business, however, has not cheered him to the rooftops. It seems that people are only interested in simplicity if it results in a lower tax bill. Complexity is OK after all, Britain's business leaders have been busy telling Alistair Darling. If those tax manuals are lovingly describing our favourite loopholes, make them longer, goes the request.

Too true. He was also kind enough to say:

But while the chancellor is right to try to simplify the tax regime and close some of the loopholes that have drastically cut the bills of people who could easily afford to pay a bit more, it does not mean that there is no room for improvement. This is why we at the TUC are urging a series of changes that go with the grain of government thinking and are built round a central rate of 18%. These are largely based on proposals that we asked Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK to develop for us.

I'm delighted to have helped. It's good to see major organisations with a concern for social justice realising that tax is a issue they must tackle in the interests of the people of this country.

And I'm delighted that Brendan confirms:

Of course we would want the chancellor to go much further in taxing the super-rich by closing the non-domicile loophole and using the proceeds to help end child poverty, and we will be sending that message loud and clear in the run-up to the budget.

Quite right.