The LibDems tax proposals needed a lot more thought. Good in parts, is the best that can be said.

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The LibDems have been the first to release their manifesto for this election.

To support it, they have published their 'full costing', because woe betide any politician who now suggests that they might use a penny of the funds people want to save with the government for any social purpose.

The spending is:

I will leave others to comment on that. I like some of it. The absence of any green spending is very worrying.

The revenue is:

And this is their explanation:

The paragraph numbers flow on from their explanation of their spending, if you are wondering if something is missing.

These are my responses:

  • Bank taxes, fine, but these were crude measures and something more sophisticated is needed now. They have not put enough thought into this.
  • Capital gains tax is good, but why not just equalise rates for everyone and be done with it and take £12 billion instead? This is a half-hearted measure that will be complicated. The Taxing Wealth Report 2024 version is better, I suggest.
  • Windfall tax, a fair suggestion. The current rules are absurd.
  • Digital services tax: why not commit to an international solution? Earlier iterations of this tax have been weak.
  • Buy-back tax is not an issue: most of these are already taxed. I cannot see this raising anything of consequence in the UK. It's based on a misunderstanding of how these buy-backs work here.
  • Sewage tax: better regulation and not tax is the answer. This proposal is counter-productive if anything, permitting them to keep polluting.
  • Tobacco tax: yes, please. But will it work?
  • Private jet and aviation taxes: definitely do them.
  • Tackle tax avoidance and evasion with £1 billion for HM Revenue & Customs. It looks like they have been reading the Taxing Wealth Report 2024. This could come from there.

So, good in parts, but it would have been so much easier to have made it much better and avoid some pitfalls they have walked into, not least on bank taxes, digital taxes and buy-back taxes, whilst the sewage tax is just wrong: the problem has to be solved and this assumes it continues.

One final thought: without workings that is not a full costing.

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