TAC0043

Written evidence submitted anonymously

Opening CommentsThis pandemic has imposed considerable change to everyone’s life & outlook. The national debt has increased beyond any anticipated level of affordability.  Government has to refocus, review & initiate positive lasting reform.  There are spending habits that have evolved over decades without consideration of their continuing need & fairness, starting with the plethora of centrally funded quangos & national bodies - these must be reassessed & cut.  Parliamentarians should use the positive example of the thousands who have reassessed their priorities & reduced/paid off personal debt.  This inquiry seeks ideas to re-appraise the enormous challenges that face the country & the affordability of everything, taking account of demographic change, the environment, & critical needs measured against the tax baseGovernment has to take a hard look at minimising waste, rebalancing the economy, & reducing the national debt without reinstating austerity. 

Select Committee inquiries consider areas specific to their briefs e.g. the Integrated Review, Court Capacity & this inquiry, many of them have a link, akin to all Government Departments, in that they operate without much, if any, cohesionThis watershed moment is a chance to seize the opportunity to adapt our strengths, remove weakness & generate a genuine fusion of effort across Government & the nation, underpinned by a grand strategic concept to refocus, review & reform.  A cross party approach, using Select Committees, could usefully develop ideas & concepts. Using glib terms/catch phrases may imply a change of direction, though they often become hollow & open to ridicule rather than making a statement of intent.  The imperative must be to undertake deep reform, achieve more fairness, but with a simplified system that enhances the nation’s long-term future.  Tax reform, with some seismic change, is needed to remove the increasing sense of entitlement, projecting a refreshed mood, & to focus on four Government objectives.

Key Point.  The scale of this omnidirectional inquiry must grasp & encourage the need for real change, reviewing tradition, method & process. The outcome should help to refocus a great deal, rather than accepting idealism; savings can be achieved to generate positive improvements.  The following have merit but do not cover everything.

Grand Strategic Concept - Refocus, Review & Reform

Taxation.  Taxes are too complex & lack fairness.  Undertaking tax cuts or rises inevitably generates reactions that can turn toxic.  National Insurance is an income/employment tax with onerous rules, copious compilation & should be unified with Income Tax.  VAT is complex &, post-EU, suited to change.  Community charges have created various difficulties with costs threatening the viability of small/medium sized business, increased pain on homeowners & renters.  Pensions are increasingly unaffordable with many private provider-scandals; there is a window of opportunity to progressively reform & simplify the pensions’ system, whilst the growing national debt needs to be reduced. 

Use of Aid & EU money.  About £30 Bn p.a. should be used to boost infrastructure & key requirements

 

SummaryThere is a clear requirement to refocus, review & reform a great deal, starting simultaneously at Government & Departments.  No-one likes to pay tax, but it is the only method for Government to manage & pay for national resources & critical needs, which should not be undermined by the threat of annual reviews affecting policing, Intelligence Services & the Armed Forces.

Radical reform, incorporating a fusion of Government & parliamentary effort should be the pre-eminent requirement to undertake necessary changes.  There are issues that will affect everyone & the parliamentarians need to accept that necessary change will challenge their own comforts & the rest of the nation’s today & tomorrow.  There is a sense of unease & worrying reality that political deterioration is a growing issue, enmeshed with disruptive politics; the law of unintended consequences needs to be consciously kept in mind, rather than making quick & easy choices without effective scrutiny.

This submission covers a broad variety of ideas & thoughts that will require further technical evaluation, but many refer to aspects of significant waste, the need to tackle complexity & levels of disparity.  There are many opportunities for improvement in an increasingly contradictory world where falsehoods, deceits & determination to break with supranational ideals are all too clear. Parliament needs to seize the opportunity & reform much, making clear improvements.

 

September 2020