Letter: Why we need European single taxes

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Redwood ("Jobless in Leipzig, taxed in Liverpool", 17 January) may well be right about the logic of the process driving European Union: let the pound go tomorrow and next week your interest rates will be fixed in Frankfurt, your taxes set in Brussels and your social benefits system defined in Strasbourg. He is surely right that the well-off Londoner will be paying taxes which not only go to support the unemployed in Liverpool but to those of Leipzig as well. And in 10 years' time the Londoner's taxes will go to support the unemployed textile workers of Lodz.

However, Mr Redwood's alliterative vein can run along the Paris-Bonn axis. The French taxpayer may accept having to pay taxes to support the unemployed of Rouen. Why should he want to do the same for the unemployed of Rostock? And why should he be happy when his taxes are distributed to Rostock by some people from Ravenna? Why should he be so different from his British counterpart?

Why are European countries so keen to join the single currency when the British arguments against it apply to them as well? This question is being carefully avoided in British debates about Europe. The closest thing to a British answer to it is to allege that the European political elites have conspired to stifle a debate in which doubts about Europe would be aired in public and it is only in Britain where such a debate is open. This is a bit rich when we consider the unwillingness of British politicians to engage in such a debate before an election.


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