It is, by definition, long term; where politicians’ horizons are notoriously short. It demands a bipartisan consensus, while Westminster politics favours division and opposition for its own sake. It might work better under a rational system of personal taxation, while Britain persists with its inconsistent and archaic twin systems of income tax and national insurance. Above all, it demands political courage, and that’s never been a commodity in plentiful supply.
There are signs that the sheer stress on local authorities and the NHS may be about to force some change. The briefings and counter briefings about prospective tax hikes from Whitehall are at least an indication that debate is under way, and something may arise from that in the chancellor’s autumn statement, due on 27 October, with rumours of a prime ministerial statement of intent as early as next week.
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