Tying expenditure to income: emotional blackmail

The idea of government earmarking specific items of income for specific items of expenditure is, to me, preposterous. In the most recent example, George Osborne today confirmed that £10m per year from the fines imposed on the banks for their part in the Libor interest rate fixing would be made available to help war veterans injured in recent military campaigns. A similar example of earmarking previously cited by George was one that confirmed that not a penny of RBS bosses’ bonuses would be funded by the taxpayer.

(As an aside, the spending sums being spoken about here are trivial: £10m equates to 37 pence per year for each UK household, which comes down further when you factor in the fact that the majority of HMRC’s tax intake comes from businesses.)

As a taxpayer, I’m unable to request for example that my corporation tax, VAT, employer’s and employee’s PAYE and income tax is only used for NHS care and that it is not used for the purposes of war.

The balancing off of receipts against expenditure is nothing more than emotional blackmail. We don’t hear, for example, how the legitimate tax owing that has been written off for numerous large corporations has reduced the NHS’s ability to provide primary care for children. That wouldn’t make a good headline now, would it?

The issue is further clouded by the fact that HM government owns 81.14% of RBS, which was fined £390m in relation to the Libor scandal.

So please don’t patronise me, George. Talk about savings; talk about income. But don’t tie the two together, there’s a good chap.


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