X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Number 10 pours cold water on National Insurance story: why?

30 June 2014

3:28 PM

30 June 2014

3:28 PM

Why is Number 10 pouring cold water on suggestions that National Insurance and Income Tax could be merged? This story bobs to the surface every few months: it was suggested that National Insurance could be renamed the ‘Earnings Tax’ in the 2014 Budget, but then nothing came of it. Now the Times has splashed on the suggestion that the Conservatives will promise to merge the two in their 2015 manifesto. The principle is sound: it makes the tax system less confusing and stops parties from hitting taxpayers by stealth. Much better to have one tax than an income tax and and earnings tax.

It’s also politically sound for the Tories as they have already said that they plan to plug the post-2015 black hole with spending cuts, not tax rises. They can then attack Labour for planning a ‘Jobs Tax’, and make it much easier for Ed Balls and co to hide any tax rises.

[Alt-Text]


So why, at the Downing Street lobby briefing this morning, did the Prime Minister’s official spokesman tell journalists that the story was ‘entirely news’ to the Conservatives and that ‘my guidance to you would be to guide you well away from that’? The reason is that the policy isn’t ready yet, and needs more work before it is announced: there are sensitive groups of voters important to the Conservatives who could be seriously worried by a poorly-planned announcement or a half-baked policy which hasn’t considered all the sensitivities. The most important group, for anyone who hasn’t guessed, are pensioners, who might protest that they are being drawn by stealth into paying extra tax. So this policy could be a great elephant trap for the Tories to set for Labour, but they first need to make sure that they don’t fall into another snare while setting it.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that the tax transparency statements, which come out later this year, will help voters see national insurance and tax as being the same beast anyway, as they’ll see how much of their money is disappearing into government coffers, and which coffers are taking the most. It may be easier, once those statements have become the norm, to announce a merger of the two taxes. But the Conservatives are not quite ready yet.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close