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What I want in the Budget: penalties for those who miss NHS appointments

16 March 2014

2:25 PM

16 March 2014

2:25 PM

Every year the Budget comes and goes, amid a flurry of live blogging and urgent blog posts at The Spectator. And almost every year, the papers are full of the minutiae which make for entertaining headlines. So this year, I say: Please, no more pasty taxes.  They just lead to days and days of stupid headlines, which might be fun (for the first hour), but simply end up detracting from the more serious announcements; or rather, the ones that will actually affect most taxpayers.

Anyway, moving on. For selfish reasons, I am entirely in favour of raising the basic income tax threshold. I know that the Tories and the Lib Dems have been squabbling over who it is that we have to thank for this proposal, but either way, thank you, and please continue.

On Saturday morning I was reading about the magician, Paul Daniels, whose late mother’s house is in his name so he will have to pay 28% tax if he sells it. This all seems a bit rum to me. Plenty of people in Britain need homes and want to buy them, so why not make it easier for people to sell the houses that they no longer want, or need? Decreasing capital gains tax might, it seems to me, encourage more people to sell.

When it comes to the NHS, I think that we’re jolly lucky to have it – despite the criticism levelled at it. But, it is extremely expensive. For starters, I would charge people for missed appointments. Obviously, they’d have to make sure that appointments are easy to cancel (via text, online, phone etc). But if people had to pay a tenner every time they didn’t show up at the doctors’ or hospital, it might prevent NHS employees’ time from being wasted.

And finally, in his recent Spectator Notebook, the Chancellor seemed inspired by the ‘infrastructure of the future’ that he saw in Singapore and Hong Kong. I’m still not convinced about HS2, but I’m all for Mr Osborne increasing our airport capacity.

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