So I find myself in Göttingen* on the Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit). 3rd October is a national holiday, the 29th anniversary of German reunification. I didn’t realise this when I planned the trip: my knowledge of the historical unification of Germany in 1871 is probably more systematic than my grasp of reunification, experienced … More Celebrating German reunification in Göttingen
I returned to my old Westminster haunts this week to take part in a seminar run by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax. This was the group’s second session on tax and Brexit, with the theme “Making tax policy post-Brexit”. Dame Margaret Hodge, who chairs the APPG, led the proceedings and fellow-panellists were Nicky … More Making tax policy post-Brexit: an international perspective
When a Chancellor’s room for manoeuvre in the Budget is highly constrained, what emerges tends towards the predictable. Wednesday’s Autumn 2017 Budget is a case in point. Economic outlook The downgrade to economic growth forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) was severe, and could have profound long-term consequences. But it was hardly surprising … More A predictable Budget for business taxes
As Philip Hammond prepares for his Budget on Wednesday, he faces a daunting set of constraints, both economic and political. The economic side On the economic side, the news since the March Budget has not been universally bad. Tax receipts are higher than forecast, while spending is lower, leading to a reduction in debt. However, it is … More What might we expect for business taxes in the Autumn Budget?
Tax incentives – the start of a debate? The tax community has long been exercised about the differences in taxation/NI between the employed and the self-employed. In 2010, the IFS’s Mirrlees review recommended reducing the distortions by moving towards greater neutrality. By the time the review was published, the distortion had been exacerbated by an … More Tax and the Taylor Review
At a meeting with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker during yesterday’s NATO summit, Donald Trump reportedly said “the Germans are bad, very bad” for selling millions of cars to the US. That comment, directed at a supposed NATO ally, is damaging enough. But when it hit the press last night, it was mangled into something … More The perils of translation
Following reports of last week’s Juncker/May dinner (see Monday’s blog), there has been renewed interest in Angela Merkel’s speech to the German Parliament (Bundestag) the day after. So I’ve translated it in full below. The bits I’ve highlighted in bold are particularly striking in relation to Brexit. But the speech – quite short by Merkel’s … More Merkel’s 27 April speech to the Bundestag: full translation
Last Wednesday, 26 April, Theresa May invited Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker to dinner at No.10. Tim Shipman’s report (May is living in another galaxy) in yesterday’s Sunday Times gave an insight into some of what went on and is well worth a read (I downloaded without £). But the full horror becomes apparent in … More The Brexit dinner: delusion at every course
Back in 1988, the economist Larry Summers explained why the US had no VAT: ”Liberals think it’s regressive and conservatives think it’s a money machine. If they reverse their positions, the VAT may happen.” Nearly 30 years later, the US still doesn’t have a VAT. But recent tax reform proposals by the Republican party would bring … More US tax reform: badly needed, but is the destination right?
My EU-flag cushion is finished at last. I’ve spent the last couple of days frantically sewing it together, in a race against Parliament to ensure it’s ready by the time Theresa May triggers Article 50. Don’t ask me to explain why, but it makes me feel slightly better equipped to face the political chaos in … More Knitting for Europe (or Woolly Surds)