This election campaign has thrown into the arena the usual promises about who is going to do what, how and what with. Some want to tax the higher earners more, others want to cut taxes even more, and another suggests a small increase on the NI to pay for the NHS. Whatever the motive it all seems like pandering to their voters and suggesting that as a nation we cut our income down again and add to the misery of Osborne’s Austerity Programme.
On chuntering about taxes it appears that all of our party leaders fight shy of the real issues of funding public services fairly and properly. It is generally understood that Government will provide the public services, or at least control the funding for them and to do so taxes must be gathered. The problem is that recent governments seem to want to please their supporters by cutting taxes that have an effect on them.
However, we have to fund the NHS, Schools and pensions at the least. We need to make sure of our infrastucture such as Railways and Roads and make investments in future power and gas supplies. In addition we also need to provide for those who need support. For that we need to pay taxes or fees.
That last leads to heated arguments and panic when the politicians start to examine our national finances – hands held up in horror and tight-lipped censure of the other party if any raise in taxes is suggested.
So what happens if we take a look at the things we give away, such as “free” medical care, Winter fuel payments, pensions and child benefits etc. The easiest solution, so it seems is to cut the benefits, and adding in prison service to contract out many services to save money. Government may save on their wage bills but end up spending more on fixing the problems when the system fails. The buffer of profit is the problem; that buffer, the money the private company wants is built in to the contract which if the cheapest is chosen lowers the quality of the service. Cleaning in hospitals, care of the elderly and the efficiency of the railways over cost to the customer is all part of the mallaise.
Other countries manage the political will to run services better but they do not do it on the cheap; they collect taxes to pay for it. Britain can also do this. During the referendum the flase promise of diverting £350million per week to the NHS instead of the EU was part of the argument. This argument agrees that the NHS is underfunded. We should be attending to this urgently instead of trying to fiddle around with ‘fresh ideas’.
The reluctance to collect taxes is understandable when as soon as a rise is mooted those who see themselves as affected scream ‘unfair’ and the politicians hit the panic button and think of how many votes they will lose.
Apart from our tangible public services being paid what about my bloody pension!