General Election 2017: Brexit ‘guard dogs’ would take bite out of income tax, VAT, IHT

UKIP launched its manifesto ‘Britain Together’ this week, with its leader Paul Nuttall calling the party ‘the guard dogs of Brexit’. 

Suzanne Evans, the party’s deputy chair for policy, said that UKIP is the only party going into the election promising not to put up taxes.  Among the party’s priorities in its manifesto are to raise the threshold for paying income tax to £13,500, abolishing the TV licence and scrapping VAT on energy bills. The party wants to maintain all pensioner benefits, keep the pensions ‘triple lock’ and protect disability and carer’s benefits. It also wants to cut business rates for the smallest businesses. Evans said UKIP has costed its policies – see table below.

UKIP is taking a strong line on ‘corporate tax dodging’. In a quote in the manifesto economics spokesperson Patrick O’Flynn MEP states: “Starbucks recently reported profits of £13.4m on a UK turnover of £380m. Its corporation tax contribution fell to £2.7m, down from £7m the year before. How can a vast business that sells coffee in paper cups all over the country for £2.50 a pop end up paying a corporation tax contribution amounting to much less than one per cent of turnover? Would the taxman be happy to accept, pro-rata, such a contribution from an independent coffee shop? I think we know the answer to that.”

Employment taxes

  • By the end of the next parliament UKIP will raise the personal allowance to ‘at least’ £13,500
  • Raise the 40 percent income tax threshold to £55,000. ‘When economic conditions allow’, UKIP will restore the personal allowance to those earning over £100,000
  • No increase in Class Four National Insurance or taxes for our self-employed ‘strivers’

Business taxes

  • When the UK leaves the EU, UKIP will ‘close the loophole allowing businesses to pay tax in whichever EU or associated country they choose, and bring in any further measures necessary to prevent large multinational corporations using aggressive tax avoidance schemes’. No more detail was given
  • UKIP will cut business rates by 20 per cent for the 1.5 million British businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000. Within coastal enterprise zones, such businesses will receive a 50 per cent cut In business rates
  • No quarterly tax returns
  • Revoke the 1964 London Convention on Fishing to, among other things, prevent tax revenue losses from fishing and ancillary industries. Introduce a time-limited, paid licence fee option for selected foreign vessels to fish within the UK’s territorial waters

Indirect taxes

  • Remove VAT from hot takeaway food
  • Remove VAT from women’s sanitary products
  • Remove VAT from domestic energy bills / domestic fuel, and scrap ‘the green levies currently added to bills to subsidise renewable energy schemes’. The party says these measures will cut typical household energy bills by £170 a year.
  • The manifesto claims that if the UK trades with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, the Treasury will receive a tax windfall of some £11 billion from import tariffs annually. This ‘bonus’ could be used to fund an across the board cut in VAT
  • Freeze air passenger duty at current levels and, when possible in future, seek to reduce it with the long-term objective of scrapping it completely
  • Freeze Insurance Premium Tax
  • Prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees, or emissions’ zone charging
  • End road tolls – aim to remove existing tolls from publicly owned roads and block the introduction of new toll roads

Succession taxes

  • UKIP will raise the inheritance tax threshold to £500,000 per individual, transferable for a married couple or those in civil partnerships. ‘Eventually we want to eliminate
  • Inheritance tax altogether’, says its manifesto
  • UKIP will scrap Tory plans for new and ‘punitive’ probate charges

Brexit

  • Repealing the European Communities Act (1972) should be the first, not the last step in the leaving process. UKIP would like to agree a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and continue to trade on the same basis as at present
  • Not pay any ‘divorce’ payment to the EU and not contribute to the EU budget. The UK must be paid its share of financial assets from entities such as the European Investment Bank, the manifesto says
  • Bring forward legislation requiring employers to advertise jobs to British citizens before they offer them overseas
  • Ensure employers are legally free to choose to hire a young unemployed British person under the age of 25 ahead of a better qualified or more experienced foreign applicant
  • Declare 23 June Independence Day, and make it a bank holiday.

Social security

  • Maintain the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension, increasing it every year by the highest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5 per cent
  • Continue to pay Attendance Allowance for all people over the age of 65 who need help with personal care
  • Don’t cut disability benefits
  • Increase Carer’s Allowance from £62.70 per week to £73.10 a week, to match the higher level of Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Give tenants the right to request Housing Benefit is paid direct to their landlords
  • Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ (spare room subsidy)

Other relevant proposals

  • Pass legislation to allow citizens to influence legislature directly, by giving them the power to initiate binding referenda on the issues of most importance to them. Every two years, a national referendum will be held on the issues gaining the highest numbers of signatures on approved petitions
  • Make HMRC investigate big businesses or public sector bodies that repeatedly make late payments to smaller customers. Fines proportionate to the amount of delayed payments will be levied, and will escalate for repeat offenders
  • Abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an English Parliament. Each nation in the UK would have its own parliament with a UK parliament with less MPs than now
  • Establish a Housing Development Corporation to build factory-built homes and offer on a freehold basis to first time buyers up to the age of 40 years old who are British citizens and who have a 10 per cent deposit. Utilities installation would be covered by a one per cent energy bill levy, and stamp duty would not be applied
  • Replace the out-dated Barnett Formula with a fair funding formula ‘based on need’
  • Reduce foreign aid to 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income
  • Abolish the TV licence
  • Not allow the NHS, or third parties under contract to local authorities, to employ home care workers on zero hours contracts

UKIP costings

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