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Tax policy: a parliamentary perspective

From his experience as a politician, minister and MP, Iain Wright explores macro and micro policy, big-ticket taxes, demographic tensions, proper parliamentary scrutiny and potential changes ahead.

EditorialWhen it comes down to it, once you distil all the nuances, complexities, contradictions and subtleties of tax policy into the simplest of statements, politicians want to do two, inter-related things with tax. They want to raise revenue in order to fund public spending, and they want to use tax policy as a lever to secure success in the policies they want to enact.

For the former point – that of raising revenue – given the strong pressures and commitments of public spending, there is a need to make sure revenue raising is as consistent and certain as can be. Any parliamentarian, certainly any chancellor of the exchequer, would be wise to consider ICAEW’s 10 tenets of a better tax system, which emphasises that the tax system should be, among other things, certain, simple, easy to calculate and collect and properly targeted.