The grand argument against government doing more is to observe what government already does. Examples abound – one argument trotted out for the building of HS2 was that it would aid in the recovery from the 2008 recession. That lovely Keynesian idea that building infrastructure produces a multiplier effect which means that constructing train sets produces more economic growth than, say, building something people actually want. That we’re already half way through the next recession and we’ve built nothing as yet does rather give the lie to that earlier justification. We actually have people telling us that we should be using renewables because they produce more jobs – without people grasping that a requirement for human labour is a cost of doing something, not a benefit.
Supermarkets could be in line for a £500m boost after winning an appeal over whether their cash machines should be charged separate business rates.
The victory over HMRC paves the way for firms to claim back huge sums already paid and brings and end to years of legal squabbling.
The weirdness was in the initial claim. That an ATM should pay a separate, higher, rate of business rates than the shop it was standing outside. This idea has now been crushed by the courts.
Bookmakers and gaming groups are in line for payouts of hundreds of millions of pounds after the taxman decided not to appeal against a ruling on VAT.
William Hill told investors yesterday that it expected to recover between £125 million and £150 million after HM Revenue & Customs called a halt to a dispute going back nearly 20 years.
We’re seeing a bit of a pattern here, aren’t we?
The problem could come from one of two sources. The first being that government itself isn’t able to write clear rules. That would then explain why there was disagreement about what should be taxed and how. A corollary to this is that government isn’t capable of writing consistent rules about what is to be done and how.
Inability is hardly a great advertisement for greater control and responsibility is it?
The second possible explanation is that HMRC itself is illiterate. Or incompetent. There they are, the rules are written down, nice and simple like, and they’re incapable of understanding them. Which doesn’t reflect well on the ability of government to hire those with an IQ greater than their golf handicap, does it?
But there we have it. The British government is incapable and incompetent. This is why we want them to run more of our lives, right?