UK VAT rises ruled out ahead of elections
- Apr 29, 2017 | Richard Asquith
Both the governing Conservatives and main opposition Labour party today ruled out future rises in VAT ahead of June’s election.
The UK has enjoyed a dwindling government deficit since the 10%+ of the financial crises, but still faces a challenge to balance the books. The 2015 elections pledge of the Conservatives not to raise VAT, employee taxes or income taxes has left the current government restricted in its options to tackle the rump of the deficit. So today's commitment on VAT is a surprise.
Alternatives to UK standard VAT rate rise:
- Increase the reduced VAT rate of 5%
- Removing goods from the 0% rate band
- Raise Insurance Premium Tax from the current 12% to match VAT at 20%.
- Remove VAT reliefs to businesses, e.g. the VAT exemption on financial services which would become possible only once the UK leaves the EU VAT regime on Brexit
- Introduce more VAT-like taxes, including Sugary Drinks Tax,
- Raise import customs and duties taxes
- Reverse the cuts to Corporation Tax, currently due to drop to 17% next year
- Increase employment (National Insurance Tax) paid by employers and employees
- Introduce Land Value Taxes, much favored by economists as the most sensible growth-orientated tax type
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