A Pancake Tuesday Battering for the NHS
Whisk it. Mix it. Flip it. Burn it?
These are the options open to Theresa May and Phillip Hammond in re-wiring the UK economy post-Brexit rather than their plans for Pancake Tuesday.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Sir John Major made his first speech since the EU referendum campaign warning that the government would have to think very carefully about their threat to make the UK a low-tax, low-regulation, tax haven off the coast of Europe if Brussels does not offer a good Brexit deal. Rather he thinks the government should be trying to butter up Brussels.
The "threat" referred to was an interview Chancellor Phillip Hammond gave to a German newspaper saying the UK would not simply take a bad deal on the chin, rather the government would be forced to radically reshape our economy to make us more competitive in the face of having to trade of World Trade Organisation rules - which would include high taxes on imports and exports.
Sir John's point was - to paraphrase - that this threat is mad, bad and wrong.
The threat from the Prime Minister and Chancellor to walk away from Brexit negotiations if they don't get what they want and subsequently lower corporation tax, Sir John said, would fundamentally alter the social contract that has been built up between the UK Government and its citizens.
None more so in the area of health where the NHS would be battered. As it stands, the UK already has one of the lowest corporation tax rates of developed countries at 20%, below the worldwide average of around 22%, and allows the Treasury to bring in around £44.4 billion a year from businesses around the country.
By reducing corporation tax there would be less money going to the government and therefore less money to spend on public services like the NHS, schools or the police.
The thrust of Sir John's argument was if this is not really an option for the government at all because the British people will simply not accept the decimation of public services as a result of the government having failed to secure a good deal with Brussels.
On the flip side, Theresa May might simply bluffing in order to get a good deal out of the EU. We'll have to wait and see - maybe she's just trying to give Brussels the crepes.
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