MR SPEAKER: This House accrued its powers to contain and moderate a rapacious monarchy. Our job remains the same. Yet today our duty is to contain and moderate a rapacious bureaucracy.
We authorise far too much taxation because we offer the illusion of "free services" whether they be roads or hospitals or schools. Taxation neuters the economy. I want to be remembered as the Chancellor who opened up our national life. I am going to cut all taxes - sharply.
Let us agree to examine the success of my measures next year. My assumption is that lower duties may raise higher revenues. Freed of the burden of taxation, everyone will be more active; the very nature of the economy will take a surge. At low tax rates, the evasion of taxes becomes a waste of time. History confirms this, but in modern China and India we observe this paradox that a light tax regime generates far more revenue.
My first measure is to impose a rule that all retailers must price their wares with pre- and post-tax prices. Every forecourt will make it plain that a litre of fuel may cost 75p but that 70p of that is tax. No longer, I hasten to add, I am lopping 50p off a gallon.
In all the supermarkets we will see what foods would cost but for the levies that they carry. The iniquitous Common Agricultural Policy is beyond my powers to reform but at least everyone will see how it doubles the cost of everyoneâs groceries.
Income tax, in league with the tax we call national insurance, is more than an oppressive burden on all enterprise; it also distorts all the price information about the value of everyoneâs work. As of 4 April, there will be only one income tax rate - 20p in the pound. I acknowledge that this may create massive unemployment among accountants, but they will have to retrain to perform useful services. NI, Lloyd Georgeâs folly imposed in the 1906 Budget, is hereby abolished.
If anyone purports to be "unemployed" after these measures, we will know that they are not trying. My assumption is that the entire commercial life of the UK will rediscover a vitality not seen for generations.
For the past 100 years we have taxed profits and "unearned" income at rates that have been so punitive they only created professional evasion tactics. With no taxes whatsoever on profits, the publicâs patterns of investment and spending will be changed in a manner that none of us can foresee in detail.
My expectation is that the money now at the discretion of our fellow citizens will be far better husbanded than by agencies of the State. Today sees the en