March 15 Letters: ‘Tax free’ claims deceive when they avoid mentioning VAT

From: Barrie Frost, Watson’s Lane, Reighton, Filey.

IN a court of law when a person enters the witness box they have to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

This is because telling just the truth can be very deceiving since the “whole truth” can show an entirely different reality. But telling the whole truth does not appear to be the normal practise of MPs – and the more senior the politician the more likely they are not to do so.

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Great emphasis has been placed by leading politicians on the frequent raising of the tax free allowance, which this year has risen by £100 to £10,600.

This, they enthusiastically claim, will result in three million more workers being taken out of tax altogether. Thinking of the television series on court cases, I can visualise Judge Rinder clearly and vociferously stating: “Wrong! Wrong!”

On April 1, 1973, Value Added Tax (VAT) was introduced by the then Chancellor, in Edward Heath’s Government, Lord Barber. Was this a coincidence that it was introduced on All Fools’ Day? VAT was a European tax, which Britain introduced when we joined the then European Common Market, and we were told it was to bring us “into line with Europe”.

The rate has, inevitably, risen from 10 per cent to the now penal level of 20 per cent. Our economy can only be healthy when we spend our money and our money only acquires value when it is spent, so paying this tax cannot be avoided.

How fair is VAT given that it does not distinguish between the very wealthy, those on minimum pay, pensioners or those wishing to spend their savings – if they spend their money all are compelled to pay an extra 20 per cent in this tax?

And, what was the tax which VAT replaced? Why it was purchase tax, but this was only ever applied to a very few items and did not affect most of us.

Only those over the age of 60 can even remember what it was like to go shopping without being penalised in this way. For younger people please try to imagine what life would be like if most of their purchases were 20 per cent cheaper. VAT is now the third largest source of Government revenue.

Even huge energy bills, which seriously worry so many people, particularly those on low incomes, attract VAT.

So, when we are told how many millions of people are taken out of tax altogether by rises in pay allowances, this is 
a blatant misrepresentation of the real situation and is deliberately avoiding telling 
the “whole truth”.