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Plucking the goose: Are the business rates hikes sensible?

Property taxes have long been a political minefield

By Paul Wallace  

©Chris Radburn PA Archive/PA Images

The furore over looming steep rises in business rates in many parts of Britain has come late in the day but it was utterly predictable. More than three centuries ago Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis XIV’s finance minister, observed that “the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” Nowhere are there more geese ready to hiss than in the treacherous patch of property taxes.

Margaret Thatcher brought about…

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