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Hailing the taxes

After the tax cuts of the 1980s, the tax debate in the 1990s has become more subtle. The uproar over VAT on fuel has challenged the view that indirect tax is less politically sensitive than direct tax. Meanwhile, the left has made its peace with indirect taxation, while all parties and countries are embracing green taxes. Stephen Tindale reports

By Stephen Tindale   November 1995

Franklin Roosevelt called taxes “the dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organised society.” Paddy Ashdown made the same point-in almost the same words-at the last Liberal Democrat conference. Having endured a decade and a half of “tax revolt”-a gift to the world from the pampered citizens of California-the rehabilitation of taxation as a civic duty is, perhaps, overdue. The Labour party, seeking to escape its tax-and-spend reputation, could not afford to begin the campaign. So all credit to Citizen Ashdown.

The tax revolt has not led to lower levels of taxation. In the last financial…

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