Latest Issue

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect