Here you can find the latest news, articles and thoughts from Forward Thinking.

Vehicle Excise Duty changes: will they lead to more road repairs?

Posted on January 5th, 2017.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) (often also called ‘vehicle tax’, ‘car tax’, or ‘road tax’ based on historic terms, use and people’s views), is levied as an excise duty. It is payable for most types of vehicles used (or parked) on a public road in the UK. A Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) must be made […]

Could Land Value Tax reduce the tax bill for 99% of us?

Posted on January 4th, 2017.

Land Value Tax purists argue that it should be the only tax charged. One difficulty with this is it means some people are not paying any tax, and this does not create responsibility for public spending. However, in combination with some consumption taxes (VAT and specific duties) the system could operate equitably and replace many […]

Did UK bosses bring about Brexit?

Posted on December 11th, 2016.

Actions always speak louder than words. With some notable exceptions, including Tim Martin (Weatherspoons), Lord Bamford (JCB) and Sir James Dyson to name a few, UK bosses of industry and commerce warned of the negative outcomes of the Brexit decision. Yet Forward Thinking suggests their unchecked actions and policies directly contributed to the vote in […]

Should euthanasia be a right or are the politicians correct?

Posted on December 10th, 2016.

The word euthanasia comes from a Greek word, meaning ‘pleasant death’. It is the act of deliberately ending a person’s life to relieve suffering. It remains illegal under UK law. Euthanasia has several variations, including: active euthanasia, where a person deliberately intervenes to end someone’s life such as a doctor giving a patient with terminal […]

Populist policies changing the political establishment

Posted on December 4th, 2016.

The term ‘populist’ is now widely used in politics. It is usually used to suggest a racist element to the politics of the populist party. This is a selective distortion of both the history and the reality of the idea of ‘populist’. The term stems from a movement that stood up to the white supremacy […]

Legalising cannabis – sense or a step in the wrong direction?

Posted on November 27th, 2016.

A report by Volteface with the think tank, Adam Smith Institute, is looking to stimulate fresh thinking on legalising and regulating cannabis. The report has support from several cross-party MPs. Given that governments throughout the Western world are making efforts to stop people smoking tobacco, should they be becoming more liberal about drug use? One […]

Should we abolish the television licence fee?

Posted on November 10th, 2016.

Television licence fees are not strictly a tax, but the almost universal ownership of televisions means that it is all but a household tax. Even the primary method of collection relies on a database of “approximately 31 million licensed and unlicensed addresses”. This is used to inform the authorities (TV Licensing) or their contractor if […]

Will the new £1 coin double the income of the fraudsters?

Posted on November 7th, 2016.

The £1 coin has proved durable since its introduction in 1983. Many coins in circulation now still date back to that year. The average life of a coin in circulation is more than forty years. In contrast the £1 banknotes they replaced lasted on average nine months. It has also proved useful for vending machines […]

Why are companies with a pension deficit allowed to pay dividends?

Posted on November 5th, 2016.

There has been much publicity following the collapse of BHS and the consequent loss of 11,000 jobs. A company founded in 1928. It is the biggest failure in the retail industry since the collapse of Woolworths in 2008. It has left 8,000 staff and a further 3,000 contractors who worked in the stores without a […]

Hard, soft or scrambled but how does Hammond eggs Brexit?

Posted on November 2nd, 2016.

Whatever your views are on the Brexit decision, there is inevitability going to be some short-term economic disruption. These are major changes, and there will be a prolonged period of uncertainty. Rather than arguing against the democratic will of the electorate, the issue now is how to provide a boost to the economy. Investment in […]

Fixed fines unfairly benefit high-income earners, bring in day fines

Posted on October 23rd, 2016.

Income in the UK is supposed to be taxed according to an ability to pay. The tax paid rises as income increases even though this should not entitle the payer to any greater level of service from the public sector. Without going into the efficiencies and inefficiencies of Income Tax, and they are many, the […]

Proportional Representation improves democracy

Posted on October 21st, 2016.

Statistics on the first past the post (FPTP) electoral system in the UK show huge distortions. The system is blatantly biassed and undemocratic. However, with two political parties having dominated UK politics for many years, they have obviously been reluctant to change to proportional representation. I say obviously, it should not be that way. If […]

Life skills an important syllabus for every child

Posted on October 20th, 2016.

One result of the government’s decision to pay benefits monthly was to cause distress to those who lacked the necessary skills to budget in such a way. Of course the government’s motive was to reduce administration costs, but to impose this without having provided the claimants with the education on how to budget was poor […]

We need solutions to stop homelessness

Posted on October 8th, 2016.

50 years ago the plight of the homeless in the UK was illustrated through the groundbreaking Cathy Come Home on BBC. How sad it is the problem in the UK continues and it is getting worse. Homelessness is a tragic and growing problem throughout Europe. There is however one country where improvement has been made, […]

Politicians always look after themselves first

Posted on October 2nd, 2016.

So today we have an announcement about triggering Article 50. This will set in motion a two-year exit process from the EU. We now know it will be by the end of March 2017. So why are we suddenly told of this significant development? Well obviously the ideal answer is that government have had enough […]

Food waste – a disgrace when 8.4 million people are struggling

Posted on September 27th, 2016.

Recent press coverage of various initiatives directed at redistributing ‘waste’ food, mainly from the retail sector and using these to feed the hungry makes heart-warming reading. Suddenly, food waste has become a focus of media attention. Many stories have hit the headlines and social media in recent days. Stories with real human emotion. London’s Evening […]

The politicians are happy- what about the people?

Posted on September 24th, 2016.

Today sees Jeremy Corbyn’s re-selection as leader of the Labour party and the main opposition. A day in which the left-wing of the Labour party will rejoice at the continued opportunity to oppose the government with firmly left-wing socialist ideas. Why this should bring so much joy is more questionable, since such policies have rarely […]

Watch the tide turn – Inclusive growth post Brexit

Posted on September 22nd, 2016.

Brexit was a shock decision taken by the British people. It shocked the EU. It shocked UK business leaders who had wrongly assumed that their continued path to wealth just meant more of the same. It shocked the politicians, the vast majority of whom favoured the status quo. Endless analysis of the results, approaching forensic […]

Sorry about the cost, but at least we have made France and China happy

Posted on September 16th, 2016.

“One of the worst deals ever” is one of the more polite ways to describe the government’s approval of the £18 billion nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. The new nuclear power station will be Britain’s first since Sizewell B opened in 1995. It will also be the most expensive power generation plant ever built. Even nuclear […]

A European defence headquarters eh?

Posted on September 14th, 2016.

So Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission, believes the EU needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force. Ah yes, this is because the lack of a ‘permanent structure’ results in money being wasted. Really? Let me put through an alternative theory. Some of the EU members are also members […]

Boundary changes won’t improve democracy

Posted on September 13th, 2016.

You would think that making boundary changes to make boundaries more equal in size would be relatively uncontentious. It sounds to be a good thing for democracy. It sounds like each vote becomes more equal. The reality is far removed from that illusion. All you need to do, it appears, is twist the rules, but […]

Getting over the productivity gap

Posted on September 11th, 2016.

It is unlikely the decision to exit the EU will bring a short-term boost to UK productivity, but this is essential in the long-term. It is unavoidable that businesses will delay investment decisions in the immediate uncertain economic conditions. It is equally likely that inward investment decisions will be delayed with the short-term uncertainty of […]

Trade deals – which way to turn?

Posted on September 9th, 2016.

So what is the Government going to do about Article 50? Correctly they are keeping their cards close to their chest. Negotiations with the EU will be difficult enough, without the Government giving away its hand. All this and a two-year time-frame. They cannot reveal too much, that is simply not in the negotiators’ interests, […]

Don’t do as I do, do as I say

Posted on September 8th, 2016.

So 69% of the 903,000 people whose main job is on zero hours contracts are supposed to be happy with this arrangement according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). There was a further explanation the 903,000 people represented “fewer than 3% of the workforce”. Wait a minute, this is a lot […]

You don’t play poker with people’s lives

Posted on September 6th, 2016.

Control of immigration was one of the key drivers of the decision to exit the EU. Let us be clear on this, the issue is control and not immigration. Both the remain and exit campaigns were guilty of often missing out the word control in a deplorable effort to gain support. Of course what they […]

So to be clear, the politicians were pretty much irrelevant

Posted on September 5th, 2016.

One of the more amusing results of the Electoral Reform Society’s analysis of the EU Referendum is that it really did not matter what the big name politicians promoted, remain or exit, they simply further encouraged an exit decision. With a result so tight you could almost infer that abstinence would have made the heart […]

Corporation tax: expensive, unfair and outdated

Posted on September 3rd, 2016.

When the Austrian Chancellor, Christian Kern, complained that “every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation”, he simply explained the case for most European countries. A key feature of a useful tax is that it is easy to collect and hard to avoid. Corporation tax fails in both, […]

It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

Posted on September 1st, 2016.

Since the financial crisis, one word has dominated media (and opposition politicians’) coverage of Government policy: Austerity. It has been used so much the original definition of “sternness or severity of manner or attitude” has been reinvented. Austerity now means “difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public spending”. It could also be […]

Bin there, where to put the T-shirt?

Posted on August 23rd, 2016.

Between 2011 and 2015 the UK population grew by roughly 3%, as did the volume of recycled waste we produce which rose to 11 million tonnes. While this represents no progress in reducing waste, the far more alarming statistic is that the rejected household recyclable waste rose in the same period by a huge 84% in […]

Why would voluntary reductions in sugar start to happen now?

Posted on August 22nd, 2016.

Tax (in fact duties) is widely seen as a major part of a strategy to reduce smoking. It is accompanied by various other laws such as a ban on indoor public place smoking, a ban on advertising, hiding packets at retail stores, and soon to be plain packaging. Combine these with antismoking campaigns and the […]

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