How to sell a Flat Tax to Tony Blair
Flat Taxes are suddenly back in fashion. When I spoke to a well-known centre-right economist about Flat Taxes shortly before the Pre-Budget Report, they said to me: "I support them in principle, but I think it's about 120th on the list of things Britain needs to do." Fast forward six months and the media is full of Flat Tax stories.
This debate has been initiated by the spate of East European countries adopting a Flat Tax - the latest being Poland - and the question of how (high) progressive tax West European countries can compete with their new (low) Flat Tax neighbours.
Leading the way for a UK Flat Tax is the Adam Smith Institute: first with Andrei Grecu's Flat Tax: The British Case (November 2004) and now with Richard Teather's A Flat Tax for the UK: A practical reality (March 2005).
Commenting on Teather's pamphlet in the Daily Telegraph today, Christopher Fildes calls it "The Tythe Plan", after the tythe - 10% of income - that used to go to the local church. Seeing as all the Abrahamic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - embrace the concept of tything, perhaps this is the way to sell a UK Flat Tax to our notoriously religious Prime Minister.