Stamford beat Oakham in ESU debate. Read the winning debate!

This House would allow upper rate taxpayers to redirect a significant proportion of their taxes to charities of their choice

The proposition may tell us about good charities – such as shelter – while these charities are extremely good for this country, they are only there as the government does have money to support them, by giving money to the charities instead of the government we are just moving the responsibility of housing to a non-governmental private body. This could lead to an unorganised mess, and meaning essential services are out of control of the elected government.

The proposition could easily tell us how the government could give a list of charities to the tax payer – so that no charity gets too much money and to stop them abusing this power by donating to themselves – but this not only goes against the motion as they are not “charities of their choice” but it would also create more work for the government, adding to it being an administrative nightmare.

This leads me on to my last point, taxation should be fair. Why should those with lots money decide where government funds go, when those that do not earn as much have no say. The point of elections is to give power to those that we think will spend our money wisely. We do not have a say where our money goes – the government can easily change campaign promises – so why should the rich have it. As Oscar said before, why are we giving power to the unelected ‘big cat’? Ladies and gentlemen, taxation should be fair, and this system would make it even less so than it is now.

As we have said before, taxation should be fair, cost-effective and easily understood. It will not be cost effective if we take money away from the government. It will not be fair if the unelected rich have undue influence over how tax revenue is spent. And it will not be as easily understood as the current PAYE system. This proposed change by the proposition is nothing but tax avoidance and nepotism. Ladies and gentlemen, why should the unelected rich take away from our government, give their money to ridiculous charities, while we stop giving money to these noble causes as “they’re already doing it”? This idea seems to be detrimental to the government and at the end of the day takes away from our struggling NHS and gives the money to a charity that may or may not help the tax payer. This proposition will harm this country and take away from what it means to be charitable.

Today we have told you about the Role of our Government and taxes & why the proposed changes are a bad idea for both, why the changes will give the unelected rich power, why this proposal will change the meaning of charitable and why this idea would be an administrative nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, why allow our NHS to suffer, our education sector to be hindered and for our transport links to be broken, just so ‘big cats’ can avoid tax?

Ladies, Gentlemen; you have already heard my partner, Oscar, talk about the Role of our nation’s government and why these changes would give even more power to the unelected rich. I shall be following on from this by telling you how this modification to our tax system would change what it means to be charitable, how the proposal would be an administrative nightmare and that taxation should be three things: fair, cost-effective and easily understood – a mantra will we refer back to frequently.

But first I would like to take issue with some of the points raised by the proposition…

Ladies and gentlemen, what does it mean to be charitable? Someone who gives their hard-earned money to a noble cause without any ulterior motive. By making this charitable payment mandatory it takes away from the idea of being charitable. Someone like J.K.Rowling for example donated £10.3 million to charity (the Guardian), but would she do that when she has been made to via tax? We think that making someone pay money to charity will deter them from doing it outside of tax – perhaps charities will lose money. Someone not in the top tax band may not pay money to charities – “they’re doing it, so I don’t need to”. The average citizen will no longer feel the need to donate to charity. Not only would charities perhaps lose money but donating to charity wouldn’t be a noble thing – just part of taxation. This system blurs the line between a donation and a mandatory payment. We think that forcing top band tax payers to give money to charity will not only make people less likely to donate to them, and thus reduce the amount of money the charities have but would also take away from what it means to be a charitable person. Ladies and gentlemen, would you donate to charity if you already knew that the affluent people of this country are already doing so as part of our tax system? Being charitable would soon become part of our tax system – and no longer be an honourable act to do.

Ladies and gentlemen, this proposed change by the proposition would be an administrative nightmare. Proposition, we ask you how on earth would this system work? Would the money be paid in the year and reimbursed by the government – this would create even more work for HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), which is already inundated with work as we speak. Would the money be payed to the government for them to give the money to the charity, almost an extended PAYE (pay as you earn) system – this again would create even more work for the government. HMRC would therefore have to hire more people and would cost the government more. And, as my partner Oscar has already said, there would be many loopholes created by this proposition, this makes taxation hard to understand – it isn’t as simple as the PAYE system we use currently – and the government would presumably have to spend more money on policing these issues to prevent any misbehaviour. Ladies and gentlemen, this proposed change by the proposition would not only take money away from struggling governmental departments – such as the NHS, education sector and transport – but it would also siphon money from the tax fund to police it. This would therefore make taxation not cost effective and a hinderance to itself. And it would be a nightmare to oversee.

We should also think about what charities the money would go to. Not only could the rich look after themselves with this change, by finding legal loopholes to give money to their own charity and creating a conflict of interest (as Oscar has already said), but the money that some may give to certain charities would be wasted. One only has to look at some of the more ridiculous charities: the 501st legion for example (a charity that focuses on raising money for Star Wars costumes and enactments), zombie squad (a charity that will prepare you for the upcoming apocalypse) or the Global Nuclear Proliferation Group (a charity aimed to give smaller nations nuclear weapons to fight those that do). These charities sound ridiculously made up, they’re not! So, we might be taking money away from much needed departments to give to these ridiculous charities; even charities with a noble cause could seem ridiculous when they’re taking the NHS’s money, which it is desperate for – we could have a failing national health service, but at least every donkey in this country has a sanctuary to go to and we all have a zombie bunker to hide in once the apocalypse occurs.

This House would allow upper rate taxpayers to redirect a significant proportion of their taxes to charities of their choice

Ladies and Gentlemen, today Tom and I will be opposing the motion that this house would allow upper rate taxpayers to redirect a significant proportion of their taxes to charities of their choice. I will be talking about the Role of our Government and taxes, why the proposed changes are a bad idea for both, and why the proposition is promoting the affluent individual at the expense of the state. My partner Tom shall be talking about the administrative nightmare that the motion will cause and how taxation should be three things, fair, cost-effective and easily understood. First, I would like to take issue with some of the points raised by the proposition/ definition made by the opposition…..

This leads me on to my first point which is the role of the government in our day to day lives and how taxes fit into this. Ever since the end of world war 2, the state has become much more involved with the average citizen. Promising to be there ‘from cradle to grave’ means the government needs more money to provide essential services for each citizen such as free healthcare and the welfare system. Their method of doing this was through taxes. Taxation is important to this debate as the changes posed by the proposition will dramatically hinder not only the way we collect taxes but also the effectiveness of the government as I will talk about later.

Tax works because Government has the unique privilege of being able to demand that anyone in their country pay tax. These can be divided into ‘direct’ taxes, which are paid from earnings, either by people or by institutions (eg Income Tax in the UK). A progressive tax system is one in which richer individuals pay proportionally more tax. This form of tax is crucial to this debate as our government does charge more tax the more you earn.

Personal Allowance Up to £11,500 0%
Basic rate £11,501 to £45,000 20%
Higher rate £45,001 to £150,000 40%
Additional rate over £150,000 45%

 

(Talk about which ever tax brackets are viable for definition either 40% or 45% or both)

Income tax is the UK government’s main form of tax (27% of it all…source is the treasury) and just the top 1% of earners pay 27% of all the governments income tax (gov.uk). This is important because the top 1% are providing the bulk of the governments tax revenue.

This means that by re-directing (either the higher rate and/or the additional rate income tax) away from the government, you are starving the government of the money it needs to provide its services such as the NHS, defence and education.

This leads me onto my second point which is that the proposition are allowing the wealthy to choose what they do with a proportion of their taxes at the expense of our Government and its key functions. The NHS is already being crushed under the pressure caused by our ever-increasing population as it is made feeble by a lack of funding. The NHS needs an extra £30 billion by 2020 if it is to match the rising demand (according the King’s Fund). It is outlandish for the proposition to even suggest that we divert money away from our world-renowned free health care service, to instead donate to ridiculous charities such as The Nuclear Proliferation Group, a charity that aims to provide nuclear weapons for small countries to fight those that do already possess them. Furthermore, these charities will be flooded with cash to the point where every nation will have a nuclear weapon, but we will have no free-healthcare.

In addition to this we argue that these changes are shifting power from our elected officials to the affluent in society as the wealthy will be able to choose which parts of society they wish to elevate at the loss of our government’s essential services.

As tax stands now, the rich do have a fair and equal say in what the government invests in just like everybody else. We all have this because we all vote and choose a democratically elected leader which we feel will invest the taxpayer’s money in the right way.

As you all know the top 1% are very clever when it comes to tax avoidance and use their wealth to hire the best accountants to find ways for them to pay less tax whether this be through tax havens or some other method. In addition to this there will be many more loopholes in this new tax system as there is with any new system and the rich would exploit it. Businesses-men would give the money to clients or friends who own charities, who in turn would donate the money back to the original company. This is just one the types of loopholes that could arise from this new system. Imagine Donald Trump donating to the Trump foundation and you get the picture.

Tom and I both accept that tax as it stands is a far from perfect system, but the changes proposed by the proposition are far worse. The average citizen will have no control over where the 27% and more of the governments money goes, how does this even remotely resemble the democratic country that we are!

To conclude Ladies and Gentlemen, I have told you the role of our Government and how they use taxes, I have told you why the proposed changes will cripple both and I have told you why the affluent individual should not be put above the state.

Ladies and Gentlemen who should say where the taxpayer’s money is spent, the rich few or our elected government?