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Independent view – Tony Byrne

As the general election draws nearer, I have been thinking about the state of British politics and the way New Labour are running this country. I am so fed up with the Government I want to scream.

Let me give you a few recent examples. I have just received a speeding ticket for driving at 41mph on a dual carriageway in Milton Keynes. I am furious that valuable police time is being wasted collecting fines from innocent drivers like me instead of catching real criminals.

The detection rate for real crimes is pitifully low – below 10 per cent in many parts of the country – despite record numbers of police, improved technology and more money being spent on the police every year. It seems that muggers, rapists and murderers do not get caught yet minor speeding offenders do. What a joke.

When I got to the office, the first job I had to do was to complete two unfathomable stamp duty land tax forms regarding our new office lease. These forms had to be completed and submitted to the Inland Revenue within 30 days to avoid a 100 fine even though no stamp duty was payable. My surveyor has informed me that if we renew our lease at the end of its term for a similar term, we are very likely to have to pay stamp duty on a property we do not even own.

I then discovered that a relative of mine had been signed off by her doctor for a further two weeks’ sick leave from the NHS on full pay due to stress. She had already received four weeks’ sick leave on full pay. The reason for her stress? Her manager had decided to appoint two further managers in addition to my relative to manage nine staff. What a waste of taxpayers’ money all round.

Regrettably, these are exam- ples of New Labour’s stealth taxes to support their over-tax and over-spend policies. It seems they are desperate to “tax you until the pips squeak”, to adapt Dennis Healey’s famous phrase.

It has been forecast that public-sector pension schemes will face a 690bn shortfall in the coming years. This will be a Government pension misselling scandal of unprecedented proportions. Yet public-sector workers are complaining about having to work until 65 instead of 60. Get real.

As usual, politicians from the main parties are making the usual promises which they know cannot be fulfilled and none of them are telling us the truth about what is really going on.

The truth is that we, the public, are spending more money than we have got, we are borrowing too much and living on the never, never in an Alice in Wonderland world where the Government will always be waiting in the wings with handouts. Unfortunately, we are all going to wake up one day to a shock when the goodies run out.

Talking of fairy stories makes me think of my 13-year-old son’s spending habits. He does earn his own money from paper rounds, car washing and lawn mowing but is desperate to spend all his cash on the latest gadgets, gimmicks and clothing before the money is even in his pocket. He keeps asking me to advance him loans but I keep refusing because I do not want him to become like most of the UK population. I am trying to teach him to only spend what he earns.

In spite of Gordon Brown’s recent Budget and the spin he put on it, the truth is that New Labour are taxing and spending like never before and, like my son, they are spending more money than they are earning, despite massive tax increases, because so much of the money raised is being wasted.

It seems that virtually every adult in this country is on some form of state benefit or other – tax credits, child benefit, state pension and so on. Where is all the money coming from? It seems to be a constant stream of stealth taxes which then get recycled back as state handouts. What a crazy game. If my children had invented the system, I would have grounded them indefinitely until the entire mess was sorted out.

As for the current Government, we have got the chance to ground them at the next general election by not voting for them. As for me, I intend to vote for Veritas. At least they have a leader in Robert Kilroy-Silk who speaks the truth about issues such as the EU, unlike the other sleazeball politicians of the major parties.

Veritas, or truth, has got my vote.

Tony Byrne is a financial planning director at Wealth nd Tax Management

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