In a complex society, the ultimate judgement is how we treat the vulnerable. From our approach to elderly care to how we address teenage mental health issues, Manchester needs to be at the top of its game. We also need to be aware that many people in our prisons are the vulnerable victims of a bad start in life and need help to turn their lives around.
Our Social Services must link up with each other across all areas of Manchester, with the common aim of providing a safety net for people struggling to cope with day to day life.
So how do we sort this problem out?
Expecting people to pay their taxes isn’t a new form of fascism; it’s fairness. As it stands, people who turn up to work each day and pay tax through the PAYE system are being shafted socially by those who have the option not to pay. Company owners aren’t on the hit list per se, but people who run small, cash-based businesses are.
This approach is binary and simple. More tax revenue from those who aren’t paying their dues means more money to help the social cause, which is now at crisis level.
The current self-assessment tax collection system, where a small business person runs a cash payment incentive business and then claims Working Tax Credit, is a shambles. This is a national problem rather than a local one isolated to Manchester, but there’s nothing to stop us setting an example in the name of fairness.
You’d only need 100 people based in a new HMRC office in Manchester Town Hall and working with Trading Standards to get the ball rolling. A few high profile cases later, and most people would get in line, particularly if the consequences of cheating were high. It's a bit like exam technique in that you start with the easy questions and then move onto the harder ones – which in this case, are the bigger businesses.
If elected as Mayor, I’d be happy to make my tax affairs public and be the first person investigated by the new department. I’m sure any reasonable person or organisation wouldn’t have a problem with this policy.