The language of austerity

Apart completely from the regressive nature of the Budget measures – apart, that is, from the challenge to parents to get by with cuts in child benefit or back-to-school allowances; apart from the heartache from cuts to respite care or the struggle of young people to hang on in college with new demands on their families' incomes - apart from all of that, it's worth looking at the language in which the budget measures were presented. By Sheila Killian.

Power, trust and the Household Charge

On Monday afternoon, psychology and economics professor Erich Kirchler gave an interesting seminar here at the Kemmy Business School on the factors that affect taxpayer compliance or evasion. He finds two dimensions – power and trust – impact on the overall tax take. If the taxing authorities are seen to have high power, unsurprisingly this will mean greater compliance with tax laws. However it is equally important, particularly for self-assessment, that there is high trust in the system.

Tax, rights, and ordinary people

Recently, in the middle of a conversation with some very articulate and well-educated people, the subject of social housing came up. One of the brightest delivered a short thesis on the proclivities of welfare recipients towards gambling, smoking, sitting at home all day watching Sky TV and letting their children run wild on the street. The rant began with the phrase "These people", which should have been warning enough. I've never actually heard a fair-minded comment starting with "These people".

The weasel tax

• VAT brings in more revenue that income tax, four times more than the capital gains tax levied on profits from trading shares or property, and twice as much as was paid by all the companies in the country
• It is paid by everyone and impacts disproportionately on the poor
• Our VAT rates are among the highest in the EU
• None of the political parties are proposing to cut VAT

By Sheila Killian