Don’t Shoot The Messenger

Bryn Terfel playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof; his down-to-earth thinking on tax is reflected right across the income spectrum.

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BRYN Terfel’s comments about tax in an independent Wales were taken by many as being an unfortunate bum note from the popular singer.

According to a story in the Daily Telegraph, the iconic Welshman was now musing whether he would have to go and live in Monte Carlo to avoid high taxes in an independent Wales.

The usual social media pile-in ensued, with accusations of ‘selfishness’ ‘insensitivity’ and ‘privilege’ levelled against the Pantglas-born singer.

No doubt the unionist Daily Telegraph had their own agenda in framing the Welsh independence question in such a negative light.

Nevertheless, Bryn Terfel’s reported comments -‘I mean, I would have to look at what independence would mean for me personally’ – have an undeniable ring of truth to them.

As such they should be noted, memorized, rinsed and repeated by every single independence campaigner.

Because, beyond the 30% or so die-hard Independistas, that is exactly the one question that ordinary people in Wales will be asking themselves when it comes to the matter of Welsh independence.

Wales is a relatively poor nation as things are, and any talk of increased individual taxation in an Indy Wales will undoubtedly be a very hard sell on the doorstep.

As a party, Gwlad are very aware of that problem, and thus favour a different approach to the whole taxation issue in Wales.

The party want to simplify the tax system and introduce a single flat tax on all individual income, as has been introduced in several small European countries over recent years.

This would simplify the system for all, ensure more buy-in from the public, and help to encourage more business start-ups which is one of Wales’s greatest needs at present.

‘Taxes should be as flat and low as possible. In the long run, it’s more progressive and leads to growth which benefits everyone across the whole income spectrum’ said Stephen Morris, the party’s Policy Director.

‘Those small countries in Eastern Europe that are powering ahead and growing at rates that we can only dream about are doing so on low and flat taxes. In Estonia, the flat tax rate is 20%. Yet they have one of the best education systems in the world.’

Bryn Terfel’s comments have served to highlight this issue of taxation, and as such they have been useful in developing the public debate.

A wider question also needs to be taken on board concerning the purpose of taxation in general, and how that could be adapted to the needs of modern Wales.

But whatever the taxation system to be developed here in future, accountability and transparency should be the driving force.

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