Hard not to applaud the British government’s eye-catching revenue-raising measure, one of very few in the new budget: a levy on larger tech companies, such as Google, Facebook and eBay. On Monday, October 29, British chancellor Philip Hammond said the UK was tired of waiting for an international agreement to target the tech giants and would go it alone.
The new tax on digital services would apply an extra 2% levy on the revenues tech giants generate in Britain. This would apply to profitable businesses making more than £400m ($512m) in revenues. The digital services tax is right and proper. Big tech has been breezing all too lightly past the taxman.
But other than this measure, Britain’s governing Conservative Party has prepared a budget truly worthy of Donald Trump and his Republican Party.
Mr Hammond cut taxes on some of the country’s highest earners and he’s spending big, albeit in an un-American way on some real things for real people. Universal credit, a big welfare reform, for instance, is somewhat more generous. The National Health Service will struggle a bit less and thank god for that.
What hasn’t really happened though with this British budget is the sort of re-distributive taxation that would allow public spending for those who need it most.