Ross Clark

Ross Clark

Ross Clark is a leader writer and columnist who has written for The Spectator for three decades. His books include Not Zero and The Road to Southend Pier.

Labour should think twice before taxing pensioners

Labour, according to Rachel Reeves, is now the party of low taxes. She has said she won’t raise income tax, National Insurance, capital gains tax and corporation tax, as well as ruling out a wealth tax. But that still leaves a few options for jacking up taxes, as one of Reeves’ advisers, Sir Edward Troup

Ross Clark

Smart meters could soon cost you a whole lot more

What remarkable power climate change has to turn the usual rules of fairness on their head. The poor pay the taxes and the wealthy get subsidised. It has happened with electric cars, where well-off early adopters were handed grants of £4,000 to buy a new vehicle – as well as being excused fuel duty and

Why one-man plays are all the rage

Well, it’s nice to feel on trend. The Today programme this morning carried an item on the popularity of one-man and one-woman theatre shows, following on from the success of two such shows in the Olivier Awards: Sarah Snook in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Andrew Scott in Vanya. Only in passing did they

Are we really reaching ‘farmaggedon’?

I happened to be walking in the Cambridgeshire fens this morning while listening to the latest instalment of ‘farmageddon’ – the narrative that Britain is facing food shortages due to biblical levels of rain over the winter. There was something of a conflict between the sight before my eyes with what Rachel Hallos, vice president

The irresponsibility of ‘two years to save the planet’

Hurrah, we can all relax. We have been granted an extra two years to save the planet. So suggested Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in a speech at Chatham House yesterday. Some people might say that calling a speech ‘two years to save the planet’ might be

Ross Clark

The truth about ‘boardroom diversity’

We all know that increasing the diversity of your boardroom increases the success of your company because politicians, business leaders and academics keep telling us so. No one has ever got into trouble for making this assertion and, in any case, we have the scientific evidence to prove it – in the form of four

Sadiq Khan’s Ulez has spectacularly backfired

What was that about Sadiq Khan’s expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) supposedly helping to reduce our dependence on cars and clean up the air? As well as the stick of charges of non-compliant vehicles, Khan has rolled out a very large carrot: £121 million of funds to help motorists ‘transition to greener

What’s the truth about Sure Start?

Labour, unsurprisingly, is crowing about a paper published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies claiming that Tony Blair’s Sure Start centres improved the GCSE results of children from low-income families a decade after attending the centres. Children who lived within 2.5 km of a Sure Start Centre before 5, it finds, went on to score

Ross Clark

The problem with Rachel Reeves’s non-dom tax plan

By abolishing non-dom status, Jeremy Hunt was supposed to have clipped the wings of the shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves. Given that she had already earmarked the extra revenue – or what she hoped would be extra revenue – for free school breakfasts and a few other things, Hunt had suddenly punched a hole in her

Don’t trust Labour to build houses

Could a promise of more housebuilding win an election, or does the Nimby vote still rule the shires? Labour, it seems, has decided the former. The Times reports this morning that it has settled on a strategy of unashamedly promising more house-building, including on the green belt, after research by an outside organisation revealed that

House prices aren’t falling any time soon

The thing about having three prominent house prices indices, all of which publish monthly figures, is that they are forever telling conflicting stories. Indeed, today’s Nationwide index, itself, nods in two different directions: prices were down 0.2 per cent in March, but the annual gain in prices was up from 1.2 per cent in February

Why the council tax rise on second homes helps no one

What a surprise. Given the choice of whether or not to double council tax for second home owners from next April, 153 English councils have already reportedly decided that yes, indeed they will. Even officials in that well-known holiday hotspot, Gravesham, have decided to introduce the levy, in spite of there being a mere 21

Ross Clark

Martin Lewis is wrong about the ‘energy poll tax’

Given that a fair proportion of the UK public seem to want Martin Lewis to be prime minister, the government might well hesitate to dismiss the Money Saving Expert’s latest grumble: that Ofgem’s cap on standing charges is to be jacked up from today – from 53 pence to 60 pence per day in the

Thames Water proves privatisation has failed

Why do the Conservatives find it so difficult to admit that the privatisation of public utilities has in many cases been a disaster? It was supposed to bring heaps of finance into public services, protect taxpayers from financial risk and bring prices down through competition. Yet we have ended up with energy prices fixed by

You’re not being paranoid: smart meters are out to get you

If anyone was still in doubt as to why the government is keen to press ‘smart’ meters onto us, those doubts will surely now be dispelled by the latest intervention of Ofgem, which has proposed abolishing the current electricity price cap and replacing it with a cap which varies throughout the day in response to

The pension triple lock is a drain on the taxpayer

Jeremy Hunt’s promise that the Conservative manifesto will protect the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension is a desperate measure to appeal to the one group of the population whom the Conservatives feel they can rely on. But taxpayers will not be thanking him in a few years’ time. On the contrary, by keeping the

Britain’s high street is still stuck in recession

So, is the recession over? The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) retail sales figures show that sales volumes were flat in February, when many expected them to fall. Moreover, the increase in sales volumes for January was revised upwards from 3.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent, coming on the back of a sharp fall

Gove’s ‘war on landlords’ is not going to plan

Levelling up the housing market, it is fair to say, is not quite going according to plan. Rents in the year to February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals today increased by 9 per cent – the largest rise since the ONS started its rental price index. In some cases, tenants have been complaining