There is a debate about whether we are currently experiencing a third industrial revolution or a Fourth Industrial Revolution . Either way the principles of our tax system were all established in a different industrial age - before digital technology and globalisation. That is why we have local business taxes (rates) based on property and corporation tax based on location of business domicile rather than sales. And why we have a complex way of taxing employment - with income tax, Employee National Insurance Contributions and Employer National Insurance Contributions.
The original aim of linking contributions to benefits and pension is increasingly tenuous and complex in an age of increasing self employment and 'gig economy'. Nor is taxing employment in three different ways the most transparent approach. So it becomes unduly expensive to administer (hindering productivity) whilst also diminishing people's trust in government.
We need bold thinking by government to start to modernise our systems and restore trust. So it is great to see the government's Office for Tax Simplification calling for income tax and national insurance to be brought together to simplify things. This is something that our own Jonathan Riley has been calling for, most recently with the Prelude Group and Institute of Directors (Britain Unlocked: A Tax Code for Global Ambition ).
As politicians and business look to raise productivity and restore trust, it would be great if the Chancellor adopted the recommendations of his independent advisers on tax simplification in next week's autumn statement.
National Insurance contributions and Income Tax should be brought closer together to create a simpler and fairer system for business and taxpayers. In a report published today, the independent adviser to government on tax simplification, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), reaffirms its call for this outdated system to be reformed to make it fit for the future.