The Christian and The State

The current acute fiscal crisis faced not only in the United Kingdom but throughout the world raises questions of the relationship between the citizen and the state more acute than any since the Second World War; and, in turn, those questions have a particular impact on Christians acting as citizens. Until now we have been able to solve many resources problems through arguing that we can afford almost anything we want; but that is no longer the case.

What is the Christian's duty in establishing expenditure priorities and advocating tax rises?

  1. Since the Second World War the tax and benefits system has been designed in such a way that middle class people are net beneficiaries while the level of poverty has remained almost static, with the gap between rich and poor widening. The UK Government has said that it will 'ring fence' expenditure on 'front line' (whatever that means) health, primary and secondary education and development assistance. Is this fair?
  2. Are there any other areas of Government expenditure that should be ring fenced?
  3. When you have agreed a list of ring fenced items, try to agree what areas of expenditure should be cut, including:
    1. Agricultural subsidy
    2. Defence
    3. Environment and ecology
    4. Fuel subsidies
    5. Further and higher education
    6. Prisons, policing and criminal justice
    7. Public transport
    8. Welfare payments.
  4. If we are to raise taxes, should this be:
    1. Capital gains tax
    2. Excise tax (alcohol, cigarettes)
    3. Income tax
    4. Inheritance tax
    5. Road fuel tax
    6. Tax on pensions
    7. Transport (airports) tax
    8. Value Added Tax.
  5. In making your choices, how far did you allow your personal interests to dictate expenditure retention and tax rises?

KC vi/10