Not true. VAT is not levied on domestic rent or most food, so the poor pay it on a much smaller proportion of their spending. There are reports which say that indirect taxes in total fall more heavily on the poor. This is because of tobacco and alcohol duty. The former in particular is paid almost entirely by the poor.
The main problem with the vaccine campaign is supply not application. The latter is a big challenge but one we are generally meeting. Of course there are areas that are doing better than others, but over time they will catch up.
Both rumours consist of unattributed quotes and are complete rubbish.
The US sales tax system is a nightmare for companies selling direct to individual US citizens across all states. The rules are very different in each state as well as the rates. Many of the smaller states have now clubbed together to standardise their rules. It used to be that companies without a presence in a state were exempt, but that changed a few years ago with a Supreme Court ruling (the Wayfair case) so now larger businesses must register in most states.
The VAT system which nearly all countries follow except the US is much better because input tax can be reclaimed. This means that the tax is the same whether one company is vertically integrated or goods and services pass through many hands on their way.
In the EU the rules are largely standardised across all countries, this makes life much easier for companies large and small which trade across boundaries. There was an attempt to standardise rates, but that was largely dropped about ten years ago. Ministers continued to claim that their hands were tied on rates long after it was the case, whether that was civil servants misleading ministers or ministers misleading the public I’m not sure.
Ministers will now have to admit that they are responsible for the VAT system, but really they always were.
One of the main items causing the housing shortage in the south is the insistence on reserving large areas of the cities for commercial use only - retail, office and industrial. This distorts the market so that land zoned for housing is worth twice that zoned for commercial. It encourages new single story offices with parking in areas that already have a chronic shortage of houses. The cities then demand that building is on the green belt and the new residents commute in to the city.
If commercial land prices are less than for housing then authorities should be made to rezone land till the prices are equalised. That would give more houses in the south and more jobs in the north.
Trade deals between countries take years to work out and are a painful process. The nature of the EU with 27/28 members is an added complication and does lead to extra delays. All this was known and pointed out by Remainers during the referendum campaign. The Leave camp claimed it would be straightforward. Who do you think was right?
The difference between international trade and european trade is the make-up of shipments.
A typical shipment from the far east will be made up of a whole containerload of a particular product accompanied by twenty pages of the necessary paperwork. A shipment from North America might be a whole shipload of corn with thirty pages of paperwork (food has more demands).
A typical lorryload from Europe would be 1,000 parcels each of which will have a one page VAT invoice but customs don't need to look at it. In future it will need to process 20 to 30 pages per parcel, all of which will need to be filled in. Although the value of trade with Europe is less than with the rest of the world, the number of shipments is vastly greater.
Eventually trade will switch back to the old model where a manufacturer sells to a distributor instead of directly to the user, but that will take time and is more expensive.
We are already past the practical deadline for an agreement from 1 January 2021. From the moment a political agreement is made it will take at least three months for civil servants to produce the detailed rules and regulations that are needed. Then industry needs to reprogram the computers so that the system works - another three months. Attempts to shorten the process by writing the programs based on a guess of what the rules will look like are doomed to failure.
The only practical way forward is a further interim period of the current rules, payments etc. for six months.
Whatever the answer is, we can be sure that brexiteers will claim to be betrayed.The only reason we can't get a better deal is an inability to bang the table hard enough.
For the UK there is a problem with any US result which does not have the president and both houses of congress working together. Otherwise it will be very difficult to get any trade deal through the system. Personally I have doubts if Trump could ever negotiate a sensible deal - he doesn't believe in the benefits of trade - he certainly could not get through any deal through congress.
So our best bet is a Biden presidency and the Senate being close to an even split. That will mean that a deal will have a chance of getting through. It will need to be acceptable to the Irish too, McConnell and Pelosi have made it clear that they will insist on that.
The proposed policy has the perverse effect of encouraging extra development in green belt and AONBs where the desirability of properties and the dearth of jobs combine to increase the ratio of workplace-based median house price to median earning.
As many commentators have said, it will encourage development in the South-East of the country. One way to solve the problem would be to prevent councils reserving employment and retail sites for continuing use. This distorts the market as can readily be seen by fact that housing land is twice the price of employment land in some areas. If this distortion were removed it would improve housing supply where most urgently needed and push jobs away from the South-East to other areas.