Houston, we have a problem.

Despite relieving UK taxpayers of £715 billion in the last tax year, a whopping 22.5% increase on the year before, we are still not raising enough in taxes to cover anything like what the government is spending. The more they keep borrowing to fund the difference, the higher their debt servicing costs become and the more they need to borrow next year.  This is called an unsustainable death spiral and the inevitable consequence is financial meltdown followed by a massive fall in our living standards.

The UK national debt now stands at £2.6 trillion, which is slightly more than 100% of our annual GDP. That’s £91,000 for every household so please send your cheque to Mr J Hunt, 11 Downing Street, London and we can solve the problem immediately. What’s that? You don’t have 91 grand free at the moment? Look, don’t you trust our illustrious chancellor? He knows how to spend that money far better than you do. I bet your debt number is nothing like as big as his. Until you owe £2.6 trillion just leave this stuff to the experts and hand over your money now.

Even coming off the back of zero interest rates for more than a decade, it now costs £115 billion a year just to cover the interest on the national debt. That’s more than the entire defence budget and the entire education budget put together. As interest rates rise and as short term government bonds get re-financed, there’s an easy calculation to be done about how the debt servicing costs will rise. Whatever the bank of England base rate becomes, that’s the minimum we’ll have to shell out to keep the bailiffs from the door. So if they get to 5% and the debt stays the same the interest bill will rise to £130 billion.

So there are two choices. Increase taxes or reduce government spending. As we head inexorably towards a Labour government by the end of next year, what do you think are the chances of a meaningful cut back in entitlement programmes? With five million economically inactive citizens to support, the rest of us are going to have to pay approximately 200% of our income in tax if this model is to keep on working. The problem is, being the selfish, greedy so and sos that we are, you and I have historically proven to have limits to our largesse. If taxes go above a certain level that we perceive to be fair and reasonable, we start making other arrangements. That could be anything from reducing the amount we work, as we’ve seen with NHS doctors and consultants faced with huge tax bills from pensions that creep over some arbitrary limit. Or we could get some advice and restructure our affairs to reduce the tax bill. Or we could take the nuclear option like I have and leave the country for a kinder regime.

So let’s imagine that Rishi Sunak comes to his senses and appoints me as Chancellor to deliver the March budget. He realizes that his only hope is to do something radical so he gives me carte blanche to make any changes to the system that I see fit. Struggling to pay your heating bills? Come and stand round my bonfire of red tape as I carry out the job that the laughably named Office For Tax Simplification has so clearly failed to do. First, I will abolish inheritance tax. This used to be called death duties, and until modern times was only ever paid by the landed aristocracy. By cynically freezing the £325,000 nil rate band since way back in 2009, any family owning property in South East England has now been dragged into the IHT net. Poor tax planning leads tens of thousands of bereaved families to pay 40% of their inheritance to the government. And let’s not forget that legacy was created out of income that had already been taxed within an inch of its life. Because it is selective in the families it targets, Inheritance Tax only raises £6.7 billion a year, representing jut 0.7% of the total tax raised each year. It’s more of a political statement to tax ‘the rich’ so that alone is good enough reason for it to be the first victim of Rowan’s Razor.

Next to go is capital gains tax. If you are smart enough to build a business or to invest in a firm that defies all the statistics to grow and become valuable, why should you be penalized for your brilliance? The business itself will be paying corporation tax, PAYE and National Insurance, and its customers will be paying 20% VAT on your products, so isn’t that enough for the Treasury? CGT raises £15.9 billion a year and represents just 1.7% of total tax receipts. It’s rounding factor in the scheme of things but a massive disincentive for the few of us who can actually create some real wealth in the economy, as well as generating the jobs that feed the biggest earners for the government, income tax and national insurance.

Next I would reverse the egregious hike in business rates that Mr Hunt is applying from April this year. Beaufort has a small office in Richmond of around 1000 square feet on which we already pay a very chunky £12,000 a year in rates. From April that bill increases to a staggering £20,000 a year, a 67% increase in the middle of an energy crisis, 40 year high inflation and a cost of living crisis. I wonder how many small business owners will decide that enough is enough when they get that business rates bill in? One of my guests on a couple of my Sky TV series is serial entrepreneur James Sinclair. He’s a high energy optimist who successfully pivoted his paly centre and farm shop businesses to survive the pandemic. Just before Christmas he put out a video on Twitter where he looked more downcast than I’ve ever seen him. After the hike in business rates, the 32% increase in corporation tax, the loss of capital gains relief and dividend tax relief all coming so soon after the desperate pain of needless lockdowns, even he was moved to question whether being an entrepreneur in the UK is worth it any more. If we start losing people like him, the future will be very bleak for the rent seekers in the public sector and the five million lazy sods who’ve decided to become economically inactive.

No prizes for guessing where the next cut from Rowan’s Razor will fall – corporation tax will be reduced to 15% and accompanied by a review of scope creep by all the Quangos that have been put in place since the days of Tony Blair, including the Care Quality Commission, Ofcom and the FCA. They can pass whatever rules they like with no Parliamentary oversight and the number of cases of blatant abuse of power that I hear about means that it’s time they had their wings clipped.

Next to be abolished is stamp duty, which raised £12.3 billion in the most recent tax year. This is a big discouragement to moving house, which I fear will be essential if people want continuity of employment in the challenging times we now live in. Staying one step ahead of AI and robotics is going to require a workforce that is intellectually and geographically flexible.  Council tax is also regressive as it impacts the cheapest properties the most when you look at the proportion of the property’s value that is being paid in tax.

So if council tax, business rates and stamp duty disappear, what should replace them? I would vote for a tax on the unimproved value of land, a notion that has been debated in Parliament since as long ago as 1909. The principal of this is that most of the value in a piece of land derives from where it is – location, location, location.  So a farmer’s field in the middle of nowhere is a lot less valuable than the same amount of land in central London, surrounded by roads, street lights and an underground system paid for by a hundred years of taxes. Incredibly, this radical idea has drawn support from as wide a church as Shadow Chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn John McDonnell and Margaret Thatcher’s favourite economist Milton Friedman. So come on Rishi, it’s time to grow a pair, implement Rowan’s Razor and put in place a radically simplified tax system that encourages growth, wealth creation and ultimately, I believe, will put more money in Jeremy Hunt’s coffers than the current death spiral of tax increases could ever do. Have I passed the audition for the next head of the Office of Tax Simplification? If so you know where to find me.

If I don’t get the job, I’ll see you next time.