...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 4098: Oh What A Lovely Budget. Apparently.


A letter arrives. It's from Captain Clegg! He seems unnaturally happy about Master Gideon's latest budget. I'd better check the POSTMARK – ah yes, he appears to be writing from CLOUD CUCKOO LAND...
Dear Millennium, We can be proud that the biggest tax cuts in today's Budget go to millions of working families.
Well, the most EXPENSIVE tax cuts, perhaps. 'Cos with only 330,000 people paying 50%, it costs LESS OVERALL to give them a bung.

But anyone earning more than £155,000 has had a tax cut of more than £250, and that's MORE than the £220 a basic rate taxpayer will get.
As a result of this Budget, someone working a full week on minimum wage will see their income tax bill cut by over 50% compared to under Labour.

Increasing the personal allowance to £9,205 takes us within touching distance of our number one manifesto pledge – ensuring no one pays any tax on the first £10,000 they earn.
Successfully not benefitting EITHER of my Daddies, because one earns too much and one earns too little. Congratulations to the households of TWO top-end basic rate payers, though. You earn more than both Daddies put together AND get two tax cuts. Plus you keep your Fluffy Child benefit! Hooray!
Thanks to our changes, a basic rate taxpayer will be paying £45 a month less in tax than they would have been under Labour.
Although strictly speaking, that's £45 LESS the extra that they are paying in VAT and duties on fuel, beer and ciggies. And yes, Hard Labour WOULD have put those things up too (especially the VAT) but you're not comparing a fictional Labour budget with Gideon's actual figures – you're comparing the actual tax rates they had in 2010.
We can be proud that we've ensured the richest in our society will be paying more, much more.

The Tycoon Tax, an increase in stamp duty for high value properties and other new taxes on wealth...
Oh please! At Conference you were implying that the Tycoon Tax should be a tax on INCOME, some sort of minimum percentage that billionaires like Mitt Moron ought to pay. Today it's a hike in stamp duty. STAMP DUTY?! This just looks like spin. And not very good spin.

And Stamp Duty is a tax on BUYING property, not on HAVING property – it's not really a wealth tax, more a barrier to entry to the Tory Toff circles.

Or maybe it's just misplaced punctuation!

To be fair, some of the more EGREGIOUS get-out-of-tax-free loopholes have been, well not closed but made considerably more modest and that DOES gain us back a sizeable whack more tax, clawing back about a BILLION quid over five years.

So if you take the Tycoon Tax to mean the capping of some of those tax avoidance schemes PLUS a similar amount from the Stamp Duty then you might get to...
...will raise five times as much as the 50p tax rate. Those with annual incomes of more than £150,000 a year will be paying on average an additional £1,300 a year in tax, as a result of this Budget.
Of course, this is a Coalition Budget and we did not get our own way on everything.
Well, it IS true that the budget has been an obvious case of a Liberal Democrat tax cut at the bottom and a Conservatory tax cut at the top, and that's GOOD, we can work with that. But the question is WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM. And it looks very like it's come from FASTER and DEEPER cuts.

And then we see ANOTHER TEN BILLION off Welfare payments.
Conservative priorities are not ours. But as on so many other issues...
We rolled over and let them have their way?
...we have made sure that there is a real Liberal Democrat stamp on this Budget.
And a real Conservatory kick in the badwords.
Lower taxes for more than 20 million working people; effective new taxes on the rich.

This is a Budget we can be proud of – a Budget for the many, not the few.
Really, Cap'n? Proud?
Thanks for all the support you give to the party. Best wishes,
Well, I support the Party because we're supposed to be BETTER than this. We ACCEPT that we cannot do the ALL things we want to do, nor that we can stop the Conservatories doing many bad things we'd rather that they didn't.

But that DOESN'T mean taking pride in a Budget that basically tickles the Tories' tummies and gives us one concession and sending us off with a pat on the head.

How did we manage to let them NOT put up any serious wealth taxes?

How much* of that ten billion welfare cut goes towards mitigating the cut in BENEFITS for RICH PEOPLE?

And how about we STOP trying to OWN the whole Government, take CREDIT for what we HAVE got (a basic rate tax cut) and ADMIT to where we DIDN'T get our way (oops, no mansion tax!).

I'll be PROUD when we HAVE a Lib Dem budget. Until then, I'll stick with being thankful for small mercies and APOLOGISING for shaf... bad-word-ing the poor. AGAIN!


*It's about two-thirds of a billion a year, actually. Look, I LIKE universal benefits, they're simple, unbureaucratic and get to the people who need them, but that doesn't mean I'd choose child benefit for duchesses over employment support for the disabled.

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice


James said...

This, however, is an interesting comment. After all, if the Torygraph says it, it must be true! :D

Scott Willison said...

I really, really wish that the LibDems would put some space between them and the Tories. As you say, they should be telling us what they wanted and what they got, and owning up to what they don't like. They're just getting lumped in with the Tories on everything, so the public just don't know what they stand for.

Mark Pack said...

As I said in an email to one of your Daddies, I think you've got this bit wrong: "At Conference you were implying that the Tycoon Tax should be a tax on INCOME, some sort of minimum percentage that billionaires like Mitt Moron ought to pay. Today it's a hike in stamp duty."

The Tycoon Tax isn't about stamp duty and property, it's about curbing the amount of tax relief people can claim.

That's separate from (and in addition to) the stamp duty changes. As James has said above, the Telegraph's got a good (and very positive) write-up of the Tycoon Tax changes.

Millennium Dome said...

To be fair, Mr Mark, I do actually *say* it might be a misreading of that comma.

And I *may* have a had a word with the author of the email to be a bit clearer with his syntax ;)

A nice list with bullet points like you used in YOUR mail would be much clearer :)