John Clark writes…
First published: April 2012 – Gazette & Herald
The ConDem interpretation of ‘austerity’ is tax cuts for millionaires paid for by pensioners.
A further £10 billion is to be cut from welfare spending. The 50p tax rate cut, it is claimed, will be paid for by closing loopholes. Of course loopholes should be closed but if this produces some income why should this money go to the filthy rich? The ConDem government gives three reasons; the rich won’t pay it, high tax discourages entrepreneurs and they will be driven out of the UK. The last time this was done was by Nigel Lawson for Mrs. T. in the 1980’s. Unlike now, the top rate tax cut took place during a boom. As a result there was no need for an immediate removal of money from the rest of us. That came later. In the 1980’s we were told that reducing tax for the rich would help the whole population. Wealth would ‘trickle down to the poor’. It didn’t work. In fact the gap between the rich and the poor widened more rapidly between 1984 and 1990 than any other period between 1974 and 2010.
The next deceit is the removal of Tax Allowance related to age. For decades people over 65 have paid less tax than other people on the same income. A larger still allowance was given to those over 80. This was designed to encourage people to save for retirement and reduce the need for claiming benefits. Both of these tax reliefs are to be removed for future pensioners. For existing pensioners they will not be increased with inflation. As a result these allowances will become worth less and less. Pensioners will pay more and more tax. Why should pensioners be paying to reduce corporation tax for big business or reducing the tax bill for millionaires?
In Ryedale there is another group due to be victimised. Civil Servants pay is no longer to be agreed nationally. As a result people in low wage areas such as Ryedale will be among those to take a hit. One of the few areas where Ryedale politicians agree is that we need to increase the number of better paid jobs. This goes in the opposite direction. People with skills will not be able to live in a high cost/low wage area.
Labour MP’s did not help to prepare for the present situation. Keeping their eyes shut and pretending they had ended boom and bust made it worse not better. Added to this they encouraged public and private sector borrowing. However it has been a worldwide banking and financial crisis. The seeds of which were sown in the 1980’s. Democracy and political decisions gave way to free movement of money and the deregulation of Stock Markets and banks.
Ordinary people have been forced to rescue the banks. We are now paying to help big business and millionaires. The benefits did not ‘trickledown’ last time. I hope the public don’t fall for it a second time. From the evidence in the Bradford West by election I don’t think they will.