Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Good Old Boy #26

Good Old Boy of today is (obviously) Gordon Brown.

It is, it goes without saying, a disgusting betrayal to have a Labour chancellor, a Labour chancellor, taking pride in announcing tax cuts. As every fule know, Labour chancellors should, at this stage in the electoral cycle, be announcing massive and painful public spending cuts to appease the bankers.

It's worth remembering that for all the political benefits of announcing tax cuts, the budget would be regressive and leave lower earners worse off if the only significant changes to people's incomes were the ones on income tax. In fact, most people on low incomes will be better off overall, because of the increase in child benefit, working tax credit and pensioner allowances. There is a danger that this get forgotten about in the excitement of debating whether someone earning £40,000 per year is a few quid better or worse off as the Tories try furiously to spin the line that the Budget is not as it seems, or answering inaccurate claims that the Budget is regressive for most people on low incomes (the people who lose out, once again, are unemployed single people of working age - families and pensioners are better off). The tax cut might have happened under the Tories, the rest of it wouldn't have.

The most significant thing coming out of this budget is not that I will receive a small tax cut, or that hopefully Labour will get a short term political boost, but that within three years, there will be 200,000 children and their families who are currently living in poverty who will be significantly better off. I'd have liked the budget more if it had been more than 200,000, but that'll only happen if we can get the anti-poverty measures given their due, and if by this time next year, a majority of people would rather that we increased the amount of wealth redistributed than that they got a tax cut. It's a tall order, but the situation is more promising than for many years.


At 1:46 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad you see this how I see it.

I was concerned that some might not have looked at the detail and thought this was a surrender to the right. it isn't. It's as pernicious a lie as "sharing the proceeds of growth". but what's great is he's on our side.


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