Friday, 27 January 2012

Clegg sheds crocodile tears for the poor

From today's Morning Star

Nick Clegg shed crocodile tears for struggling families today as he called for a tax cut for low earners to be brought forward.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he wanted the coalition to "go further and faster" in exempting those earning under £10,000 from paying income tax.

He said in a speech to the Resolution Foundation think tank that "bluntly the pressure on family finances is reaching boiling point."

Raising the personal allowance to £10,000 was a Lib Dem manifesto pledge but it is being delivered in stages and will not be complete until 2015.

"Household budgets are approaching a state of emergency and the government needs a rapid response," Mr Clegg admitted.

His Tory bedfellows will see his comments as a daring breach of Cabinet conduct where declarations on tax are generally left to the Treasury.

Mr Clegg also took a pot shot at the tax policies of the "traditional left," sarcastically labelling it "a badge of socialist success."

"Socialists will support a penal rate of tax on the highest earners simply because it makes them poorer," he sneered.

But Left Economics Advisory Panel Co-ordinator Andrew Fisher argued that Mr Clegg's speech was little more than crocodile tears.

He said: "Clegg refers to the squeeze on low-paid people as if that had nothing to do with the pay freezes, benefit and tax credit cuts, the VAT rise and all the other regressive measures that his government introduced while doing nothing about soaring food, energy, fuel and rail costs.

"Raising the personal allowance for income tax to £10,000 is an admirable aim.

"But it should be coupled with redistributive measures at the other end of the pay scale such as reducing the 50 per cent tax rate to £100,000 and adding in a 60 per cent rate at £150,000.

"Clegg's government is also halfway through cutting corporation tax from 28 per cent to 23 per cent, and this should be reversed.

"Clegg rails against tax as a badge of socialist success - and indeed it is.

"Higher taxes were essential in building and maintaining the welfare state, the NHS, free state education and council housing - all under threat from Clegg's corporate giveaway government."

Also a good Guardian editorial today on this subject.

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