Budget response March 2007 – Stealing from the majority to give to the wealthiest
The minimum wage and the 10% tax rate for low earners were the only progressive things Brown ever introduced as Chancellor.
Now he's scrapped the 10% tax rate - doubling taxation on low earners - in order to give a 2 % tax cut to big companies and a small tax cut to everyone on above average incomes . If that’s fairness I’m the Dalai Lama’s attractive cousin.
Of course Brown will tell you about tax credits for low income families – but the amount of time and trouble involved in filling out the ridiculously complex forms to claim these means that many people on low incomes don’t have the time or energy left after work to complete them – so many ‘tax credits’ never get claimed or paid out
Of course Brown will tell you about tax credits for low income families – but the amount of time and trouble involved in filling out the ridiculously complex forms to claim these means that many people on low incomes don’t have the time or energy left after work to complete them – so many ‘tax credits’ never get claimed or paid out (between 7% and 20% even on the treasury's (biased) estimates).
Parliament's Public Accounts Committee say the tax credits system is complicated and frustratingly arcane . Many low income earners don't claim as a result. Every year billions in tax credits goes unclaimed. It's estimated that
£2.3 billion will go unclaimed this year. If people on low incomes are single and without children they won't qualify for enough credits to cancel the doubling of their tax rates anyway.
The governmenthas even been so confused by the complexity its own system that it paid out too much to some low income families - then demanded it all back , by which time it caused serious financial hardship for people who had budgeted with money the government now told them they didnt have. The over-complicated system also facilitates fraud. The government writes off around £1bn in over-payments and fraudulent tax credit claims each year.
The obvious solution is to cut or abolish income tax for people on low incomes. That would mean they actually got their tax reduced in reality rather than just in treasury theories. It would also eliminate much of the fraud facilitated by a system so complex treasury officials don't even know who is entitled to what.
Brown has made it crystal clear that like Blair and Cameron his only real commitment is to his own ambition by discarding people struggling to make ends meet while he laughs and jokes.
He did nothing to oppose the Iraq war in which so many of our soldiers and so many Iraqis have died for nothing and agreed to provide "whatever it took" in spending to continue that disaster. If that's fiscal prudence then I'm the King of Siam.
The £14bn extra for the NHS would be good if it wasn't going to go straight into the pockets of PFI /PPPP investors and executives and as a result increase annual costs on the NHS so that new hospitals with less beds and staff than the old ones they replace will mean taxes increasing and services being cut again to provide more income for the already over-paid at the expense of everyone else. That is not fiscal prudence. That's subsidising the very very wealthy tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority again. If that’s fiscal prudence or fairness I’m a four-armed six-legged re-incarnation of the Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia reborn in cyborg form with built in anti-aircraft weaponry.
Brown's shown again and again that when the choice is between his ambition and other people's lives or suffering its his ambition he cares about.
Most other current and potential candidates for Labour leader have the same policies - so do Cameron and the Tories. No wonder Brown's 15 points behind even the con man Cameron in the polls.