Monday, September 20, 2004

LibDem Fudge

Here comes the opening salvo of the Liberal Democrat campaign - the pre-manifesto. Lots of promises, but no price tags - unless you are a high earner. Those can expect a tax rate of 50%. I thought Labour in the 70s had pretty much proved that taxing them 'until the pips squeaked' doesn't work. Those high earners are the ones best placed to find ways around the tax system.

What else? I almost forgot - the Local Income Tax, which is actually a stealth tax increase. They don't tell you about the problems. If your household has only a single earner, then you may well gain, but if you have two wages coming into the house, then the odds are that you will pay more. A police officer and a nurse could end up paying £600 more a year than they do on their Band D property today.

The system will also require some complex gearing up at the Inland Revenue AND some work at the Treasury to ensure that the revenue is balanced out across the country. Won't that put an awful lot more power into the Treasury than it has now?

Finally on the LIT, many people currently in receipt of council tax benefit also pay income tax - how are they going to be helped? Or is this another of those back-of-an-envelope Lib Dem ideas? Like the £8 billion saved by abolishing the DTI - which would also abolish many of the grants and other support given to science and areas in need of investment.

Any idea what's happened to the pledge to privatise the Post Office? Maybe that's gone the way of the now defunct £100 cashback deal on the council tax.

Anyone else noticed how fast the LDs have back-tracked on the 'Orange Book'? Despite it being written by a number of the front-bench team and with a forward by Charlie K himself, the LDs put up Matthew Taylor on the Today programme to defend the abandonment of some plans and explain why this book isn't important.

Still, we've got a week of high-profile LibDemmery from Bournemouth. Wonder if they'll pass any resolutions like the one last year which demanded that a LD government allow 16 year olds to take a full role in the porn industry. Maybe not a burning issue, but clearly close to someone's heart.

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