Monday, April 21, 2008

The 10p Tax Row Hypocrisy

As you may have heard, the Government is facing a lot of condemnation for removing the 10p tax band. It is argued that this will affect the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, while making wealthier people better off. The Government maintain that very few people will be affected directly as there are so many other ways of getting the lost income back - like Tax Credits.

Many, many people have argued that the tax credit system is an expensive and tricky way to get the money back to the people who need it the most, and that if you are single, childless, and under 25, you won't get tax credits anyway. People in those categories earning under £18,500 will lose up to £232 a year.

Not many people, however, are saying that they pointed this out a year ago when the announcement was first made. Mainly because not that many people did. I'm fairly sure that Radio 4's Money Box was the only (remotely) mainstream programme that mentioned this problem at the time of the Budget in 2007.

There is a considerable amount of band-wagon jumping going on here now though, with politicians of all parties looking to make gains out of other people's misfortune.

The Labour Party are saying that they can't re-write the Budget, because so many people are now paying 2p less in the next tax band. The Treasury has hinted there could be measures to help low earners who are worse off, but not for several months. Chancellor Alistair Darling is working on proposals that would offset some of the impact of the tax changes, but they would not come into effect until the autumn pre-Budget report at the earliest.

The Conservatives are saying that they'd try to stop the cut, but Cameron falls short of saying they'd re-introduce the 10p band should they be elected. The Tory leader said he wanted to work with the government to find a way of helping the 5.3 million low paid workers who have lost out. He also said the Conservatives would consider backing an amendment by Labour rebel Frank Field, calling for a compensation package for those affected.

Some people are suggesting that the tax threshold should be raised so that the lowest earners don't pay tax at all. This doesn't go far enough. As I have suggested previously, the solution is simple - stop paying tax. When enough people have shown their displeasure at the way this country is being run, we will have the Government we want: for the people, by the people.

However, in the meantime, my message to politicians is this: stop playing politics with people's ability to eat, heat their homes, pay their bills, clothe themselves or generally live. Stop playing to the high-earning middle class and help the people at the bottom who are trying to help themselves - but you insist on taxing at a higher marginal rate than anyone else in the country. Stop making the benefits system so appealing that we need to import people into this country to do jobs that our citizens can't be bothered to do as "it's not worth it".

I am the Revolution, and I'd like my fucking country back.

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