Wednesday, 23 June 2010

VAT rise as LibDems aid Tory attack on the poorest

VAT rise bombshell from Tories & LibDems in June budget
It's official. The poorest ten per cent in Britain will see their shopping bills rise and lose the most as ConDem make up the deficit their banker friends caused by raising VAT to 20 percent and cutting our public services. Nick "Ramsay McClegg" Clegg just helped push through the most draconian budget in decades despite all their promises in the run-up to the election, and gave his party their Clause Four moment.

I listened to Vince Cable squirming last night on C4 News as he was quizzed over the LibDem election pledge not to hike VAT as it is a regressive tax that hits the poorest hardest. We were treated to the usual politicians' weasel words, "I may have said that but that's not what I meant". Humpty Dumpty can make words mean whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

I wonder how the LibDem party faithful feel now when you can search on the internet for "libdem vat election ad" and find the unequivocal image above plastered all over their websites. I wonder if there'll be a swift spate of deletions as this part of their bid for political power gets airbrushed out of history. Will it be like Chinese art during the Cultural Revolution, when a person's party loyalty could be measured by the size of the red tractor in their landscapes? In this case, the rebels feature it prominently, while the greasy-pole ascenders minimise or delete it altogether.

More weasel words as David Cameron learns from 1984 and mangles the English language, calling this budget "progressive" when all the evidence shows that it is no such thing.

How progressive is it to raise a tax where the richest ten percent pay one pound in every £25, while the poorest ten percent pay one in every £7? Not just VAT: by a ratio of four to one, the deficit is being paid for by those who did nothing to cause the recession. Why not raise top rates of tax? Even under Thatcher the top rate was 60%. The only crumb of comfort is the rise in the threshold where you start paying tax, but this still means that the poorest end up paying the most when all the changes are taken into account.

Child benefits have been frozen for three years and public departments cut by 25% , while Morgan Stanley joyfully declares the "Austerity Budget" a big win for business. The corporate tax rate falls 1% per year from 28% to 24% by 2013/2014 but a levy on the banks balance sheets rises to only 0.07% by 2012.

Despite a rise in Capital Gains tax by 10% to 28%, Morgan Stanley says:
In general, we thought this was a sensible, balanced and business-friendly budget, which is actually likely to result in an effective tax cut for UK PLC of c. £2.3bn by 2012/13.

And The Daily Telegraph reports the Planet Business rubbing its hands with glee:
Dismissing fears that increasing taxes and cutting public spending could send the country back into recession, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the Chancellor had "faced up to the challenge", while the British Chambers of Commerce hailed the strategy as "courageous".

Moustache-twirling, bean-counting, avaricious creeps, the lot of them. But this is to be expected of the Conservatives because this is what they do and that is why more than two thirds of the electorate voted left of centre. In empowering them, Clegg has just crapped over everything the LibDems are supposed to stand for.

We all know by now that 23 out of 29 members of the cabinet are millionaires, including Clegg. One of them is George Gideon Oliver Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who gave us yesterday's budget, and heir to the wallpaper brand of Osborne and Little. One of the blizzard of tweets yesterday wished for 100% tax on inherited wallpaper fortunes. I've always disliked the company's bland tasteless metallic nouveau-riche designs (explains a lot) and I'd be happy just to see him take a pasting and then get hung.

And a moment of silence for poor old Billy Bragg, a decent man criminally misled by his own wishful thinking.


harpymarx said...

But it's not totally unexpected regarding how the LibDems capitulated. They lied. They are Tories. And esp. there were deluded lefties out there pushing for 'tactical voting'... as if the LibDems weren't going to sell-out... I would never ever vote LibDems as they are anti-working class (and we can see the results). I also believe tactical voting is a bad strategy.

This Budget will create mass unemployment (25% cut in pub departs... that is very scary) along with a double dip in the economy.

But as well it is the welfare budget that has been slashed by £11bn compare that to the cool £70bn wasted on Trident along with £4bn a year pursing imperialist and colonial adventures.

What also sickens me is a person's Housing Benefit will be slashed by 90% come April 2013, after 12 months for claimants receiving jobseeker’s allowance.

So contrary to Osborne and his claim that this is an anti-poverty budget (anti-poverty for millionaires, perchance?) this will create more misery, destruction, homelessness, poverty... crap times ahead.

Resistance is not futile! I hope the trade unions are up for the fight and not just the usual suspects.

Gwei Mui said...

The thing that got me the most especially in relationship to London and the SE is the Housing Benefit cap at £400.00. Whilst the need to reign in on those ridiculous HB claims where people are supposedly living in mansions and claiming thousands on housing benefits, capping the benefit at £400 is this really going to help? Whilst it might dissuade the odd chancer or system player; isn't it more likely to actually make things worse for those on lower incomes who do work but are entitles to some state help? Why couldn't they have placed VAT on same online gambling and the Betting industries? Or could it be they want a portion of the population to obsess on something rather than. God forbid raising their voices in protest. And what of the persistent tax evaders at the top end of the scale? We hear plenty about the scroungers and the social benefit cheaters, but what of the cheaters at the opposite end of the scale. The
is was supposedly an emergency budget where we all shared the pain and the hardship - I don't think so

Madam Miaow said...

Harpy, thanks. I linked to your excellent piece on this subject. How they can use the term "progressive" is beyond my comprehension which depends on words actually meaning something.

Gwei Mui, I'm wondering if those mythical mansion owners really do exist. You're absolutely right that the scroungers and tax avoiders at the top such as Tory backer Lord Ashcroft in his Belize haven are never dleat with. How about the non-doms such as Ikea billionare Hans Rausing:

harpymarx said...

Cheers for the link MM I meant to say before! :)

Gregor said...

Never liked Clegg. Always noticed that he copied Bill Clinton’s facial expressions. Strangely for those who think ‘liberal’ just means ‘left of centre’, there is a liberal right as well. For that liberal right Clinton is a hero because he got elected saying he’d extend healthcare to the poorest and in truth was most savage to the poor. I think that’s Clegg’s ambition.

Madam Miaow said...

O dear, a Clinton and Blair manque. What an awful image.

We've all had to get used to the older more true meaning of "liberal". Have to admit that as a child it was always the liberal teachers I was drawn to. and the culture and social expectations were "liberal". But now we're seeing the proper grown-up colours of the actual party and what it stands for.

They are just the soft wing of the Tory party, and not so soft, either, unless it's their own fortunes in the balance.

VenerableSage said...

Hey hey we're the Manques, and people say we manque around ...