Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Budget unfair for the poorest

They may say that they want a "future fair for all", which is bizarre anyway given that they've failed to deliver that in the 13 years they've been in power, but again the Labour actions fail to live up to their rhetoric. Labour are going around the country delivering a card that basically tells people to vote Labour or the Tories will be back. That's it. That's all they have to go on after 13 years.

Alistair Darling showed today that for all his words about fairness, he hasn't got a clue about how to actually make it happen.

For a start, the Easter Bunny will be bringing us all a tax rise along with our Easter eggs. He may not have raised the rate of income tax, but he's rather sneakily failed to raise our personal tax allowances. This means that yet again the lowest earners will be getting the biggest proportional tax rises - because prices have gone up, that £6475 is not going to go as far as it did last year. Compare and contrast with the Liberal Democrat plans to help the lowest paid by raising the tax threshold to £10,000, taking millions out of tax and giving the rest of us basic rate taxpayers an extra £700 in our pockets.

If you happen to live in a rural area, you have no choice but to stump up the extra 3p in fuel duty, and phasing it really doesn't help. Liberal Democrat parliamentarians like Danny Alexander have been campaigning on this for years. George Lyon MEP is taking the campaign for fairer fuel prices to a European dimension by highlighting how rural areas in other countries have been given targetted reductions in duty. He's previously described fuel duty as a fixed penalty fine for living in a rural area.

I think the issue that tugs most at my heart strings is that the budget does nothing to increase the availability of affordable housing and I was really pleased that Nick mentioned that in his speech. It just shows that he gets the issues that the poorest are dealing with. He also spoke of how badly people would be affected by the Housing Benefit changes.

Many people think that if you're on benefit you get all your rent paid for you. Not necessarily so. Now, there's a study of rents in the area and by some complex formula each local authority announces every month the maximum it'll pay. If you take the most expensive properties out of this, then obviously the average rent is going to fall, meaning that in places like London and Edinburgh and Aberdeen where rents are really high, some people will find that their housing benefit doesn't cover all their rent and they have to make up the shortfall themselves.

Don't take my word on how rubbish the budget is. The Almighty Vince is the one whose views really matter. This is the man nearly a third of people want to succeed Alistair Darling. Here is his response.

We can't count on Labour to stand up for the poor and vulnerable any more - that mantle now belongs to the Liberal Democrats. Labour scaremongering about the Tories won't change that, but a vote for the Lib Dems will help millions of people.

1 comment:

Stickymoments said...

Nick Robinson at the BBC points out that if Labour are re-elected the cuts in public spending will be tougher and deeper than those implemented by Thatcher.

And yet Labour are still planning to spend £97 billion on replacing Trident nuclear weapons. By any standard this is bonkers.


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