April 23, 2008

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t

Filed under: Media, Politics/News — Tags: , , — 4fooey @ 8:34 pm

The whole “10p tax” issue has been whipped up into a storm, designed to hurt PM Gordon Brown, and there are several Labour backbenchers who are doing their best to completely undermine him – why are they trying to punish their own leader? Let’s analyse the issue: in the March 2007 budget Gordon Brown said he would take away the 10p tax band and lower the 22% rate to 20% – this is a good idea – to make the bands easier to understand and fairer right across the majority of tax payers. This change was voted on and was passed through parliament – apparently the tories were in favour of getting rid of the 10p tax band two years ago, they abstained on the vote on last year’s budget, now they act as though they are in favour of keeping the band – their policy on this, like many other things is inconsistent. Hearing Mr Cameron in today’s PMQs talking about “the poor” sounds very hollow and he’s just using the 10p tax issue to bash the PM. 

These tax changes came into effect this April 2008. Since then several Labour MPs have realised that some people may lose out – this often happens with tax changes. It’s estimated that 5 million people are effected. But of course those people who need most help, that is working, families will be better off – the estimate is around 11 million. OK this is pretty uncomfortable for some people.

Gordon Brown said he would not re-introduce the 10p tax band – he can’t. But having listened to his party he is introducing some measures to compensate some/most of those effected by the tax changes. Now of course this is being depicted in the media as weakness and being described as a U-turn. People and in particular the media cannot have it both ways. Earlier this week they have voiced their concerns about the policy, the goverment has responded, but still they complain. As Mr Brown states, changing the tax system was the right decision – he can appreciate the difficulties this may cause, and has acted. Isn’t this exactly what people (& the media) wanted? And isn’t this exactly what you would expect any sensible person or leader to do?

Unfortunately the media will punish Mr Brown hard on this issue and many people will go along with this – The media builds people up, they knock them down. They takes sides, rather than analysing issues objectively. They exaggerate, are deeply cynical and hypocritical. I believe this issues, like many others, shows how corrosive an influence the media is on our national life and politics.


1 Comment »

  1. I agree that the 10% tax issue is just a stick to beat Brown with. It’s not that important in the larger scheme. However, I think he should be more decisive. Vacillating over the decision once made shows a lack of confidence that does him no credit. The people who have caused this change in policy must be proud of their effects.

    If we are to remove discussion of thresholds and rates we should apply a formula based on earnings such as: tax rate = (coefficient x (income ^ exponent)) + constant
    e.g. tax rate = (0.001 x (income ^ 1.02)) – 12.023
    would give approximately a 0% rate for people up to £10,000 p.a., 12.36% for people earning £20,000 and 37.42% for those on £40,000 etc.
    Naturally a ceiling rate might be a good idea to discourage the itinerant rich from leaving.

    Comment by conceptualizer — April 25, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

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