Tag Archives: budget

Independent: Liberal Democrats’ “major and under-rated contribution” to Budget success

Budget 2010 photocallYesterday’s Independent editorial had some very complimentary things to say about the Liberal Democrats’ influence on the Budget:

It is widely said that George Osborne had a decent Budget this week, aided in no small part by Ed Miliband’s curiously weak response. But the Liberal Democrats, as has frequently been the case during this parliament, made a major and underrated contribution to its success.

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Alan Reid MP writes… Time for the Chancellor to be fair on Scotch

WhiskyAs the local MP for Islay, I see frequently just how important whisky is to the island. Eight distilleries (and another planned), and the world famous brands they produce, help to drive the local economy and attract tourists from around the world to a remote corner of the Scottish west coast.

What is less easy to understand is why the UK continues to penalise the industry in its home market. Today, nearly 80% of an average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky – four pounds in every five you spend on a bottle – is accounted for by tax, making whisky one of the UK’s highest taxed consumer products.

Excise duty on whisky has increased by 44% since the introduction of an annual 2% above inflation duty escalator in 2008. The result has been predictable and damaging. The UK market for Scotch is now 12% lower than it was when the escalator was introduced, a loss of 6,500 bottles from the market every day.

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Budget 2013…..Live Blog

George Osborne is about to get to his feet to deliver his Budget.

IF campaign Budget Dy

In Parliament Square this morning, Enough Food IF campaigners gathered to remind him to stick to the 0.7% overseas aid pledge.

Join us for our budget live blog.

“It was of course inevitable that debit reduction would impact on growth, but what the independent OBR figures show quite clearly is that other factors – namely the weak international picture and higher-than-expected inflation – have had a much greater impact on economic growth. Given the risks of not …

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Opinion: Liberal Reform urge MEPs to oppose a secret vote on the EU Budget

European Parliament chamber, StrasbourgIt probably came as a  surprise to most Lib Dems to hear  that it is possible to have a secret vote in the European Parliament at all, let alone when as few as 20% of MEPs call for one. Press reports that some members want a secret vote so they can safely vote against the EU Budget are shocking, because knowing how elected representatives vote is surely the most basic piece of information required to hold them accountable.

If the EU Budget is rejected, after a secret vote, there is not the slightest doubt that it will be seized upon by those in the UK who want us to leave to leave the EU.  Not only should our own MEPs, but also ALDE as a whole, should be opposed to a secret vote in this case, and they should act to change the Parliament’s rules to make secret votes impossible.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Welsh Liberal Democrats will fight for more for disadvantaged children

Yesterday the Welsh Labour Government submitted its £15 billion draft budget which reveals its spending plans for the next year.

In its current form, the Welsh Liberal Democrats cannot support this budget as we don’t believe it goes far enough to tackle the problem of making sure that children from deprived backgrounds get the fair start in life they deserve.

Last year, the Welsh Liberal Democrats vastly improved the Welsh Government’s budget by agreeing to support it in return for the introduction of a Welsh Pupil Premium. Despite failing standards in our schools and an ever growing spending gap per pupil when compared …

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Labour leaning think-tank IPPR backs Osborne on ‘granny tax’

George Osborne has received support from an unexpected source: the Labour leaning think tank, the IPPR.

In an article entitled “Why Osborne’s ‘granny tax’ makes sense“, Senior Research Fellow at the IPPR, Kayte Lawton says:

It is right for older people to contribute to deficit reduction…

Older people have been relatively protected from the spending cuts imposed by the coalition. The young have taken the brunt of the pain… Asking older people to contribute to tackling the deficit and shoring up the country’s tax base in the long-term is not unreasonable…

Osborne’s pleas of simplification have not played well, but he is right that age-related allowances add

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LibLink: Redressing the balance between the generations

Chris Nicholson, Director of CentreForum, has posted his take on the Budget on Total Politics.  He concludes:

It is often said that the best Budgets are usually those that get the immediate negative headlines. While the press has focused on the alleged “unfairness” of the Budget, history is likely to be rather kinder in suggesting that the budget has been much fairer than it at first sight appeared.

You can read the reasons for his optimism here.

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How do you keep a secret? Or why Chris Leslie shouldn’t become an undercover detective

Imagine you have something you want to keep secret. You’re going to do something, and you don’t want anyone to know.

Chances are, you’ll take a look around and make sure there aren’t any  TV cameras pointed at you and rolling away live coverage to several channels. Perhaps the memory of politicians running into problems with comments caught on microphones come to mind, and you’ll take a good look around to ensure there aren’t any in the same room as you that might be used by a national radio station or two.

Then you’ll remember to check you’re alone. Don’t want to …

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LibLink: David Laws on the Budget in the Telegraph

David Laws penned his thoughts about the Budget in the Telegraph yesterday, under the headline “Budget 2012: Not so much a gamble, more a grand strategy”

He writes:

Despite its scratchy origins, this was a strong Conservative-Lib Dem Budget, reminiscent of the earliest days of the Coalition at its best. It was radical and combined both enterprise and fairness. It did not duck difficult decisions or end up with lowest common denominator compromises. At times, the run-up may have looked like Coalition politics at their worst. I would argue that what resulted was Coalition policy-making at its best.

The Liberal Democrats challenged the

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What Liberal Democrat Bloggers are saying about the Budget – Part 2

The Liberal Democrat blogosphere is continuing to talk about the Budget, so here are some of the latest offerings.

Sandy Walkington thinks that the Budget is a dish best observed cold.

I tend to aim off from all instant, hyperbolic reactions to the Budget.  When I worked as a press officer in the oil industry, Budget Day was a time for synthetic outrage at the latest iniquity heaped on the long suffering motorist or on the plucky explorers of the North Sea.  And then the sun continued to rise and set.

In the current global economic circumstances which only compound the reckless public

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Labour’s hypocrisy on the ‘Granny Tax’

The response from Labour and the tabloids to yesterday’s Budget have majored on the patronisingly termed ‘Granny Tax’.

However Ed Balls and colleagues must be delighted that so far everyone seems to have missed that the last Government froze the Age Allowance between 2009-11 – or as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves would term it Labour imposed ‘an enormous stealth tax for older people’.

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Budget 2012: A strategic and substantive victory for the Lib Dems

The big substantive Liberal Democrat wins that yesterday’s budget contained will be familiar to regular readers by now. However, I think it’s worth highlighting once again just how big a deal the increase in the personal allowance announced yesterday is. A rise of £1100 is unprecedented, and means that those earning the minimum wage and working full time will have seen their income tax bills halved because of the Liberal Democrats.

Before Nick Clegg intervened publicly back in February to call for the threshold to be raised faster than previously anticipated, the working assumption was that it would be raised by …

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My Bob and the Granny Tax

My dear husband is not a Granny. And he’d better not be a Grandad for a very long time to come, given that our daughter is not yet a teenager. He is of an age to be affected by the so called “Granny Tax” eventually.

Now, you might, if you wish, feel a bit of sympathy for poor Bob. It must feel sometimes like George Osborne has pulled his name out of a hat and decided just to chip away at his income.

First he decided that in the year Bob reaches 65, the State Pension age will go up to 66 …

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“Budget 2012: new tycoon tax in victory for Nick Clegg”

“Budget 2012: new tycoon tax in victory for Nick Clegg” – so reports the Daily Telegraph:

In a significant victory for the Liberal Democrats, the Chancellor effectively introduced a 25 per cent minimum rate of tax in the Budget.

Under the changes, he will limit how much people offset their tax bills by investing in businesses or donating to charity.

Anyone seeking to claim more than £50,000 of tax relief in any one year will have a cap set at 25 per cent of their income from 2013.

Accountants said this means the wealthiest will have to pay at least 25 per cent of their income in tax. Although the highest rate of income tax is 50 per cent, reducing to 45 per cent next year, some wealthy people reduce their bills to almost nothing using different reliefs available from HM Revenue and Customs.

The introduction of this major change to the tax system is one of the main reasons why, as I wrote yesterday, if you are on more than £150,000, you will pay an extra £1,300 a year in tax on average as a result of this Budget.

As for what Labour would do on the 50p rate they seem to be flip and flopping with each new interview – sometimes saying they would reintroduce it if they had the chance tomorrow/next week, and sometimes not.

For more on the Budget see a couple of the media interviews I did yesterday – first on the News Channel and then on Radio 4:

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What Lib Dem bloggers are saying about the Budget

I thought I’d do a quick roundup of what Liberal Democrat bloggers have been saying about today’s Budget. I suspect there will be more tomorrow.

Stephen Williams MP was probably always going to be supportive but he has an extra reason – and it’s all to do with Wallace and Gromit:

The Budget also had some good news for Bristol.  You wouldn’t expect Wallace and Gromit to feature in a budget.  But the Chancellor mentioned them in his speech as he is proposing an extension of film tax credits to made for tv films.  I met with Aardman Animations a few

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The Independent View: Budget lifts a million people out of Income Tax

The news that the UK’s February borrowing figures were the worst on record did not exactly provide the Budget mood music the Chancellor was hoping for. Then again, the stark reminder that the UK is living well beyond its means serves to buttress his arguments about the need to control spending. There is no money to spend, and even with the current deficit-cutting fervour from Number 11 the UK remains at the whim of global bond markets.

So how did George do? The stamp-duty increase on homes worth more than £2 million is eminently sensible, but must be accompanied by the …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Liberal Democrat budget victory for “further faster” tax campaign

Over 20 million working people will be better off next year after Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government delivered the biggest ever increase in the income tax personal allowance in the Budget.

The increase of £1,100 is worth £220 to 21 million working people – taking the total income tax cut for working people delivered over 3 years by the coalition to nearly £550 a year. Two million people will pay no income tax at all. By going ‘further and faster’ as Nick Clegg promised, we’re getting real help to millions of hard-pressed people at a time when they need …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP writes a weekly column for newspapers in his constituency. Here’s the latest edition.

The Economy

 The economy remains the most important concern for people in my constituency and last week’s employment figures were a reminder of the challenging economic climate and that getting people into work is the UK Government’s first priority for Scotland.

We are doing all we can to get people working by laying the foundations for more sustainable growth and creating the conditions for businesses to invest in good quality jobs. By reducing corporation tax and making tough decisions on public spending …

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‘Quad’ finalises Budget details

PoliticsHome reports:

The Prime Minister and Chancellor have held final meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander to finalise the Budget.

Footage of the meeting of the ‘quad’ was released this afternoon amid reports that the Chancellor will scrap the 50p top rate of tax from next year and replace it with a new 45p rate.

George Osborne hopes the new rate, which will take effect from April 2013, will raise more money and encourage

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LibLink: Mark Pack – I was wrong about the Budget

Writing over on his work blog, Lib Dem Voice’s Mark Pack withdraws one Budget prediction and offers us three others instead:

Cunning negotiating strategy or basic mistake? Whatever the view you have of the tax motion at Liberal Democrat conference and Stephen Williams’s speech moving it, my interpretation of it was wrong.

Far from signalling the determination of the party’s leadership to see the 50p tax rate remain, it was in fact a sideshow and the rate will go. A kind interpretation is that standing by the 50p rate so publicly was part of a negotiating strategy to extract greater concessions

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Opinion: What message would scrapping the 50p rate send?

The rumour mill is turning at an alarming rate about next week’s budget- the grapevine is whispering that the 50p rate is about to be scrapped, and less than a week after Liberal Democrat spring Conference voted for this:

“Conference resolves that the wealthy and those with the very highest incomes should make the greatest proportionate contribution to the tax measures necessary for the reduction of the structural budget deficit and that the Additional Income Tax Rate of 50% on the top 1% of earners is needed to achieve this.”

Fairer taxes, one of our four key manifesto pledges supposedly delivered in the CSR, will mean …

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Liblink: Michael Moore MP – “Rich must pay more to help poorest in budget

Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore has been talking to the London Evening Standard about such subjects as varied as beach volleyball, the independence referendum and taxes.

On the latter, he was clear where Liberal Democrat priorities for the Budget lie:

“The simple equation is that we think the priority is to help those on the lowest incomes to get as much support as they can,” he said. “Clearly that is going to have to be paid for and we think it is fair that those who have the broadest shoulders should be the ones who contribute to that. That is

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LibLink: Mark Pack – Public Budget disagreements are far better than the secretive norm

Writing for Total Politics, The Voice’s Mark Pack welcomes public arguments over the Budget:

What would you do if you have a really important set of decisions to make? Decisions that will have a direct impact on the lives of millions of people, on the future of the country and – although of course you are too saintly to think of this – on your own future career prospects.

Locking yourself away in secret and deciding all the key decisions on your own before presenting them to the rest of the world as a fait accompli is not the route you will

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Opinion: Let’s raise tax threshold to £10,000 for all taxpayers

To keep the cost down, the increase of £1,000 in the personal allowance this year excluded higher rate taxpayers and over 65’s. Also, the higher rate threshold was reduced to bring more people and income into the 40% tax band.

The 2011 budget announced an increase in the personal allowance for under 65’s by £630 in April 2012, with the higher rate threshold unchanged. The freezing of the higher rate threshold brings more people and a greater proportion of existing earnings into the higher rate band – so-called fiscal drag.

This process seems consistent with the aim of increasing the personal allowance …

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The Independent View: Participatory democracy and the People’s Budget

It’s budget season and here’s a question ….

Is it an exaggeration to claim that there is a crisis in our system of democracy? When so many people don’t bother to vote and there are communities in the UK which no longer have any faith in the willingness of parliament and local government to address their needs and concerns, to actually represent their interests, then I think not. However, the direction of the coalition government’s policy is avowedly towards greater accountability and a stronger role for local people in decisions about local services.

The reality is that, despite the rhetoric about localism …

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats should stop using the word ‘progressive’

The decline of Labour as a coherent intellectual force is one of the defining features of recent British politics. No doubt the next few years will see a healthy process within Labour to seek to heal the wounds and to re-focus. I suggest that under the banner of ‘progressivism’ this process has started.

2010 saw commentators for the first time in the UK judging political propositions on the basis of whether they are ‘progressive’ or not. Ed Miliband’s own analysis is that in government Labour “…lost that sense of progressive mission.” But what on earth does progressive mean? What kind of …

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Opinion: campaign spending – did the Lib Dems get it right?

You can, famously, prove anything with statistics. But the figures for General Election expenditure, released by the Electoral Commission in December, raise some interesting questions for Lib Dem campaign managers.

It was an extraordinary election in many ways. The TV debates, Cleggmania,the economic crisis and the MPs expenses scandal. All of this perhaps made it a particularly difficult election for the party to manage. Marshalling scarce resources in an unpredictable environment is a tough challenge.

The Lib Dems were always going to be out-gunned on the national stage but did we allow ourselves to be out-gunned and out-manoeuvred …

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