LibLink: Danny Alexander on the party’s tax policies

A while back, Left Foot Forward ran a piece attacking the party’s tax policies for not being progressive. That results in many responses around the place defending the party’s policy and today Left Foot Forward runs a piece from Danny Alexander defending the party’s policy:

As the person responsible for drafting the Liberal Democrat manifesto I wanted to respond to the report on our proposal to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000 – paid for by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the best off, a new mansion tax, a crack down on tax avoidance and an increase in aviation duties. The report is an interesting contribution but I disagree completely with its conclusions…

The report says that it is entirely reasonable to assess this policy [of raising the income tax threshold to £10,000] in isolation: nonsense. The absurdness of the proposition is proven because the report assesses Labour’s reforms in their entirety not in isolation. Indeed they have on page 27 it compares a graph assessing this single Lib Dem policy against the whole of Labour tax and benefit reform since 1997. This policy is one important part of our overall package for a fairer Britain, and should be considered as such…

Crucially we are the only party finding more money at this election to tackle deprivation at its source: educational underachievement. We will find an extra £2.5billion to spend in schools, targeted specifically at children on free school meals. The authors of this report make out that £2.5billion is a paltry amount that will make little difference. You try telling that to the teachers struggling with overcrowded classrooms or the parents desperate to get their kids the extra one-to-one tuition they need.

An average primary school could cut classes from 28 to 20. An average secondary school could run catch-up classes for 160 pupils, making sure no child gets left behind. That is a progressive policy that will do more to tackle poverty in the long term than any number of bureaucratic handouts from Labour.

And there’s more, as you can read in the full piece.

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