LibLink: David Laws MP writes about the Lib Dem ambition for fairer tax

David Laws has argued at the Guardian’s Comment is Free site that the Coalition should accelerate Liberal Democrat tax cutting plans.

The government’s previous plan was for the allowance to rise in steps of £630 over the next few years, to reach £10,000 by April 2015. Clegg and chief treasury secretary Danny Alexander are rightly insisting that we look to bring forward those tax cuts. This week they seemed to attract the unlikely support of Labour’s Ed Balls. But his plan for a totally unfunded tax cut is as unlikely to convince the deputy prime minister as it is the chancellor.

The Government has so far made good progress in reducing borrowing. From the £163bn annual borrowing forecast inherited from Labour for 2010-11, George Osborne seems on track to deliver an impressive 25% reduction to between £120 and £125bn by the end of the 2011-12 year. The government will not throw that away with unfunded tax cuts which would blow half of the hard won gains.

You can read the article in full here and if you are convinced by his arguments, why not go on to sign this petition on the No 10 website calling for these changes to be implemented?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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28 Comments

  • LondonLiberal 22nd Feb '12 - 1:00pm

    David wrote a fairly good article but then ruined it all with this sentence:

    “George Osborne is proving to be a very strong chancellor who gets the big decisions right.” i felt physically sick reading this from a so-called liberal democrat. if he believes it it’s disgutsing, if he doesn’t and he’s kissing ar*e because he either a) wants GO to raise thresholds quicker or b) cos he wants a job, it was in both cases a totally unnecessary sentence to write, and certainly in that manner.

    I used to defend Lawsy, but, after reading that sentence, i think he should never be allowed into a position in Government again, at least not as a Liberal Democrat. It is George’ Osborne’s 1930s approach to spending that is depressing growth – on the biggest decision of all, how to reduce the deficit, he has got it calamitously wrong.

    what has happened to my party???

  • mike cobley 22nd Feb '12 - 2:18pm

    If the Coalition had a job-creation plan worth the name (while NOT dumping 100s of thousands of public sector jobs) we would be enjoying actual growth right now rather than the depressing flatlining economy we have. Also, government activisim on regulating domestic utility companies and capping price rises would go some way to protecting the lowpaid and middle-class sectors from penury and impoverishment. In that context, the pressure for tax cuts for the lowpaid would not be so great. But given the horrible state of affairs visavis the job market and the collapse in demand for mainstream goods and services, tax cuts at the bottom of the ladder has become a necessity.

  • Malcolm Todd 22nd Feb '12 - 4:16pm

    @jedibeeftrix: “an ambition i would be happy to see achieved.”

    Interesting — I’d have thought you’d be dead against the existence of the minimum wage. Was I wrong?

  • LL – forsooth, tis true he is a Laws unto himself …

  • LondonLiberal 23rd Feb '12 - 3:24pm

    jedi – that’s assuming that youthink govt could get away with spending only 30% of GDP, which i don’t think has happened since before WW2. Is the post-war average about 40%?

  • LondonLiberal 24th Feb '12 - 10:08am

    jedi – thanks for the links. Sorry, though, i don’t see your evidence that it woudl be better to spend 30% of GDP rather than 35-42% (depending on where you’re at in the economic cycle). I note that Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries, who have had better growth, have more productive workforces and a decent welfare state all have, in general, higher proportions of govt spending as a share of GDP than we do. The USA, by contrast, is generally lower. Given the choice between living in the States or in Sweden or Germany, it’s fairly obvious which is the better, safer, more pleasant society. So I don’t buy your assertion that the state must spend no more than 30% of GDP.

  • “public spending ambitions lead to 50% or 60% tithe in taxation ”

    A pedant writes: strictly speaking a tithe is 10%.

  • LondonLiberal 24th Feb '12 - 11:19am

    jedi – ah, i see what you’re getting at now. I thought you favoured 30% because you quoted that figure and didn’t seem to resile from it. I would agree that around 40% is probably a healthy level of public spending give or take the economic cycle fluctuations, but that it roughly where we have been for the past 30-40 years, barring the exceptional events since 2008. So it seems to me that you’re arguing for a different form of tax system rather than a radically different level of tax take – of have i got that wrong?

    “Frankly, I do not care how much foriegn countries manage to inveigle from their citizens, that is for their own political and social settlement to determine.”

    I think, if i may be so blunt,t hat an unwillingness to look at other European countries, our neighbours across the sea in many cases, so see if there are better ways of plucking the goose, or indeed of organising our own society, is extremely short-sighted and a little unwise. Surely if there’s a better way of doing something, whether reforming the tax system or providing healthcare or anything esle, we should seek to be humble enough to learn from that? i’m not asking you to care what happens in Denmark, I’m asking you to see if they do something that we could usefully copy and/or adapt to make our own country better. What’s wrong with that?

  • Jedi – i was expecting to be decimated for that 🙂

  • LondonLiberal 24th Feb '12 - 12:16pm

    jedi – i’ve bene to america and to most european countries, and while most americans i’ve met have been lovely people, there’s not a chance in hell i wantt olive in a society like that. Poverty, poor health, poor education and massive social inequalities, the highest per capita prison population in the world, not to mention the religious, gun and media issues there (which are admittedly less relevant to the debate about the size of the state than the former list) all make me realise that the US is not a model to be emulated,. Being somewhere between the US and high spending EU countries is where we are and really always have been. However, i don’t see it as a virtuous creative tension, as we seem to have many of the social problems of the US (high prison population, corrosive media, obesity epidemics, gaps between rich and poor and a lowest common denominator public life) but without their national sparky resilience. I’d rather we moved our society closer to Germany’s frankly.

  • LL – and we have the relatively high taxation of European countries without their excellent public services.

  • LondonLiberal 24th Feb '12 - 1:15pm

    well, jedi, i’d like to know what you propose to cut that would shave 3-5% off the public sector’s share of gdp. any first thoughts?

  • LondonLiberal 24th Feb '12 - 3:35pm

    so you’d cut the forign aid budget? well, leaving aside the utter callousness of that first cut, that would save a whopping 0.7% of GDP. Only another 5% to find! By ‘completely avoid defence’, do youmean you wouldn’t cut it or you wouldn’t spend anything on it? If the latter, i’m not sure that that is at all practical. leaving aside the geopolitical ramifications of having no defence budget at all – for the first time in our history and indeed the firast time in global history a state had had no defence (barring WW2’s losers who cam undert the USA’s shield) , you’d still have to pay unemployment benefit to, what, 200,000 ex service personnel? Is there anything more serious to meet your desire of a small state?

  • Vote for me. I want to take the food out of the mouths of starving children so I can buy more guns.

  • LondonLiberal 27th Feb '12 - 1:37pm

    jedi – i think the libdems are fairly clear where they stand on all three, and that’s why i’m confused as to why you’re here and not on conhome.

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