LibLink: Nick Thornsby – Why Miliband’s tax move is good news for the Lib Dems

Over at the New Statesman, LDV’s Thursday editor Nick Thornsby has looked at Ed Miliband’s proposal to cut taxes for the low-paid funded by introducing the Lib Dems’ mansion tax proposal. Far from being upset by the plagiarism, Nick argues that Lib Dems will be “secretly rather happy” for two reasons:

First, it shifts the political debate to the area where the Lib Dems are at their strongest: tax policy. For whatever else the party has done in government, it is the implementation of a £10,000 tax-free allowance that is cutting through the fog and being recognised by voters as a distinctive achievement. In the run-up to the next general election, Liberal Democrats will want to talk of little else. …

The second reason Liberal Democrats will be pleased with the speech is Miliband’s embrace of a mansion tax. … The mansion tax is embedded in the minds of the public as a Lib Dem policy. It is unlikely that a random conversion to the merits of the idea will convince voters that if they want a mansion tax they should vote Labour. So by adopting the policy Miliband’s main achievement is to remind voters of the mansion tax, and to increase its importance in the political debate over taxation. Why would Liberal Democrats not welcome such a boost for one of the party’s most distinctive policies?

You can read Nick’s piece in full here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

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  • Yes, but the timetabling of a vote associated with a fiddly and silly little new 10p take rate just before the Eastleigh by-election is an obvious Labour trap…

  • Labour wants what true Lib Dems want – centre left policies to benefit the average person. ‘Liberals’ who support the Tories are Tories. It’s that simple.

  • Instead of this ridiculous 10 p tax rate we should agree to support mansion tax if it is used to reduce the tax threshold to the minimum wage or – if local tax bands are increased then to pay for the lower local quartile of houses and owners on low and fixed incomes to exempt them from the local tax or at worst for them to pay less than they are paying now.

  • We should aim to increase the TAX threshold to 12K and in doing so make Labours 10p TAX rate irrelevant. We would then ensure the working poor pay zero TAX on earned income. We should at the same time commit to remove Council Tax based on property values and introduce the local income TAX! Again this would have a massive impact in the fight against poverty in the UK.

  • When we realise that this policy is contributing to the chronic inability to pay for public services (much of which is being devolved to local government), the Lib Dems will be less than happy. The Party has been inordinately sl..o..o..o..w to appreciate this linkage. I thought we had been told by Nick Clegg and others numerous times that joining Government had made us more hard headed and realistic (implication – not more populist). You really can’t get more populist than slashing away at major income sources with no concern for how vital services are provided. No-one in the hierarchy seems to have come out and said “Why do the Tories support this policy?” and come to the logical conclusion “Because it supports the neo-Thatcherite privatisation (and covert redistribution from poorer to richer) agenda.

    And while we think about these issues, who from the Lib Dems came up with the reported line of supporting a Thatcher-style giveaway of RBS shares? That was even too off the wall right wing for even George Osborne!!

  • “No-one in the hierarchy seems to have come out and said “Why do the Tories support this policy?” and come to the logical conclusion “Because it supports the neo-Thatcherite privatisation (and covert redistribution from poorer to richer) agenda.”

    And, obviously, because it gives a whopping tax cut to the “not-as-squeezed-as-the-poor middle”, who form the bulk of the Tories’ natural supporters. But to be fair, this is also why the Lib Dems proposed the policy in the first place (and remember it was originally going to be done through a 4p cut in the basic rate of income tax). And it’s why Labour is now supporting something similar, though mercifully on a much smaller scale.

  • “There’s no denying it’s an eye-catching move clearly designed to embarrass the Lib Dems. But of course the party’s MPs will (largely – a few backbenchers may peel off of course) vote with the government on any opposition motion of this nature.”

    Quote from the opinion piece by Mark Thompson entitled ‘Oh no! Ed’s got us!’

    Is it any wonder those of us that vote no longer know what the LIbDems stand for ? An opportunity to share some good old-fashioned centre-left policy and all the LibDems can do is find any reason to slag Labour off. If the 2015 General Election returns another hung Parliament, the LibDems are going to look ludicrous when the start supporting Labour policies, slag off the Tories and twist & turn over their own policy.

    The mansion tax is a LD policy and if Labour want to work with the LDs to introduce it, griping about a 10p tax makes them look infantile IMO.

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