Lynne Featherstone writes… Fairer tax for low earners and part time workers

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

Week after week, I meet local residents at my constituency advice surgeries. Many are working hard in full or part time jobs, but still struggling to make ends meet due to the current economic climate.

The unemployed and part timers often tell me they want to work more but also keep more of the money they earn.

The Lib Dems have known this for a long time. And from now, the amount you can earn before being taxed has risen to £9,440. That’s £600 less tax to pay for working people, since the Liberal Democrats entered Government in 2010.

Even better news – next year it will rise to £10,000 – meaning 25 million people across the UK will pay a total of £700 less Income Tax.

This announcement was made in the recent budget, one year sooner than had been expected.

In Haringey alone, an estimated 86,500 working people will benefit from the £700 tax reduction, and 7,520 local low and part-time earners will be lifted out of paying Income Tax all together.

Make no mistake; this would not be happening if it were not for the Liberal Democrats. This was so important to us we put it on the front page of our manifesto, argued for it in the coalition negotiations and are now delivering it in Government.

Labour failed to deliver this in 13 years in office, instead hitting low income workers by scrapping the 10p rate and pandering to bankers in the City of London. The Conservatives would not have delivered this on their own. Their priority at the last election was an inheritance tax cut for millionaires.

Low earners and part time workers keeping more of the money they earn is a key part of our plan to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. That’s why securing these vital tax reductions for ordinary workers is so important.

In other news, families in Haringey – and across the UK – are to get greater financial support for childcare, thanks to a major new Government initiative.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced a £1bn boost to help parents with childcare costs. This could benefit around 10,972 families in Haringey – saving them £1,200 per child, per year.

Almost a quarter of employed mothers say they would like to work longer hours but can’t do so because of the cost of childcare.

Making sure all families – and mothers in particular – can afford to work has been an absolute priority for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats and I am delighted we are able to give parents this much needed help.

I know that these measures will not solve all the problems we face, but I hope these Lib Dem led initiatives go some way to helping individuals and families in Haringey and across the UK.

* Lynne Featherstone was the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green from 2005 to 2015, and served as a minister in both the Home Office and Department for International Development. She is now a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and blogs at

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  • Martin Frost 15th Apr '13 - 10:10am

    It is always great to hear about Liberal Democrat 2010 Manifesto commitments being implemented in Government.

    I wish I could say the same about the commitment to strengthening our Equality laws which Lynn and other leading Liberal Democrats fought so hard for when in opposition.

    Robin Lynn’s piece illustrates how far the leadership has pushed the Party to the centre right, and in the case of coalition policies on Equality and Human Rights almost into an alliance with the UK Tea Party tendency.

    What hope for the European Convention on Human Rights if we have another Lib-Con Government after 2015?

  • Peter Davies 15th Apr '13 - 11:14am

    Unfortunately “lifted out of paying Income Tax all together” means not getting the full £700. To help the really low paid you would need to refund those who do not use up their full personal allowance.

  • A Social Liberal 16th Apr '13 - 11:31pm

    At the same time as you give workers a raise in their personal allowance (but only in full if they earn more than the allowance) you take away much needed income, losses that negate the good done. Freezing raises in benefits, placing a cap on the amount of benefits claimed is going to financially cripple the low paid, many of them hard working.

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