Thursday, March 15, 2012

David Laws and Tim Farron on Lib Dem priorities for the Budget

You can hear the ranks close with a resounding clang. David Laws and Tim Farron have co-written a Guardian article on the party's priorities for next week's Budget:
Two tests should apply. First, there is at present no case for a net tax giveaway to those at the top – indeed, the super-rich should contribute more. Now is not the time for a repeat of Nigel Lawson's 1988 budget, which gave away billions to the richest. If this was controversial in the boom of 1988, when the budget was in balance, it would indefensible in the austerity of 2012. 
The second test is this – are we taxing the rich in a rational way? Last year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report titled Divided We Stand. This made the case for a fairer contribution from the rich. It argued against raising marginal tax rates, which can increase avoidance and damage incentives. 
Instead, OECD economists proposed higher average tax rates for the top 1%, through reducing tax avoidance, raising wealth taxes, and restricting allowances and reliefs.
In truth, Tim Farron has been advocating tax cuts for some years now, but it is interesting that this tax-cutting agenda for low earners has been embraced by the whole party. You would expect there to be calls for higher public spending (or at least fewer cuts) from somewhere in the party.

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