Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Election 2024
15 September 2008

‘Reintroducing fairness’

'By cutting taxes for those on low and middle incomes, and taking the poorest out of tax altogether,

By Vincent Cable

The fiasco over the 10p tax rate has highlighted more than ever the corrosive sense of unfairness created by Gordon Brown’s tax system; and the Tories have devoted themselves to making a virtue of having no policies at all, except those which favour dead millionaires.

On Monday Lib Dem Conference backed a new tax policy, which will bring fairness back into the tax system. This move separates us from the Tory-Labour cosy consensus on the level of taxation and marks us out by recognising that taxation is a means to an end, not beneficial in its own right.

It extends our existing commitment, passed by conference in Brighton last year, to cut the basic rate of income tax by 4p, funded by closing loopholes which benefit the very wealthy and environmental taxes. We recognise the benefits that wealth creators bring, but there has to be a sense of fairness in the tax system.

This is already by far the most radical tax package on offer in British politics. But the Liberal Democrats want to go much further. We propose cutting government spending by £20 billion, cancelling wasteful government projects such as ID cards and scrapping BERR (Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform). We will use these savings to pay for our priorities, such as in education and health.

Any money to spare after spending on our priorities will be ploughed back in tax cuts for low and middle income earners who need it the most. It is ludicrous that the poorest people still pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest do. Income inequality now is as bad as when the Conservatives took office and wealth inequality (of net assets) is worse. By cutting taxes for those on low and middle incomes, and taking the poorest out of tax altogether, we will finally be able to return a sense of fairness to the tax system.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action