New Times,
New Thinking.

23 April 2008

An Unlikely Rebel

Stand up the first Labour MP to notice the implications of the abolition of 10p rate of tax

By Martin Bright

So who was the first Labour MP to express his concern about the abolition of the 10p rate of tax for low earners? Stand up Geoffrey Robinson, the former Treasury Minister who just happens to be the proprietor of this magazine.

The Telegraph congratulates itself today on how its headline on 22 March 2007 read that Brown’s last budget would “leave millions worse off”. But it also points out that Robinson told the Commons as early as 27 March that the changes could hurt “many people whom the government never set out in any of their policies to hurt.” Some of us more slavishly loyal Brownites swallowed the government spin, as you can see from my analysis at the time. It even took Frank Field, the leader of the tax rebellion another four months to express his doubts.

So hats off to Geoffrey Robinson, the unlikely rebel.

PS This post should not be connected to recent speculation about my interest in the editor’s job at the New Statesman

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